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
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It’s wild to think just 3 days ago his whole body was INSIDE my belly.🤯🤰🏼👶🏼🌈 It is so amazing what a woman’s body can do! I mean, us women get one little sperm from a man & then we proceed to grow a tiny HUMAN inside us! …don’t even get me started on how strong we are to birth that tiny human — whether he’s pushed out or cut out, medicated or unmedicated — we are freakin superheroes!🦸🏼♀️ I pushed this little guy out in a tub of water right next to my bed in the middle of my bedroom. After I got him in my arms I got out of the tub with the placenta still inside me & attached to him, climbed up on my bed, delivered my placenta and got stitched up while my son snuggled on my chest.🤱🏻 I kinda felt like a bad-azz super mama for a hot second! 💪🏼 ….Until the fourth trimester hit me like a ton of bricks!😳 Ahh, the adrenaline soon ran out!😭 My vagina’s on fire, my butt feels like it exploded, and my nipples are back to being cracked and bleeding from nursing 🤷🏼♀️ (didn’t really expect this one since I nursed Gracie for a full year).🤪 Still, I wouldn’t change *any* of this journey. I feel so BLESSED to get to be a mommy again.🙏🏻 I don’t know what you think, but I def think the fourth trimester is the hardest trimester… physically, mentally, & emotionally! If anyone has tips to make it easier I’ll take ‘em! I’ve done this before but I’m wide open to learning/trying something new to heal faster!💪🏼 And total side note, but Doug and I have a huge announcement we want to share with you – our FRANS – first! We will be LIVE tomorrow right here on my Instagram at 7:30pm EST. Can’t wait to see you, share our news, and chat for a few minutes!💗 Another side note: that second pic Gracie came running up, kissed his foot, hugged me and then ran away 😭 Doug snapped the pic while I was saying “awwww!!!”🥰 She is such a sweetheart!☺️
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
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I TESTED NEGATIVE FOR COVID19 🙏🏻 OUR HOME BIRTH PLAN IS OFFICIALLY A GO👏🏻 *AND* WE’RE GOING LIVE FOR IT🤰🏼👶🏼🌈 …whenever Hayes decides to come, that is!🤪 Aaand, this dress was meant for our maternity shoot on the beach🤦🏼♀️🤣 I didn’t want to miss out on getting beautiful photos of my full term baby in my belly so we made it happen in our back yard – never mind Doug’s outgrown hair & my bra strap hangin’ out!🤦🏼♀️ Clearly not a “professional” shoot but I love it just the same!🥰 So many keep asking what my test results came back as & if we still plan a home birth…I’m so thankful I tested negative for covid19🙏🏻 My heart breaks to pieces when I hear about the moms (and sometimes dads too) who have had to separate from their newborns bc they test positive. I can’t even begin to imagine.💔 Since we got home from Florida I’ve seen my same four walls daily. I’m not messing around! I don’t leave & I don’t plan on leaving even now that things are beginning to slowly open. Call me crazy, but I’m not taking any chances.🙅🏼♀️🤣 I’m so thankful I’ve made it to full term (He’s due Monday, 5/11!) & I’ve been able to fully prepare for my home birth!🤰🏼If you saw my stories you’ll see the tub where I’m hoping to deliver sweet baby Hayes is 100% set up & ready in my bedroom!🤗 Now we are patiently – er, impatiently!!! – waiting for him to come!☺️ If you wanna hang w me during labor & keep me company please join me live here on my Instagram!👯♀️ Maybe you can help keep my mind off the painful contractions since I won’t be able to have any pain relief … I’ll need all the help I can get!🤪 Turn your notifications on so I don’t miss out on your company!🥰 OH! And I made Doug go through a contraction simulation so he can FEEL the pain of labor and have empathy for me!🤣 Link in bio to our @hotmarriagecoolparents YouTube channel if you wanna watch!😆
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
