Gretchen Rossi announced the happy news that she is expecting her first child with longtime love Slade Smiley on Monday, December 17. However, the road to motherhood has been a long and difficult one for Gretchen.
The Real Housewives of Orange County alum underwent her first round of IVF back in 2014, but she lost the 14 embryos right before they were to be transferred. “We were just beyond devastated. I couldn’t even get out of bed because you just go from such a high thinking within the next 24 hours you were going to be pregnant to losing everything and losing 14 embryos," Gretchen said during a recent interview with PEOPLE. "That was really, really hard for me and Slade to come out of that.”
The couple then tried to get pregnant after Slade had his vasectomy reversed at the end of 2015, and after that didn't work, Gretchen started to question whether he was the right man for her. "Why did I think it was a good idea to fall in love with a guy who has a vasectomy knowing full well that I wanted to have children?" she said. “There was a moment there that I questioned if I should stay in the relationship and I have to tell you it was a defining moment for my journey, [my] IVF journey and in also my relationship with Slade.”
A conversation with her mother around her 40th birthday helped Gretchen come to a decision about her future with Slade. “I just realized that I truly am blessed with my relationship with Slade and that anything else shouldn’t matter. It was weird because at that moment, it truly was a defining moment for his and my relationship and the minute that I let that go is the minute that I think our journey really took off. We go to the right doctor and all the doors started opening and just everything started falling in place,” she explained. “I really think that because of that conversation that I had with my mom is part of the reason that we’re pregnant today.”
Rather than tear them apart, all of the challenges Gretchen and Slade have faced on their way to starting a family have brought them closer together. “When you’re having your partner having to shoot you in the ass every morning with the needle and when you’re going through as many shots as you’re going through and mood swings and the ups and the downs and just everything, it definitely bonds you together and brings you back together,” Gretchen shared. “It’s a lot and so for us to be able to survive and get through that together, I’m very proud of that and so happy that we were able to do that... I feel like we’re 100 times closer because of this journey.”
Gretchen and Slade ultimately decided to try to get pregnant through IVF again, and they ended up with two genetically sound embryos after two new rounds. Gretchen underwent the implantation around Slade's 50th birthday in November, and she is now 10 weeks pregnant. "We are beyond ecstatic to finally announce that we are expecting a little bundle of joy!!!!!!" Gretchen recently gushed on Instagram. "Our hearts are so full right now!! It was one of the happiest days of my life when we received the incredible news that I was pregnant!!!"
Gretchen also thanked her fans and loved ones for all of their support throughout this journey. "We could not have gotten through this journey alone without some dear friends and family, and that includes all of my social media family on here! Your stories, your prayers, your encouragement, truly kept us going! So thank you! We more [than] appreciate your loyalty and love for all these years. Your words of wisdom and guidance as we navigated through this difficult journey meant so very much!!" she shared on Instagram. "We are a story of hope and perseverance! Don’t give up! Sending love to all those going through the struggle to conceive, you are not alone, you are heard, and you are loved. God is Good! Believe in Miracles! We feel soooo blessed to have this amazing Christmas Miracle ourselves!!! We just keep pinching ourselves!"
The RHOC couple is due to welcome their bundle of joy in July 2019. Gretchen and Slade will celebrate their 10th anniversary just a few months before that in February 2019.
Look back on Gretchen and Slade's relationship on RHOC, below.