It took eight years of trying for Rich in Faith stars Rich Wilkerson Jr. and his wife DawnCheré to become pregnant — and now they’re entering the final days of the long-awaited birth of their first son.
The Wilkersons, who rose to prominence after Rich officiated the 2014 wedding of Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West, lead Vous Church in Miami. After the Kardiashian/West wedding, the Wilkersons starred in Rich in Faith, a reality show that chronicled their lives and ministry.
But despite their seemingly perfect exterior, the Wilkersons were struggling with infertility.
“I was told on my twenty fifth birthday by my doctor that we would have trouble conceiving,” DawnCheré tells PEOPLE. “I honestly thought the doctor was wrong. I never dreamed it would take eight years before we heard the words, ‘You’re pregnant.’ “
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The long wait caused its strains on the couple, who documented their desire to become parents on the show.
“Waiting isn’t easy but it doesn’t have to destroy your marriage.” Rich tells PEOPLE. “We never made our relationship center around having a child.”
“We had a lot of time where we wondered if it was going to happen,” he continues. “There were a lot of disappointments along the way. We had to learn to deal with the setbacks, which was really hard.”
During the long wait, Rich wrote his second book, Friend of Sinners, which is the follow-up to his first bestseller, Sandcastle Kings. (Kanye West famously designed the cover of Wilkerson’s first book.)
“The book talks about how God wants a relationship with you, rather than for you to be perfect,” he says.
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When the Wilkersons found out they were expecting a baby, Rich had just turned in his book manuscript. “I had to do some quick editing,” he says. “In the book, I had said things like, ‘I have no kids’ and ‘maybe it’ll happen someday.’ That all needed to be changed! But I was so thrilled to do that.”
With the excruciating wait behind them, both Rich and DawnCheré are happy that things turned out as they did.
“Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing,” says DawnCheré. “Rich and I have both grown in our faith and grown together through this struggle in ways we never would have otherwise. We came to a place where we realized that whether we had a child or not, we would choose to live lives of joy and purpose.”
“I’ve been far more concerned with soaking up the moment than planning the perfect nursery decor or shower theme,” she says. “We’ve been given a gift and I want to enjoy it with those we love. Our hearts are so grateful to God. No rushing ahead; every step is a beautiful miracle.”