Cooper was born on March 9th. He came home with us on March 11th. Monday night, at 11 days old, something happened. It was almost midnight when he woke us with his crying. My turn for feeding him, so I quickly warmed up the breast milk, readied his bottle, and began changing his diaper. I immediately knew something was off.

"Honey?" I called to my wife who had gotten up to use the bathroom. She answered me half asleep, and I asked where it was.

"Where is what?"

"His umbilical cord."

She had changed him the time before you see, and now I was looking at a belly button instead of a black, crinkly Loch Ness Monster. Any parent knows how you can't wait for this moment. The falling off of the umbilical cord means you can start fully bathing them for one thing. You're not supposed to get that little shriveling nub wet, ever! So this is a big moment. Only, we couldn't find it. She never noticed it fall off.

"It was on there when I changed him," she explained. So we searched his little mattress. Nothing. We searched the floor where she would have covered transferring him. Nada. We searched the chair where she fed him. Zip. We even searched the diaper she had changed and hour and a half earlier. Zilch.

Visiting Cooper in the NICU after finding out he was going to be okay and released from intensive care that night.
Jeff Deminski photo / Townsquare Media

We have no idea where this little dude's umbilical cord is. It's as if a new fairy has been invented. The Cord Fairy. Now this isn't necessarily a bad thing. In fact it takes a slight bit of pressure off. Because there are some parents who think it's nice and sentimental to save that little black fossil. To what end, I'm not sure. I did it once with my first child, only to come across it years and later and think...ewwwww. I believe I finally threw it out.

But that's just it. You feel a little weird throwing this away. It does absolutely no good to keep it, yet throwing it in the trash seems somehow cold and wrong. There's really no good answer to the dilemma of what to do with the umbilical cord. So this is best case scenario.

Then there's the first lock of hair. His teeth. On and on. What to save? And to what end? Does anyone pull out their daughter's umbilical cord from a ziplock baggie on their Sweet Sixteen and pass it around? We're strange, us humans.

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