Stephanie Thompson, 24, Plymouth, had a joyous bolt from the blue after her boyfriend's devastating death.
My sister Danni, 25, gave me a cheeky nudge.
‘He’s looking at you!’ she whispered, nodding her head towards a handsome bloke at the end of the bar.
I was on a break from my job in a local pub’s kitchen.
‘You’re new,’ I said, without thinking, then went back to the kitchen.
But then he popped up at the kitchen window…
‘Hello,’ he said. ‘I’m Dan.’
Dan Muirhead was 23, a scaffolder.
Nice body! I thought.
‘Do you have Facebook?’ he asked.
‘Yeah,’ I said, giving him my name.
He added me, and we began messaging, then meeting up for drinks, dinners, kisses…
Smitten, after a few weeks, we knew we wanted to be a couple. Work often meant Dan was up in London, but every time he came home he had a bunch of flowers for me.
We moved into his mum Tracy’s house, then got a flat.
Sitting on the sofa, cuddling, we’d talk about our future.
‘We’ll be together when we’re old– racing in our wheelchairs!’ I’d laugh.
We had some more serious, but still lovely moments, too.
‘I want to be a dad by the time I’m 30,’ Dan said.
‘Maybe after our holiday, I’ll get my implant taken out,’ I said.
There was no doubt I wanted to spend my life with this man who made me glow, whose strong arms around me made me feel safe and loved.
So, after the holiday, I had my contraceptive implant removed. But, two years on, there was no patter of tiny feet.
‘Maybe it’s not meant to be,’ we agreed.
I went to the GP several times about it.
‘You need to lose weight, get healthier,’ he said.
Could that be the answer?
I wasn’t obese!
All the same, I started cutting down on snacks, and cooking healthier meals.
We vowed not to let trying for a baby in the future ruin our ‘now’.
On Monday 23 May last year, I woke to the 6am alarm as usual.
I was working shifts in a care home, but Dan had to be up early for work.
‘Come on, your alarm’s going off now, too!’ I said, as my sleepyhead man didn’t stir.
He was always a nightmare at getting up early!
I went off to the loo. But, coming back, Dan still hadn’t moved.
‘Dan!’ I said more sternly. ‘You’ve only got 25 minutes left to get ready for work!’
I’m not sure why, but I lifted his arm, then let it drop.
It fell lifeless to the bed…
Something’s not right, I thought as, shaking him and shouting, I became desperate.
‘You need to wake up!’ I cried, hoping that any minute now he’d open his eyes and say, ‘Only kidding!’
I rang for an ambulance, and performed CPR.
Come on, Dan!
I rang Tracy, who raced round, and we paced the floor until the paramedics came downstairs.
‘We’re so sorry, we did all we could,’ they explained. ‘He’s passed away.’
‘No, no, no! Wake up, Dan!’ I pleaded, running upstairs.
It was impossible to believe.
Broken, his beloved mum came up, too, and we stuttered our goodbyes.
Dan was taken away ina private ambulance. We were told he’d need a postmortem.
‘We don’t know what’s happened yet,’ the paramedics told us.
Weeks passed, and I slipped into depression.
I was signed off work for six months, miserable, destroyed.
Dan’s heart was sent to a lab for testing, so we waited before holding his funeral.
He’d suffered Brugada syndrome – a rare condition that disturbed the rhythm of his heart – and hypertrophy, an enlarged heart muscle.
Dan had died in his sleep.
There was no way of knowing he was ill – he hadn’t suffered any symptoms like blackouts or palpitations.
My big, strong man had been let down by his heart of gold.
Nine weeks after his death, we held Dan’s funeral. I cried every day for him and our stolen future.
By January last year, I felt bloated, ill. One day, visiting Tracy, I had stomach pains.
‘Can I feel your tummy?’ she said, reaching out.
Then… ‘I’d say it’s gallstones or you’re pregnant.’
Pregnant? Surely not?!
But, at the GP’s…
‘You’re heavily pregnant,’ the doctor confirmed.
I was around eight months gone! I must’ve conceived about a month before Dan died.
Dan’s workmates were amazing, promising to get me everything I needed.
One put up a message at his son’s rugby club, and the wives there all donated stuff.
Word spread and, before I knew it, I had baby clothes, a cot, baby bath – the lot.
On 11 February this year, I gave birth to a boy, Jesse Daniel Lee, weighing 7lb 10oz.
Daniel Lee was Dan’s name – my gift to Jesse from his dad.
Jesse’s 5 months now, and a contented baby – like his dad.
Dan’s ashes were put in a special vault that we visit often, and I tell Jesse all about him.
I dreamed of a life with my wonderful man, but he was taken from me all too soon.
But when I look in Jesse’s eyes, I see a sparkle that reminds me that Dan will live on in his son.