The week before Thanksgiving was rough as students eagerly awaited their first break of the semester. Once Wednesday finally rolled around, students hoped their last class period would fly by. While most people were contemplating their favorite type of pie, Jeffrey Rop, history professor, received the surprise of a lifetime. Rop was halfway through his noon class when Mary Faulker, his pregnant fiancée, showed up in the door of his classroom.
“It’s happening,” Faulker said to him.
Rop said he doesn’t remember exactly what he was feeling, but recalls that his students clapped after he turned to them and said he had to cancel the rest of class.
“I think they clapped because they were happy that class ended early,” Rop said.
Rop added that the day was much less chaotic than it seemed.
“Seeing my fiancée show up in my door was as shocking as ever, but the situation was very much under control,” Rop recalled.
Faulkner went in for a scheduled ultrasound earlier that morning. Her due date wasn’t until Dec. 10, but doctors found that the baby was in a breech position and growing at a slower rate than most babies in the third trimester. They scheduled a C-section for 5:30 p.m. later that day.
After Faulkner came to Rop’s classroom, they went home together to pack overnight bags. Rop and Faulker checked in to the hospital at 1:30 p.m. and prepared for the delivery. Rop held her hand during the operation.
Eileen Gene was born at 5:47 p.m. on Nov. 26. at St. Luke’s. She weighed 5 pounds and 5 ounces.
“It was a crazy day,” Rop said. “One minute I was teaching in my class, and five hours later I had a baby.”
Fauler and Eileen were released from the hospital that Saturday happy, healthy and ready to go home.
Currently, Rop’s teaching schedule is very relaxed. He had planned his class syllabus around the due date of Eileen so that the class could run without him at the end of the semester. He planned ahead so that he can now focus more of his time on being a father.
Rop said he loves being a new dad, though it is nothing short of very difficult.
“I’m feeling the lack of sleep affect me already,” Rop said.
His parents were here in Duluth to help out earlier last week, but now it’s just him and his fiancée. There are a lot of nights where they are woken at 4 a.m., but Rop said he can’t imagine his life without Eileen.
BY AISLING DOHENY STAFF REPORTER