Baby on the Way for Devon Still and Wife Five Years After His Daughter Leah's Cancer Diagnosis
The couple's exciting news comes five years after Devon Still's daughter Leah was diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma
The former NFL player, 29, and his wife, who have been married since 2016, are expecting their first child together, PEOPLE can exclusively confirm.
“We’ve been waiting for this moment, so we’re overjoyed right now!” Asha, 29, tells PEOPLE.
The exciting news was a long time coming for the pair, who have experienced several trials and tribulations in the last few years of being together. Nearly five years ago, in June 2014, Devon’s daughter Leah was diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma.
At the time, the athlete famously stepped away from the NFL to care for his little girl, but was resigned to the Cincinnati Bengals’ practice team so he could keep his health insurance for Leah’s cancer treatments.
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But now, it appears those gray skies are behind them. In addition to having a baby on the way, Leah, now 8 years old, has been in remission since 2015 and is on track to officially be cancer-free by 2020.
“Because of the health scare with Leah, that’s what made us put off [having kids for] so long since our wedding. Her cancer diagnosis really flipped our world upside down and a lot of things were chaotic in our everyday struggles,” Devon shares. “I honestly was scared to have another kid because of what happened to Leah.”
“Making that decision to go ahead and try to get pregnant was a big decision so we’re glad we were able to make it over those humps to make it happen,” he adds.
The couple first discovered that Asha was pregnant this past January. After struggling to conceive for months, they turned to the Clearblue Connected Ovulation Test System to help her effectively track her cycle.
“Initially, we were trying for a few months and we weren’t making our mark,” she shares, noting that they considered several options, including fertility clinics, before stumbling on Clearblue. “Being able to track my cycle from day to day and to get those results that I was at my peak fertility, that’s exactly what we needed.”
When the time came for Asha to take a pregnancy test, Devon says he wanted to be the one to look at the results first — and it was completely worth it.
“When I walked into the bathroom and looked at the test, I was shocked,” he reveals. “I broke down crying because not only did Asha want this really bad, but so did I and it was finally time.”
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In the time since that day, the couple told “super excited” big sister Leah, but have decided to wait until Asha delivers the baby to find out the sex.
“The biggest thing for us is not gender, but just having a healthy baby,” Devon tells PEOPLE, as his wife adds adds, “We want to embrace that moment and find out right when I deliver; it’ll be very emotional.”
As for potential names, Asha is hoping to have a Devon Jr. if it’s a boy but the athlete is not quite sure if he’s on board with that idea yet.
“For me, it’s tough. I think every man wants to have that junior and wants somebody to carry their name, but I also want my son to be able to create a name for his own self,” he explains.
“If Asha wants a junior, then I’m not gonna argue with my wife because I know that she runs the household,” he jokes.
Leah, on the other hand, already has her mind made up about her younger sibling’s preferred name and sex.
“She wants a sister named Michelle. She wants to be a big sister,” Devon shares, adding, “She wants to name her Michelle either because of Michelle Obama or because of [Michelle Tanner from] Full House.”
Regardless of whether it’s a boy or girl, the pair are looking forward to moving on from their past struggles and embracing every moment with their family’s newest addition.
“We’ve been through a lot of trials and tribulations so now with the dust settling, everything being brighter, and Leah being healthier, we can focus on enjoying our life now,” Asha says. “I’m looking forward to the better days.”
Adds Devon, “There was a time in our life that we were scared that we weren’t gonna have more time with Leah and maybe we had taken that time for granted previously. So now we just want to make sure that we enjoy each and every moment of this child’s birth and raising this child.”
“It means everything to me and I know it means everything to Asha,” he continues. “We’re looking forward to joining as a union — me, Asha, Leah and our new child — creating new memories for the rest of our lives.”