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13 February 2019, 12:05 | Updated: 14 February 2019, 09:15
A woman who reunited with her high school crush on Facebook enjoyed a whirlwind romance and now has THREE babies with her new husband
A man and woman who went to school together and reunited on Facebook years later have told how they bought a house together within two weeks of meeting - and went on to have three kids in nine months.
Rachael Kirkwood, 34, and her husband, Paddy, 35, went to secondary school together - and Rachael never plucked up the courage to tell Paddy she had a crush on him.
They both left school and got on with their lives, and both had children of their own. Rachael then sent Paddy a Facebook message in 2015.
The pair then went on a date, and subsequently enjoyed a whirlwind romance - buying a house together within the first two weeks, getting married within a month, and having three babies in nine months.
Speaking out in defence of whirlwind romances, Rachael said “People thought it was way too fast and told me it wouldn’t last, but I was sure we were meant to be together.
“I believe in love at first sight. I loved Paddy as soon as I saw him back at school, and still felt the same after years apart. If something feels right, you have to go for it.”
And reminiscing about sending Paddy the Facebook message, Rachael said: “I saw his profile pop up as he’d commented on a mutual friend’s post, so I had a look through his photos and plucked up the courage to message him. I said, ‘You haven’t changed a bit.’
“I wasn’t even sure if he’d remember me, given that we’d never spoken. But he replied right away saying, ‘Neither have you.’”
After a week of talking, Paddy asked her on a date, and their love story started from there.
“We’d arranged something for the following week, but in the end, we couldn’t wait. I ended up texting him a few days later when I was on a night out in Manchester city centre to see if he wanted to come and join me,” said Rachael.
“He did, and as soon as I saw him, it was like we’d known each other forever. Which we had, I suppose.”
Paddy then mentioned that he was house-hunting and asked Rachael to join him.
Rachael said: “He asked me what I thought of the place, and I told him I loved it.
“Then he turned to me and said, ‘I don’t want to get it unless you move in too.’
“I thought, ‘Is he mad?’ It had only been two weeks. But part of me just knew it was right.”
They then went to Madrid together after learning their offer had been accepted, and Paddy asked Rachael to marry him.
“He proposed to me in Paris. It was like something from a fairytale,” she said. “People thought it was way too fast and told me it wouldn’t last, but I was sure we were meant to be together," she said.
The couple then learned that they were expecting a baby, but, tragically, a 12-week scan revealed it was a 'molar pregnancy' - meaning that a group of cells rather than a foetus grow inside the womb.
This meant that, sadly, the pregnancy had to be removed.
Rachel said: “I couldn’t take it in. I had never even heard of a molar pregnancy.”
Looking back, Rachael said she would never have got through the ordeal without Paddy, who she married that December in Paris, in front of 60 loved ones.
“We hired a boat afterwards and sailed down the Seine, past the Eiffel Tower. The way we saw it, we wanted to be together, so there was no point in waiting – even though we hadn’t even been together a year,” she recalled. “When you know, you know.”
However, a month after their wedding, Rachael learned she was pregnant again - and their daughter Mollie, now 2, was born in September 2016.
Rachael then fell pregnant with identical twins just six weeks after having Mollie. She said: “We couldn’t believe it. We were basically doubling the size of the family,” she said. “At first, I was terrified about how we’d cope, but Paddy said it was like winning the lottery.
“I knew then that we’d get through it together.”
Their twin boys Niall and Luke were born in June 2017, meaning Rachael had given birth three times in nine months.
“It was hard work having three tiny babies. The twins had colic, so would cry a lot, then Mollie would wake up wanting a feed. Even getting out the house for five minutes took rigorous planning,” she said.
“We got a nanny to come and help two times a week, which was amazing. Plus Paddy was fantastic.”