2017 is starting off on a high note for Married at First Sight‘s Jamie Otis and Doug Hehner — the reality stars are expecting a baby later this year.
“Doug and I have been praying and not so patiently waiting to have our rainbow baby since we lost our first born, Johnathan Edward, in July 2016,” Otis, who is due in August, tells PEOPLE exclusively.
“We are feeling so blessed and truly thankful for this little miracle growing inside of me. Being a mother has been a long awaited dream of mine. It goes without saying that Doug is going to be the best daddy ever. We cannot wait to meet Baby Hehner this coming summer!”
“Jamie is excited about the baby now and wants to openly show her excitement now,” a source tells PEOPLE of the couple’s decision to announce the pregnancy early.
“They want to empower women to share their good news earlier than the politically correct 3-month marker. They want their story to inspire others to not be scared to come out with their news even in the first trimester, and not have society dictate a safe time to make baby announcements.”
Last July, Otis, 30 — who found out she was pregnant again on her first baby’s December due date — and Hehner, 33, shared the devastating news on social media that they had lost their son at four months along.
“Our Baby Hehner was just too beautiful for earth. I love him so much — ALWAYS will — and can’t wait to meet him in heaven one day. Please pray for us,” Otis captioned a somber Instagram post.
We are PREGNANT!!! Our sweet Baby Hehner is due this August. Of course I share so much more about our little #rainbowbaby with you all on my blog. (Jamie Otis.com/all-things-Jamie ) @people put the sweetest tribute together for our first born son – Johnathan. We love him so much and are so happy to know he's looking down from Heaven taking care of his little sister/brother. ❤️ Thank you @people, for honoring our first born while we celebrate this amazing miracle.💕 Link in bio. #pregnant #preggers #overjoyed #babylove PS forgive me for my unbuttoned jeans. I'm at that awkward stage where I don't quite fill out maternity jeans but I definitely don't fit in my regular clothes. 🤗🎉🙏🏼😍 #sohappy
At the time, a close friend told PEOPLE the couple’s “love” would get them through the tragedy. “Jamie is the strongest woman I know,” said the friend. “And Doug has remained her rock through everything.”
Before losing her son last year, Otis opened up to PEOPLE about her excitement for motherhood.
“I just envision the mother-daughter relationship,” she said. “I’m just so eager for that, but I hear little boys tend to be mama’s boys, so I’ll take that too!”