Granger Smith Shares How He and Wife Amber Decided to Add to Their Family After Son River's Death

Granger Smith and wife Amber announced this month that they are expecting a baby, nearly two years after the couple's 3-year-old son River tragically died. After sharing their happy news, Granger and Amber discussed Amber's pregnancy in more detail with PEOPLE, sharing that their new baby boy will in no way "replace" River, but rather represent a new chapter for the family.

"We really needed a fresh start," Granger explained. "We didn't need to forget anything — we just needed a new change of pace where we're really re-establishing new roots on a new piece of land with some new neighbors, a new grocery store and a new way to work. And getting us out of the rut that it's easy to get into, especially after the tragedy, where you start driving the same road and you start thinking the same thoughts and you kind of get sucked into the same path."

"We didn't want to stay stuck in our grief where we couldn't grow as people and be the best parents that we can be for London and Lincoln," Amber added. "And while this is, like Granger said, never going to be a replacement, we're doing the best that we can moving forward carrying what we have to carry in this new road that we're walking."

Granger and Amber are also parents to 9-year-old daughter London and 7-year-old son Lincoln. After River was born, Amber had her tubes tied, so the couple turned to in vitro fertilization when they decided they wanted to have another baby. Amber miscarried with the first of the two viable embryos they produced via IVF, but the second one took.

"The craziest thing about this pregnancy, but so hard to understand with our human brains," Granger said, adding that the new arrival "will exist on Earth because another child doesn't. And I haven't completely unpacked that idea." He also shared that "it's so profound to think that as this baby grows and gets older, that everything that he does and that purpose and meaning in his life is because another child was before him that paved the way for that. We'll think about that till the day we die, I'm sure."

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Amber noted that "Because of River's life, this baby is allowed to be here, and without having River, we wouldn't have this baby. So like Granger said, that's really hard to wrap your brain around. But it's almost a gift from River. It's a gift from God, but it's [also] a gift from River's life, and his legacy that this baby is able to be here."