Father on board

Senior+Matthew+McClay+holds+his+son+in+the+hospital.+He+was+born+on+February+12th+at+the+Medical+Center+of+Lewisville.+

Senior Matthew McClay holds his son in the hospital. He was born on February 12th at the Medical Center of Lewisville.

Senior Matthew McClay sat in the chair next to the hospital bed where his girlfriend of two years, junior Chloe Fortune, laid. Both of their moms were in the small white room with them, eagerly anticipating the results. They had waited 16 weeks for this.

Finally, the ultrasound came back.

It was a boy.

Tears streamed down everyone’s faces. McClay put his hand gently on Fortune’s stomach.

A boy, McClay thought. I’m having a boy.

***

Both McClay and Fortune never expected that they’d be having a child together. The two met through ROTC, and they both had plans to join the military. McClay wanted to be part of either the Air Force or the Army. Fortune wanted to be a pilot.

But all that changed when Fortune found out she was pregnant last summer.

“I cried,” Fortune said. “I just cried.”

Their plans had to change quickly. McClay knew he couldn’t be one of those guys who just leaves once they get a girl pregnant. More than that, he didn’t want to be one of those guys. He had to stay and raise his son. He wanted to stay.

“Guys who don’t stay with women when they get pregnant are pathetic,” McClay said. “It’s a terrible thing. No girl should have to raise a child without the dad’s help.”

Both McClay and Fortune decided to finish high school at the Lewisville Learning Center. McClay graduated in early February, and Fortune is finishing up taking both her junior and senior classes. She’ll graduate at the end of this school year. Then they’ll start thinking about jobs to save money for the baby, who they’ve named Keane.

“Joining the military is something I could still go out and do because it would support Chloe and the baby,” McClay said. “It’s a job. Plus we’d get housing and the benefits that go along with it.”

But Fortune had to give up her dream of being a pilot. Instead, she plans on being a neonatal nurse, meaning she will work with infants.

“That was always the second job [I had in mind], even before I found out I was pregnant,” Fortune said.

Their academic and military pursuits aren’t the only thing they’ve had to give up either. The two have already had to alter some of the things in their everyday lives for their son. McClay’s closet is stuffed with baby supplies – bibs, blankets, clothes and diapers. He also got rid of his Mustang in favor of a more family-friendly Jeep Wrangler, since it can hold a car seat. Plus he works almost every day at Lowe’s to help raise money for their son.

Fortune had to give up a lot of space in her room, too. Now, a big area of her room has been taken over by baby supplies and a crib. But her mother has helped her get used to the changes.

“She was there for me,” Fortune said. “She didn’t scream when she figured out [I was pregnant]. She just understood and was willing to help.”

In fact, they have already started looking for apartments in Lewisville, Grapevine and Flower Mound. They hope to move in together by the end of the summer and, when the time is right, to get married. But the couple doesn’t pretend that getting there will be easy.

“It’ll start off rough because we don’t live together yet and neither of us have a full-time job to make all the money we need,” McClay said. “But as we get older and the years go by, we’ll both be working full-time and get money and have our own place, and it’ll get easier.”

While there have been parts that have been extremely overwhelming, there have also been parts that have been exciting for the couple. Every time they left the hospital after one of their bimonthly appointments, they knew a little bit more about their future son.

“When I first heard his heartbeat I was beyond happy and couldn’t stop smiling,” McClay said. “I was so overjoyed to hear it and know he had a healthy heartbeat. Same with the ultrasound. I couldn’t stop smiling and couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. I just wanted to look at him all day.”

During the last month of the pregnancy, Fortune was having more intense aches and pains. Some nights, it was hard for her to sleep. They knew that it was almost time for their son to be born.

“You go the whole first eight months and you’re like, ‘Okay, we’re having a baby,’” McClay said. “But then the last month gets here and you’re like, ‘This is real.’”

This realization came to them on Fortune’s birthday on Jan. 16. As McClay was leaving school, he got a call from Fortune. She suddenly didn’t feel so well. The pain got worse, and she thought that her water broke. McClay rushed to pick her up, then took her to the hospital.

“I just tried to be as calm as I could be to keep her calm,” McClay said.

Although it ended up being a false alarm, the two knew that the time was coming. Finally, on Feb. 12, they got their chance to see Keane for the first time. After heading to the Medical Center of Lewisville at 5 a.m., the baby was born at 6:18 p.m.. He weighed 7 lbs and 8 oz.

FullSizeRender (1)
Junior Chloe Fortune cradles her newborn son Keane Way McClay. He was born at 6:18 pm.

“It was going really well until the umbilical cord got wrapped around his neck,” McClay said. “So that led to a cesarean section. [But Chloe] handled everything great and was very strong through it all.”

For the past few weeks, they’ve been spending a lot of time at home getting used to being a family of three. Keane is healthy, and the two parents are learning how to care for their son.

They know that now they’ll be spending most of their time with Keane. They know they’ll have to give up even more of their lives. But they said they wouldn’t take back what happened. To them, courage is key to anyone who is going through the same situation as them.

“They have to stay strong,” McClay said. “They can’t separate from each other. They have to do it for the baby.”