Astrid Loch and Kevin Wendt met on season 5 of Bachelor in Paradise and announced their engagement in August 2019, later revealing on Mother's Day 2021 that they are expecting their first baby together after a long journey to conception.
In her second blog for PEOPLE, Loch shares her pregnancy journey so far and how she's adjusted with her body along the way.
Sorry I've been a bit MIA since announcing we're pregnant. Growing a tiny human really takes it out of you, and after the road it took to get here Kevin and I have been soaking up every single moment, and sometimes that also means you have to disconnect a bit.
Baby Wendt has officially made it to 19 weeks, and as we're approaching the halfway mark I can't help but reflect on everything it took to get here. The struggles that come with it, the changes that are already happening, and the fears I have heading into the second half of pregnancy.
If you read my last blog or follow me on social media you're well aware of how difficult it was for Kevin and I to conceive. There's a reason women who go through in-vitro fertilization call themselves IVF warriors: Your mind and body are fighting an uphill battle every day for weeks, months and sometimes years. The injections are unpleasant and sometimes painful, your body bloats like crazy, you get hot flashes, and your mood swings can be so intense that there were moments I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience because it seemed like I couldn't control my emotions.
I would imagine that for most women, getting that positive pregnancy test is an instant relief that leaves you on cloud nine for weeks, but for me that "high" didn't last very long as my mind immediately began to worry about what else could go wrong.
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My first 12 weeks of pregnancy consisted of weekly bloodwork and ultrasounds, strong prenatal vitamins that left me nauseous the majority of the day, and daily progesterone oil shots that were not only painful but also left me with welts, bruising and numbness that I can still feel to this day.
Anyone who's been pregnant before knows the first trimester is no walk in the park to begin with. You're quite literally drained of all of your energy, everything you ever loved to eat now makes you sick, and you can't sleep through the night because you're constantly having to pee.
So yeah, I think I'll call myself a warrior as well.
Thankfully, ever since I got past the first trimester, pregnancy has been pure bliss for me. My energy is back, I'm working out again, I'm able to eat without getting sick, and I'm no longer scared that every little thing I do could hurt the baby.
It's been a weird feeling, though, seeing my body change. For as long as I can remember, much like most women from my generation, I've been hyper-aware of my body image. As I've grown older I've worked hard to change my thinking and now focus on being healthy rather than skinny. But even with that changed mindset, seeing my body grow felt almost triggering at times.
I often found myself staring at the mirror way too long overanalyzing every inch and feeling strange about the fact that I no longer had total control. But while I was doubting my body at times, Kevin was by my side reminding me I was the life source for our little one. He loved my growing body and reminded me of how beautiful this all was. And eventually, as my belly grew so did my appreciation for my body.
Nevertheless, this was a great reminder of how fragile self-love and confidence can be and something I'll continue to actively work on, because if we're having a girl this fall I'd never want her to pick up any of these unhealthy notions from me.
Paul Hebert via Getty Astrid Loch, Kevin Wendt
I think what's shocked me the most throughout all this is just how quickly your maternal instincts kick in. Even though my belly has barely popped and I haven't felt any flutter or kicks yet, my mind is constantly with our little one. Things that used to bother me or put me in a bad mood go completely unnoticed now. My patience has already grown so much as I realize everything I do or feel will affect my child now, so why add unnecessary stress to my day?
I can say the same for my relationship as well. Knowing we're going to be parents together has brought Kevin and I much closer, which I didn't think was possible after everything we had to go through to get here. Like all couples, we still have our moments, but the stakes are different now. We're a family, and there's nothing more important than that.
I know this bliss won't last forever, but for now I'm taking advantage of it. Because the moment I start thinking of what's to come for the second half of pregnancy - labor, postpartum, breastfeeding (if my body and baby allow it), etc. - my mind begins to spiral and next thing I know I'm freaking out about whether or not my kid is going to be a good driver, hang out with the wrong crowd, or end up on reality TV!
See guys, told you my maternal instincts have kicked in.