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This year we didn’t do anything to celebrate our anniversary bc we are in self quarantine. We didn’t exchange gifts or have anything special planned. It kinda just snuck up on us. • And honestly, it was kind of depressing to let the day go by and not do anything to recognize it. When we went to bed that night I told Doug I wish we had done *something* to celebrate our anniversary. I don’t need fancy gifts or extravagant dates but I mean, we didn’t even eat dinner as a family. To be honest, we barely even kissed all day.🤦🏼♀️ • Sooo you can imagine how shocked I was last night after we put Gracie to bed when Doug told me to “get dressed up for a date!” • I just melt when he does things like this. He’s always thinking outside the box.🥰 • Not gonna lie, it was the first time I brushed my hair and put some lipstick on in a couple days. It felt so good to get dressed up with no where to go…And dance in our bare feet right in our kitchen.☺️ • We’re on day 3 of quarantine now after flying back home and so far NO SYMPTOMS for any of us!🙏🏻 So thankful for that!!!💗 We’re staying tucked away for another 11 days just in case though.👍🏼 Hope you’re staying SANE inside..🤪 So far, so good for us!🥰 • #mafs #marriedatfirstsight #quaratineandchill #selfquarantine #happyanniversary #marriedlife #husbandandwife #anniversarydate #covid19 #coronavirus
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
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Not exactly the happiest looking bride🤦🏼♀️😝 Our love story isn’t a typical one😳 but it’s my FAV.☺️ We were on S1 of Married At First Sight. Kinda cray cray, I know. But I was desperate for true love and a family.🙏🏻 And I knew it was a huge risk. I mean, I didn’t even know my future hubby’s name or what he looked like. The first time I saw him he was at the end of the altar.🤵🏼 I was dressed in my wedding gown all dolled up with something borrowed and something blue walking towards him (totally unattracted😬) … aaaand after we introduced ourselves to each other we hesitantly said, “I do.”👰🏼 • For those of you who’ve seen our little love story unfold I don’t need to explain the beautiful disaster…but for those who are new to it, I can sum it up for ya real fast: I thought I made the WORST decision of my life (pic 3 was a full blown panic attack)😂. I had ZERO feelings for my husband. There were no sparks, no chemistry, NOTHING. Don’t ask me why I thought MAYBE we’d have some sort of instant romance? I wasnt expecting love but maybe just a few butterflies in my tummy. But, nope. Nada!😬 …even writing this now I have to laugh bc who the heck marries a stranger and really expects true love to come out of it?! 🙋🏼♀️😂 • Eventually @doughehner and his smooth talkin, good lookin & super charming ways won me over.🥰 And now almost 6 years later we have a beautiful daughter and one on the way!👧🏼👶🏼🌈 • I learned the lesson “don’t judge a book by its cover” first hand. And that saying, “don’t assume your first impression is the right impression” is true. (Is that a saying? If not, it should be! At least for dating.)😝 • I freaked out on my wedding day bc I didn’t think @doughehner was “my type.”🤦🏼♀️ Turns out, he is the EXACT type I needed and wanted but just didn’t know it yet. There’s no doubt in my mind we are meant to be together.🙏🏻💗 • Sooo if you’re out there looking for love maybe give that blind date you’re refusing or the guy you have “no attraction” to a chance. Who knows, they could be the person you’ve needed and wanted all along.🤷🏼♀️🥰 • #marriedlife #marriedatfirstsight #mafs #datingsucks #marriage #husbandgoals #husbandandwife #hubbylove
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.
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Happy F I V E year vow renewal ANNIVERSARY, @doughehner 👰🏼✨💍 • When we were #marriedatfirstsight (SIX years ago this month!) i was a weeee bit skeptical of my stranger hubby. I thought the experts “failed me.”😬 I *never* could’ve imagined how amazing our lives would’ve turned out.😭🙏🏻💗 …Not amazing like no struggles at all and always rainbows and butterflies — bc that is far from the truth!🤦🏼♀️🤣 — but amazing in the sense that we made it through every struggle that’s been thrown our way!💪🏼☺️ • The most trying and difficult time was losing our first born baby boy, Johnathan.👼🏼 That could have easily broke us since we coped with his loss entirely differently. I couldn’t shower, eat, sleep, or move off the couch. You went to work the very next day. We were so new in our marriage & communication was still such a big issue.😬 • BUT, we slowly made it through that sorrow TOGETHER.🙏🏻💗 …and now we have our beautiful daughter and our little rainbow baby boy on the way.🤰🏼👧🏼👶🏼🌈 • You are my best friend, my rock, and my partner in crime.😉 We’ve been kicked down a few times together, but we keep getting up & become stronger and stronger.🥰 • I love you! I’m so excited to continue celebrating this wild journey of love, parenting, and friendship with you!💗 In four more years we will be planning our 10 year vow renewal celebration…I wonder how many kids we will have by then?!😍 • PS I’m super late posting this, but that’s kinda the story for everything I do now that I’m super pregnant!🤷🏼♀️😂
“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.