New year, new life
We never imagined that the two of us would have so much to look forward to...
At the back of the church, I played nervously with my bouquet. It was weeks before Christmas, and I was marrying my childhood sweetheart Graham.
We'd met aged 14, and I hadn't been sure then if he'd make it to his 15th.
Six months after we'd got together, he'd been diagnosed with leukaemia. Thankfully, three years of chemotherapy had put him into remission.
Now, we were about to start the New Year as a married couple. After a honeymoon in the Caribbean, who knew what the future had in store?
Maybe we'd move house, get new jobs, a new car... but whether we'd have kids was the biggest wonder of them all. There was a danger Graham's cancer treatment had left him infertile.
'We may never have kids,' he'd worried.
'It doesn't matter,' I soothed. 'I'm looking forward to a great future, with or without children.'
January came and went as we settled into married life. But it wasn't long before we started thinking of babies. 'At 14, I never thought about having kids,' Graham said. 'But now we're settled, it'd be nice to start a family.'
'Maybe we should give it a go,' I smiled.
Over the next five months, I lost count of the pregnancy tests I took. But each one was negative.
'Why put ourselves through this?' I sighed to Graham. 'We're getting our hopes up for nothing.'
'It can take years,' he urged. To him, having a baby would make our family complete.
I couldn't take that away from him. 'Okay,' I nodded.
Then, in May, my period was three weeks late. 'You must be,' Graham grinned, as we timed the test.
But my heart sank.
'Negative,' I sighed, dropping it into the bin.
I was worried this was going to get us both down.
'I'm not giving up,' warned Graham.
Barely a month later, we were back in the bathroom.
'Don't get your hopes up, pet,' I sighed.
Unable to sit still, I flopped on the sofa in the living room. Then Graham charged in, arms waving.
'It's positive, we're pregnant!' he cried.
'No!' I gasped snatching the stick from his hand.
'Look, there's a line,' he cheered. It was positive! Screaming and crying, we jumped round the room!
At our first scan, we saw our baby. 'There were times I didn't think I'd still be alive, let alone a dad,' Graham said.
Our baby boy's due in March, so I think next year will be hectic... but happy.
Claire Smales, 23, Stockton-on-Tees, Co Durham
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