On Their First Date, a Third Party Tagged Along

Catherine Ann Rought had not spoken to Thomas Wade Jacobson in 25 years when she began shouting at him during an earsplitting concert in May 2018 at the now-closed Trocadero Theater in Philadelphia.

“I’m Cathy Rought!” she recalled shouting, again and again, at the show by a Pink Floyd cover band.

She and Mr. Jacobson fell out of touch following their graduation from Sterling High School in Somerdale, N.J. But when Ms. Rought heard that he would be at the concert, at which a mutual high school friend appeared with the band, she made the extra effort to attend.

“I always had a crush on Tommy in high school,” said Ms. Rought, 46, who was then living in Brooklyn. A graduate of Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J., she is a senior vice president at BerlinRosen, a public relations firm in New York.

After a jolt of recognition, Mr. Jacobson gave her “a ginormous hug,” she recalled.

With that hug came an immediate spark, said Mr. Jacobson, 48, who had joined the Army National Guard after high school, and now works remotely on the operational technology team at Siemens Healthineers, a medical device company.

Mr. Jacobson added that he had always liked Ms. Rought, but the timing was never quite right to pursue a relationship. At the time of the concert, he was living in South Jersey and dating someone else. That night, when Mr. Jacobson introduced Ms. Rought to his girlfriend, she was somewhat deflated. Later, she diplomatically handed each her card, suggesting they get together if they were ever in New York.

That fall, after his relationship had ended, Mr. Jacobson reached out to Ms. Rought. Unbeknown to him, she was three months pregnant.

Around the time that her previous marriage ended in divorce, Ms. Rought, then 37, had frozen her eggs. “I wanted to be a mom,” said Ms. Rought, who used a sperm donor to conceive. “I didn’t want to feel desperate.”

She hesitated to tell Mr. Jacobson anything about her pregnancy until months later, when he asked if she and her significant other (he was fishing to see if she was single) would like to join him at a reggae concert in Port Chester, N.Y.

“I don’t have a significant other,” she replied, and then came the zinger. “But, I’m seven and a half months pregnant.”

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Mr. Jacobson was impressed. “It’s so amazing you’re doing this for yourself,” he said, and after she agreed to join him, he insisted on buying seats instead of standing. The next evening, he went over to her place, where they binged on the cable TV series “BoJack Horseman,” and ordered takeout.

“I was giddy,” she said. “I really liked him.”

From then, Mr. Jacobson checked in every couple of days. After Ms. Rought’s daughter, Eloise was born in February 2019, he created an upbeat playlist to cheer her up while she struggled with postpartum depression.

“The whole mix sounded like sunshine,” Ms. Rought said.

When he visited them the following month, one-month-old Eloise instantly grabbed his finger.

“I loved that little girl,” said Mr. Jacobson, who had always wanted kids. After Ms. Rought put her to bed that night, the two had their first kiss.

“My 650-square-foot apartment was our dating ground,” she said.

Mr. Jacobson was big on bottle-feeding Eloise and doing dishes, while Ms. Rought became a master at stacking her stroller with an overnight bag and baby supplies when she stayed with him. By Thanksgiving, he had moved in with her, and in February 2020 they got a bigger place in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn.

“We kept talking about getting married,” she said, and during Eloise’s third birthday party, their friend, the Rev. Julia Macy Offinger, an Episcopal priest, offered to do the honors.

On March 25, the Rev. Offinger officiated at Grace Church in Manhattan before 30 vaccinated guests. During the ceremony, Eloise held both their hands, and then ran around to greet everyone. Ms. Rought and Mr. Jacobson, who plans to adopt Eloise, later celebrated with a reception at the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

“She stole the show,” said Ms. Rought, who is taking the groom’s name. “Parents don’t usually get to pick their kids, but Tom had the honor of choosing her.”