Couple Who Met in ER Welcome Their First Baby — and Name Him After the Hospital! 'It Was Absolutely Perfect'

Emily Salerno McDavitt and Adam McDavitt met in 2015 during a peer review, but didn’t start dating until after a Christmas party the next year: “Thank God for that red dress,” Emily tells PEOPLE

Real-Life Love story Couple Who Met at N.J. Emergency Department
Emily Salerno McDavitt and Adam McDavitt with son Cooper. Photo: Courtesy of Kristen Noble Photography

A couple found true love in the most unlikely of places: a hospital emergency department in New Jersey. Now, they're celebrating their first Valentine's Day as a family of three after welcoming their son, whom they fittingly named after the hospital where they met.

Emily Salerno McDavitt, 35, and Adam McDavitt, 40, met back in 2015, when Emily, a registered nurse at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center, applied to work in the emergency department. Their first meeting? At a peer review.

"Adam was actually very serious that day," Emily tells PEOPLE, explaining he "had a full assignment of patients" on top of having to do the interview.

But that didn't stop him from being impressed by her.

Real-Life Love story Couple Who Met at N.J. Emergency Department
Emily Salerno McDavitt and Adam McDavitt with son Cooper. Courtesy of Kristen Noble Photography

While there was a mutual attraction, not to mention some flirting, they didn't start dating right away.

"I was very attracted to him right from the beginning, hands down," says Emily.

"I was as well," adds Adam. "I just had a rule about not dating people I worked with."

As fate would have it, Adam left the hospital in 2016 to become a police officer. A few months later, they ended up getting back in touch after an emergency room encounter.

"I came in to work one night and I was getting a report on my patients and it turned out that one of my patients was a fellow officer of Adam's," Emily recalls. "That's how we reconnected."

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Still, things didn't turn romantic in the hospital's "famous ER Christmas party."

"Obviously, everybody still knew Adam," Emily says. "I was texting with him and I said, "You've got to come to the Christmas party.'"

When he said that he wasn't sure he could make it, Emily decided to give him some extra incentive.

"I said, 'Well, I'll leave you with this, I'll be wearing a slightly inappropriate-for-work dress. I hope you can attend,'" she says.

That was all it took. "I said to my brother, 'I'm going out,'" Adam recalls.

"Thank God for that red dress," remarks Emily.

From the start of their relationship, the duo had a "really nice courtship" with "no hiccups," Emily says: "There was just full trust from the very beginning," she says. "I still don't know the password to Adam's phone — that's how wonderful this relationship has been from the very beginning."

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In 2020, when Adam was ready to propose, he thought of a surefire way to surprise Emily.

"It was before Christmas," he recalls. "I had my parents, her parents, my brother, my sister-in-law, we're all out to dinner and I had my dispatcher call me and basically fake like I was being ordered into work."

"Henceforth leaving me with all of the relatives to entertain by myself in the middle of a restaurant," says Emily, who was initially "a little mad," Adam points out.

But instead of going into work, Adam went back to their home and got out 800 battery-operated candles. As a nod to their love of gaming, he put her ring in a little treasure chest, like in The Legend of Zelda.

"That was definitely one of the happiest moments of my life," Adam shares.

Fittingly, after saying "I do" on July 23, 2021, the couple hopped onto a party bus to go back to where it all started.

"The only place that I really, truly wanted to go to take a picture with me and him was actually right in front of the hospital," says Emily.

Real Life Love McDavitt Newborn Wedding day photo credit: MC Productions
Adam McDavitt and Emily Salerno McDavitt. MC Productions Photography and Video

By April, the couple learned they were expecting their first child — and while there were a few names they were considering, like many things in their life, everything changed during one special trip to the hospital.

After going in for a scan one day, they ended up catching up with a friend, who remarked, "I love your guys' story," and, "You should really name the baby Cooper since you met here.'"

"Right away we loved it, and we knew it was absolutely perfect," Emily says, adding that it wasn't long before "everybody in the department just started calling my belly Cooper."

Real-Life Love story Couple Who Met at N.J. Emergency Department
Adam McDavitt and Emily Salerno McDavitt with son Cooper. Courtesy of Kristen Noble Photography

On Jan. 9, 2023, baby Cooper was born at the same hospital where his parents met. The full-circle moment was even more incredible as Emily was born there too.

As for being new parents, that's been "wonderful," Emily says.

"I don't want to brag," adds Adam, "but he's a really good baby."

Real-Life Love story Couple Who Met at N.J. Emergency Department
Cooper McDavitt. Courtesy of Kristen Noble Photography

With Valentine's Day here, the couple says they plan to have a quiet evening and a nice dinner.

To make things even more special? This year Emily won't just be getting presents from her husband and their beloved dog, Chester: "Cooper's going to have to get mommy" something too, adds Adam.

Real-Life Love story Couple Who Met at N.J. Emergency Department
Emily Salerno McDavitt and Adam McDavitt with son Cooper and their dog, Chester. Courtesy of Kristen Noble Photography

No matter what the future holds, Emily says she hopes her son grows up to know "that his mommy and daddy met in a place that provided a lot of good to the world and to the community."

And if he follows in their footsteps to give back, they'll be thrilled.

"We've spent our entire life basically in public service, whether it was in healthcare or otherwise," says Adam. "If he chooses to serve and take care of others, we'd be very happy."

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