After losing their son — whom the couple named Johnathan Edward — four months into Otis’ pregnancy last summer, the reality star “went into a deep depression,” she tells PEOPLE exclusively. “I just couldn’t imagine ever being truly happy again.”
Even now, “I still have my moments,” adds Otis, who began trying for another baby with Hehner shortly after losing their son. “Every month I’d take test after test. It was such a vicious cycle.”
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“I’m not usually superstitious, but I definitely think Henley was a gift from her big brother,” says Otis, 31. “I was so miserable during the holidays because I was supposed to be bringing him home by mid-December.”
“I felt like there was a big hole in my heart and I dreaded having to wake up on his due date,” she admits.
Now back home with baby Henley, the new parents are knee-deep in dirty diapers and bonding with their little girl.
“Everything’s come naturally so far,” says Hehner, 34. “I never changed a diaper in my life or swaddled [a baby]. [It’s amazing] how quickly instinct takes over. My first time holding Henley, I couldn’t believe how much love I had for her in such a short amount of time.”
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The couple’s bond with each other has only strengthened after welcoming their daughter, and “I feel like the luckiest guy in the world,” says Hehner. “The way Jamie handled herself through the pregnancy, labor and post-labor is amazing. She’s the strongest person I know.”
Adds Otis, “Watching Doug dote on Henley makes me gush inside, and he’s so attentive and caring to me, too. I’ve never been more in love with him!”
Looking back on their “unbelievable” journey — the couple met for the first time as Otis walked down the aisle towards Hehner on Lifetime’s hit show — is “so funny,” says Otis.
For all the photos and details on Jamie Otis and Doug Hehner’s baby girl, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.