Bachelor in Paradise alums Astrid Loch and Kevin Wendt are overjoyed as they get ready to embark upon a new chapter together as first-time parents. Their baby news comes after a long and challenging journey to conception.
At just 12 weeks into her pregnancy, Loch tells PEOPLE exclusively that getting to this stage has felt "fairly easy" compared to "all of the difficulties" the pair endured while trying to conceive in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
"We actually did IUIs (intrauterine insemination) before doing IVF (in vitro fertilization). We did two cycles with that," Loch, 31, says. "IVF is just so much more intrusive, so we were trying to go that route at first and then during our second cycle, we actually ended up having an ectopic pregnancy. … I ended up having to take medication to terminate the ectopic pregnancy, and then it pushed our whole thing back another two-and-a-half months."
"You can't try [to conceive] after that because the meds that you take to terminate are so strong. It's basically like a cancer med that they give you to terminate all living cells. So then, we couldn't try and go into our IVF cycle for almost three months," she adds.
The decision to seek non-traditional methods came after the couple "spent a year of trying" and "realized that it just wasn't working," says Wendt, who reveals that they started IVF a week before last Christmas. Next month, in fact, marks one year since they first went to a fertility clinic.
Astrid Loch and Kevin Wendt
Loch notes that it was a "time consuming" process, during which she was required to take IVF shots that were "really hard on the body" and visit the clinic two to three times a week by herself due to COVID-19 regulations. The experience was also hard on Wendt, who ultimately had to wait for his soon-to-be-wife to relay the information she received from her doctor's visit. Consequently, there were "a lot of days" that proved to be overwhelming for the pair, Loch says.
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"We spent a lot of nights in tears because we just didn't understand why it wasn't working for us," Wendt says. "Growing up, you're always taught to not get pregnant and it always seems so easy on TV to get pregnant. Then you actually try and it's actually really tricky. There's a lot of people going through a similar struggle. It can really bring you down when all you see is the positive stuff on the internet."
Wendt also points out that "because it's such a private thing, a lot of times you don't know the struggles that couples are actually going through trying to get pregnant."
Through the tough times, one factor that helped the Bachelor Nation duo keep moving forward was remaining optimistic. "I've really realized that we're glass half full type of people," Loch says. "It obviously took a while [for me to get pregnant] but I think throughout every single thing, if we'd see a negative pregnancy test or something wasn't working out right or whatever, we really were good at not trying to, like, simmer in it for too long."
Astrid Loch and Kevin Wendt
The mom-to-be continues, "We just tried to think, like, 'Okay, well if there's a negative test when do we try again next?' We really try to just be so future orientated instead of letting ourselves get too down about it."
Loch and Wendt met during season 5 of Bachelor in Paradise, which aired in late 2018. Though they ended their relationship before the season wrapped, the pair reconciled shortly after and announced their engagement in August 2019.
Their wedding was initially set for 2020, but the COVID pandemic resulted in the couple postponing their nuptials to November 2021. Now, they are delaying their ceremony once more in light of their baby's due date, which is one day before the rescheduled gathering was set to occur.
"Since the wedding would keep getting pushed off, we thought 'Okay, well, I don't want to wait five years to have a baby. Let's just try to have one before the wedding,'" Wendt says, noting that they will "push the wedding a full year."
For now, Loch and Wendt — who have decided to wait until their child's arrival to learn the baby's sex — are waiting to meet their little one. "We're just getting really excited daily," Wendt says. "I think everything's just lighter around here."
Loch also shared the baby news on Instagram Sunday. "A dream come true," she wrote. "One of the first conversations @kevin.c.wendt and I had was about how we both loved kids and couldn't wait to have our own. When I think about Kev holding our little angel for the first time my heart flutters. Even in my wildest dreams I couldn't have imagined how amazing this would all feel."
Loch added, "To all the couples trying to get pregnant, my heart is with you. We know first hand how hard it can be to see these kinds of posts and feel sad & discouraged. We too struggled with fertility and conceiving naturally - it's the toughest thing we've ever been through and I can't wait to share more of how we got here. But today is finally about some good news & we hope you can enjoy it with us."