Jamie Otis and Doug Hehner, stars of the hit reality series Married at First Sight, shared their experiences in quarantine during an exclusive interview with Heavy ahead of the premiere of Married at First Sight: Couples’ Cam, which airs this Wednesday, May 20 on Lifetime.
The reality couple opened up about the hardships they’ve had to face over the last few months while self-isolating during the COVID-19 pandemic, including planning a home birth for their son Hendrix, who was born on May 14.
Jamie also shared some insight into their experiences with the MAFS experiment, a few heartwarming stories on how they’ve been passing the time in quarantine, and some advice to anybody who might be considering applying to be on a future season of the show. Keep reading for details:
Jamie & Doug Planned a Home Birth For Their Son Hendrix Due to COVID Concerns
Due to the continuous spread of the COVID epidemic across the globe, Jamie and Doug were forced to find an alternative birthing plan for their son Hendrix, who they welcomed to the world last Thursday. Jamie noted that a home birth was never something they would have considered prior to a global pandemic, but they weighed the options and felt like having Hendrix at home was the safest way to go.
“We live in New Jersey – just outside NYC – the epicenter of COVID19,” Jamie shared with Heavy. “I’m a labor and delivery nurse and some colleagues had told me that nurses on the unit were catching the virus no matter how safe they were trying to be. That really scared me – not for myself, but for my newborn. How would he react if he caught COVID-19? OR, if I caught it and had to be kept away from him for two weeks – how could I do that?!”
She continued, “We researched and decided a home birth would be the best option for our family. This is something I would have never, ever considered prior to this pandemic, but now I am very excited to deliver my son in my home in the tub.”
It’s worth noting that Jamie and Doug have already welcomed their baby boy to the world, shortly before this article was posted. Hendrix Douglas Hehner was born in their home on Thursday, May 14, with the help of a midwife and a doula. He is as healthy as can be! Check out the sweet family photos above, courtesy of Jamie’s Instagram page.
Being in the Last Stages of Pregnancy During Quarantine Was Difficult but Rewarding, According to Jamie
Although Jamie noted how difficult it was to be quarantined with a toddler during the last stages of her pregnancy, she emphasized how rewarding the experience was, despite the stress.
“It definitely has helped both Doug and myself bond with our daughter,” Jamie shared. “My husband and I are often on the go. I never realized just how much we busy ourselves until we were forced to stay home. I am soaking up every last moment of us being a family of three and the quality time we are able to have all day every day with our daughter. The silver lining for me with this pandemic is that I learned how important it is to slow down and soak up the moments because they are fleeting.”
When asked if isolation brought her and Doug closer together, she said that it was challenging, as they were both working full time and she was in the last few weeks of her pregnancy. However, quarantine helped them bond with their daughter on a level she didn’t think they’d get to have without a government-mandated shutdown.
“As for our relationship, I won’t lie and say we are ‘bonding’ or ‘growing closer’ because truthfully I think my husband may want to up and leave me at any moment now!” Jamie joked. “That being said, I still don’t want to paint the picture that we’re over here filled with rainbows and sunshine while trying to work from home with a toddler in the midst of a pandemic. It definitely has its moments as well, BUT, there’s not a doubt in my mind we wouldn’t have been able to have all this quality time together if the government didn’t force us to stay home.
The reality star added, “I’m not sure when – if ever – we will be able to stay home together like this. It comes at a perfect time for me since I’m so pregnant (due any day now) and will have a newborn during quarantine. For that I am thankful.”
Doug Treated Jamie to a Romantic Anniversary Date While in Quarantine
Although it’s been difficult to find time for romance during quarantine (considering Jamie was in the final stages of her pregnancy and they already have a toddler to chase after), Doug still surprised her with a sweet, romantic date night to celebrate their anniversary.
When asked how they are keeping the romance alive in isolation, Jamie answered, “One way my hubby did surprise me was the week of our anniversary. The actual day had come and gone and I told him I was bummed we completely ignored it. I mean, we barely even kissed that day just because we’ve been so busy working and taking care of our toddler.”
“Then a couple nights later after Gracie went to bed Doug surprised me with a little romantic evening for our 6-year anniversary,” she continued. “He had flower petals scattered and non-alcoholic champagne set up. Then we danced barefoot in our kitchen. That was super nice.”
The Reality Couple Recommends Having NO Expectations if Applying to be on MAFS
As for anybody considering applying to be on future seasons of Married at First Sight, Jamie recommends going into the experiment with NO expectations. That way, the experts can really match you with someone who will accept you for who you are, baggage and all.
“I’d say go into the process being super honest about who you are – the good, the bad, and the ugly,” she told Heavy. “I shared that I came from a trailer park, didn’t know my dad, my mom numbed her pain with drugs, and my siblings were my only ‘real’ family. I didn’t think they’d find a man who would want or love someone with all that baggage.”
She added, “I think because I was so honest about my ‘ugly side’ they were able to find the PERFECT man who would love me just the way I am. I am forever grateful for that. My last piece of advice would be to have NO expectations. You can’t be disappointed if you go into it like that. I was very guarded and had SUPER high expectations. Fortunately, I had a super patient hubby! But I could have easily ruined the best thing that was placed in my lap (a great husband, true family and a loving marriage) if he hadn’t been so patient and understanding with me.”
Jamie also noted how incredible it is to have the first few months of their relationship documented for the rest of their lives, so there are plenty of things to look forward to, despite the uncertainty of marrying a stranger. Although she and Doug had some ups and downs, they feel fortunate to have the early stages of their marriage documented.
“It is absolutely incredible to be able to have footage from such amazing moments in our lives to watch back. THAT makes documenting your life so worth it. I have footage of the first time I laid eyes on my hubby (maybe not the sweetest moment, but it is ours and it’s amazing). I can replay the moments we were first falling in love and when we first met our daughter. Those moments go by so fast and I feel SO FORTUNATE to be able to watch them back.”
As for the exposure MAFS stars get from the show? Jamie said her MAFS family and the “frans” (friend-fans) she’s made since she first appeared on the show are incredible.
“The great thing about being on TV is being able to connect with so many others who have similar upbringings as myself and who have faced similar struggles,
she shared with Heavy. “I call my fans FRANS because they are far more than just fans. They show up on my social media accounts, YouTube page and podcast DAILY sending love and support. They feel like this big extended family. I adore the viewers of MAFS because they truly become just like a distant family. They’re the best!”
Jamie & Doug Are Featured on the Spinoff Series MAFS: Couples’ Cam
Lifetime recently announced a new, self-shot spinoff airing next month, titled Married at First Sight: Couples’ Cam, which features several former, fan-favorite couples as they continue their lives together in the real world. Jamie and Doug will both be featured on the series, alongside several other former MAFS couples.
“Following the couples’ ongoing stories in real time, in the completely raw and self-shot show, the couples invite viewers into their homes via mounted cameras, diary cams and virtual group chats. The series will also feature never-before-seen footage captured by couples, revealing deeply intimate access to their lives, including births of their MAFS babies, and other personal highlights of their lives, since their time on their seasons. The show will also bring the couples together virtually as they discuss their own hopes, dreams and futures,” the press release reads.
Aside from Jamie and Doug, the couples featured in the new series include: Ashley and Anthony (S5), Shawniece and Jephte (S6), Danielle and Bobby (S8), Steph and AJ (S8), Kristine and Keith (S8), Greg and Deonna (S9), Beth and Jamie, and Jessica and Austin (S10).
Married at First Sight: Couples’ Cam premieres Wednesday, May 20 on Lifetime. Click here for more Married at First Sight coverage and updates on the cast.