They've been engaged for over a year, since she popped the question, but former Real Housewives of Orange County couple Gretchen Rossi and Slade Smiley are revealing their plans to have at least one baby before tying the knot.
Faced with fertility issues, Gretchen, who said she had to "mourn the loss of making a baby the natural way," is opening up about her decision to use in vitro fertilization (IVF) with OK! Magazine.
"It's so much more complicated than we ever anticipated before we started it," she admits to the magazine in this week's issue (on-sale now). "You question everything and wonder if it's the right decision. And it's not fun to shoot yourself up three times a day. You just hope it pays off."
While Gretchen is still undergoing the process—she says they'll try again in November if the first attempt doesn't work out—she is happy to have her devoted Slade by her side. "If we were 20 and had another two decades ahead of us, maybe we'd have a child and see how that goes," he says. "But as we begin to age, we want to make sure that we've done everything possible to ensure a healthy baby."
And Gretchen admits that it's an emotionally draining and painful process. "Actively pulling the trigger to make a baby is very powerful," says Gretchen. "You go through every step together. As I’m crying and putting in shots that are very painful, Slade is right there with me."
As for why they're in no rush to walk down the aisle, Gretchen says, "We already feel married and know we’re meant to be together for the rest of our lives." And if her use of the plural "children" is any indication, the couple may not stop at one before making their union official, "It’d be pretty amazing to have our children at our wedding!"
Last year the couple said they hoped for a very large family. "We want to be Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie!" Gretchen said. "That's the goal. At this point, we want to have like 26 kids."
With Slade already a dad to his two sons from a previous marriage, Gretchen has said she hopes to give him a daughter, "It would be really fun to have a girl. She would be such a daddy's girl."
Watch Gretchen's epic proposal to Slade
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