I fell pregnant on a first date… with TWINS!
The pub was buzzing as I grabbed a glass of bubbly and stood among the crowd to start the countdown: ‘Five, four, three, two, one, happy New Year!’
As the clock struck midnight, everyone cheered and sang Auld Lang Syne.
I had travelled to Wales to see in the new millennium with a friend I used to work with. She had moved home to open a pub with her cousin Richard, who I’d just met for the first time.
He was friendly and rather good-looking, but I wasn’t looking for love. I had just come out of a bad six-year relationship and at 29, I was happy to be single.
Once the celebrations had ended and my trip was over, I set off on the long journey home.
Days later I texted my friend and my phone pinged with a reply.
Hi, it’s Richard. How are you?
My friend had been using his phone, because hers had bad signal.
I’m good thanks, it was great to meet you the other day, I replied.
We started pinging texts back and forth, then chatted on the phone for hours, I felt like a giddy teenager with a crush.
‘Will you visit again?’ Richard said.
‘I’d love to,’ I said.
Four months after we had met, I returned to the pub.
Richard met me in the car park and just seeing him gave me butterflies.
Because it was Mother’s Day, we had Sunday lunch with his family after the pub had closed, I stood across the bar from him.
‘Imagine if we hadn’t got on in person,’ I said.
‘We could have stood at opposite ends of the bar texting,’ Richard joked.
We invented a new cocktail, consisting of Tia Maria, vodka, gin and coke.
I took a sip and winced.
‘It’s strong, but good,’ I said.
As we chatted, Richard put his hands on mine.
‘Here’s to our first official date,’ he said.
He walked around the bar to sit next to me. I turned to look at him and we gazed into each other’s eyes before sharing a kiss.
Feeling intoxicated by passion, I whispered: ‘Do you want to go upstairs?’
Richard jumped up and took my hand. I’d never seen anyone move so fast.
He led me to a room above the pub where we fell onto the bed, unable to keep our hands off each other.
In the morning, I looked across at the man in bed with me and just knew he was The One.
‘I love you,’ I said.
‘I love you too,’ Richard replied.
Days later, we went for a romantic walk and stood on a cliff to admire the stunning view of the sea.
Suddenly, Richard dropped to one knee.
‘Will you marry me?’ he said.
‘If I say no will you throw me off the cliff?’ I joked.
Then I added: ‘Yes, I will.’
We sat on the grassy bank and I leant against Richard, the sun on my face.
Soon it was time for me to go home.
‘I’ll see you soon,’ Richard said.
‘Bye for now,’ I replied.
That week, I went to see my GP about birth control.
‘Please check you’re not pregnant first,’ she said.
I thought back to mine and Richard’s night of passion. It had been so spontaneous that we hadn’t thought to be careful.
Next morning as I got ready for work, I did a pregnancy test… Moments later, I was standing in front of five sticks.
Every single one was positive.
I couldn’t believe I had conceived on a first date, on Mother’s Day of all days.
My mind was reeling as I tried to think logically.
I had two options. Go to work as normal or drive all the way to Wales to tell the man I’d fallen in love with that I was expecting his baby. He was already a father to two children from his previous marriage, Charlotte and Oliver. What would he say when I told him he was having a third?
I grabbed my keys, got into the car and gripped the wheel with shaky hands. Then I started driving.
When I pulled into the car park, I yanked up the handbrake and phoned Richard.
‘I’m outside,’ I said.
Seconds later, he appeared.
‘I’ve got something to tell you,’ I said.
We went to the lounge above the pub.
‘I’m pregnant,’ I said.
Richard fell silent.
It was the longest 10 minutes of my life.
Then he said: ‘Let’s go for a drive.’
We drove to a nearby river and found a couple of logs to sit on. Richard took my hands.
‘From the moment I met you, I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you,’ he said. ‘You being pregnant is just the icing on the cake.’
‘I feel the same,’ I said.
I left my job and moved in with my new fiancé above the pub. It wasn’t the best place to be suffering with morning sickness, but I was just glad to be together.
We broke the news to our families, who were equally shocked that we were engaged and having a baby. But to us, it just felt right.
One day, when I was eight weeks pregnant, I started getting bad pains in my stomach.
‘I can’t even sit up,’ I said.
‘I’ll call for an ambulance,’ Richard said.
A doctor arrived and explained I was probably having a miscarriage. I was heartbroken.
At hospital, Richard pretended to fly around the room with a handheld fan. He was trying so hard to make me smile.
Later, he went home.
‘See you soon,’ he said.
Next morning, I was given a scan.
‘You’re still pregnant,’ the sonographer said.
I beamed with relief.
‘Do twins run in your family?’ she added.
She turned the monitor and pointed out two heartbeats.
‘You’re having twins,’ she said.
My mouth gaped open in shock.
I didn’t think I’d ever have children, let alone two with a man I’d only just met.
I phoned Richard.
‘I’m still pregnant,’ I said.
‘Thank goodness,’ he said.
‘And we’re having twins,’ I added.
‘You’re joking!’ he said.
As the weeks passed and my bump grew, I decided I wanted to get married before the twins’ arrival.
‘Shall we run off to Gretna Green?’ I said.
‘Why not,’ Richard said.
But at six months pregnant, I started suffering with unbearably itchy skin and doctors discovered a build-up of bile acids in my body.
I was diagnosed with obstetric cholestasis, a liver disease. I was terrified for my babies’ lives.
I was kept in hospital for three months, to be monitored closely.
Then at 35 weeks, I was told if the babies weren’t delivered now, they could die. I was induced and had a natural birth. We had two boys and named them Thomas and Christopher.
They spent 20 days in special care, then Richard and I took them home where a new world of sleepless nights and constant feeds began.
But nine months later, I began struggling with a spine problem and was left unable to walk for two years.
To make things harder, Richard lost his job.
He decided to start his own business, working from home and caring for me and the boys too.
Life wasn’t easy, but our love and strong bond pulled us through the toughest of times.
When the boys were two, we tied the knot in Gretna Green and I was thrilled to call Richard my husband.
Years later, we are still madly in love.
Thomas and Christopher, 18, are off to university, and Charlotte and Oliver have blessed us with three grandchildren we adore, so now the next chapter of our love story begins.
I suffer with constant chronic pain and every morning Richard brings me a cup of tea, cuddles me, tells me he loves me and that everything will be OK.
I honestly couldn’t love him any more than I do.
We are very proud of where we are now, especially when things could so easily have gone wrong after falling pregnant on our first date.
People told us our relationship wouldn’t work, but we have proved them wrong. We are each other’s better half and proof that true love really does exist.