As hospitals across the country continue to increase restrictions on how many people can be in the delivery room during a birth amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, pregnant Jamie Otis and husband Doug Hehner have opted to welcome their son on the way at home.
The Married at First Sight couple — who are already parents to daughter Henley Grace, 2½ — joined PeopleTV in a video chat for “Reality Check,” where they revealed that they have chosen a home birth because “the pros outweighed the cons.”
“You learn in nursing school that the safest place is the hospital to have a baby because then they have everything there handy, God forbid [an emergency] happens last minute,” notes Otis, 33, who is a labor and delivery nurse.
Hehner, 36, says the couple “did a ton of research” on home birth before making their decision, explaining, “The fact that I may or may not be able to be a support person at the delivery in the hospital [and] what do we do with our daughter if I can’t leave the hospital? At least with our house, we know it’s a more controlled environment.”
“The pros … outweighed the cons of everything else,” he adds.
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Despite their decision to welcome their second child at home, Otis says she would “never” push a specific birth experience onto another set of parents-to-be, and instead encourages them along the path of “educating yourself, and finding out what’s best for you and your family.”
She goes on to say that another factor in deciding to opt out of a hospital birth, which she would’ve normally chosen, is not knowing if she’d be able to see her son right after his arrival: “What if my baby contracts it and he’s stuck in a hospital in the midst of this pandemic? … It was just a nightmare.”
Otis and Hehner revealed they are expecting again in September, when the mother-to-be celebrated having a “viable pregnancy” at five weeks along after previously losing their son Johnathan Edward at 17 weeks gestation. They went on to welcome Gracie after the loss, in August 2017. Otis then experienced a chemical pregnancy in 2018, and a miscarriage at 10 weeks along in January 2019.
“I thought having a family would be very easy, so my own misconception about myself was [that] I would be able to have a family very easily,” Otis said last May on the Share Your Shine podcast. “Come to find out, it’s not as easy … and come to find out, one in four women will have these same issues.”
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Otis apologized last month for traveling home from Siesta Key, Florida, with her husband and their daughter amid the ongoing global health crisis.
“During the last few weeks we obvs went to the beach,” she said. “We went to the pool (but found a spot 6ft away from the few others who were there). We took Gracie to the playground but made sure to wash our hands really well after. All along I was risking our family and others without even realizing it.😕”
After Otis shared that she initially thought the coronavirus outbreak “would kinda just blow over like the seasonal flu,” she apologized to her followers for not coming home sooner: “I want to send out a sincere apology to YOU bc by me going out to ‘live as normal as possible’ I was risking YOU and YOUR FAMILY.”
Watch more of Otis and Hehner’s “Reality Check” interview on PeopleTV.
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