Truth: Jamie Otis and Doug Hehner’s enduring marriage is proof that getting married within minutes of meeting is a sure-fire way to live happily ever after.
Okay, so that might not work for everyone, but it did do the trick for the expectant pair who wed on Married at First Sight back in 2014.
Since then, the couple has been through blissful times — as noted in their vow renewal ceremony in 2015 — and difficult moments, as evidenced in July 2016, when the pair announced they had experienced a loss after confirming their pregnancy news only a few months earlier.
Now, Jamie and Doug are focusing their energy on a new chapter of their lives: the impending arrival of their baby, a sign they took from their son Johnathan Edward, whom they lost in the summer.
“As I sat there on the toilet staring at a plastic device I had just peed on [I] whispered up to our little Johnny how much I love him and will always love him … and I thanked him for this sweet, sweet gift he gave us,” Jamie wrote in a blog post.
Here, we’re taking a look back at Jamie and Doug’s heart-warming love story, from the moment they said “I do” to their pregnancy announcement.
A NEW REALITY
Prior to appearing on Married at First Sight, Jamie appeared on season 16 of The Bachelor, where she went up against a slew of other women to win Ben Flajnik’s heart. While Jamie didn’t make it to the end of the show, she did try out for season 1 of FYI’s Married at First Sight — which she almost wasn’t a part of, according to the show’s resident sex educator, Dr. Logan Levkoff.
“I am the first to admit that before I met Jamie, I said ‘I don’t want to meet her. I don’t want someone who’s ever been on reality TV before. This is not that,’ ” Dr. Levkoff recalled to Vulture. So, what changed?
“She came in the room to meet with me and I was very cynical going into it, and I fell madly in love with her,” Dr. Levkoff said of her and Jamie’s first encounter. “I looked at the rest of the team and we all sort of had the same reaction … We really believed she wanted to find love. And if you think about the journey she’s been on to find love, you have to really want it to have done all those things.”
JAMIE & DOUG MEET AT THE ALTAR
The premise of Married at First Sight is quite literal: A team of experts get together and match couples based on participants’ lengthy filled-out questionnaires. While viewers get a sense of the participants on Married at First Sight, the individuals themselves don’t get to meet until their wedding day.
What was supposed to be a joyous occasion became one filled with regret for Jamie, who admitted to not feeling chemistry with her soon-to-be husband.
“Obviously I wasn’t like ‘What a knockout!’ … I just happened to be not attracted to the guy,” Jamie said during their wedding scene.
That soon changed when Jamie and Doug went through with tying the knot, eventually falling in love a few months later.
A SECOND CEREMONY
After a year of marriage, Jamie and Doug made it official once more with a vow renewal. The couple, who starred in their own spin-off titled The First Year and subsequent YouTube channel, celebrated with a much more intimate ceremony the second time around.
“For some reason we both took a leap of faith and we responded to a random phone call. If that phone call came a month or two earlier or a month or two later, we wouldn’t be here,” Doug recited to Jamie as the two faced each other on the beach.
“Our journey began a year ago when we said ‘I do’ as strangers at the altar,” Jamie said to Doug, reading her vows aloud. “What I didn’t know then was that I just met the most amazing, kind, patient and handsome man.”
Not only did Doug get to propose on his own terms the second time around, Jamie also surprised her husband on their 1-year anniversary.
“In this little tiny box, I had this paper from the security office saying, ‘Jamie Nicole Hehner,’ ” she told PEOPLE of revealing her name change to Doug on their first anniversary. “At the very end of all the gifts, I handed it to him and said, ‘I have this one last gift. He cried. I cried.’ ”
… AND THEN COMES BABY
Two months after their vow renewal, Jamie and Doug announced they were expecting their first child together “It feels like we’re just now truly starting our lives together,” Doug told PEOPLE. “It’s the icing on the cake for us to be starting our family and we’re absolutely over the moon.”
A DEEP LOSS
Less than two weeks after announcing their happy news in July 2016, Jamie and Doug opened up about the loss of their son. “Not a day goes by that I don’t wake up thinking of you, Baby Hehner. I know I have to get back to ‘normal life’ but I just don’t know how to,” Jamie captioned two sweet photos from her pregnancy photoshoot with husband.
A close friend of the couple told PEOPLE that “Jamie is the strongest woman I know. And Doug has remained her rock through everything. Their love will get them through this.”
Six months after the loss of their son — when Jamie was four months along— the married couple announced they were expecting. They found out on what was supposed to be baby Johnathan’s due date.
“This news couldn’t have come on a better day. I was due to have our sweet first born son, Johnathan, on December 20th,” Jamie wrote in a blog post. “The feeling of mourning our loss and being excited for this new miracle was all consuming.”
“I’d be lying if I didn’t add that we are also a bit fearful of losing our sweet little peanut, but we are choosing happiness and excitement over fear,” she candidly added.
RELATED VIDEO: Jamie Otis & Doug Hehner Reflect on Life After ‘Married at First Sight’
The couple confirmed to PEOPLE that they are expecting a baby girl. Though Otis is thrilled to just be having a healthy pregnancy, “I’ve always wanted to have that mother-daughter relationship that I kind of missed out on with my mom,” said the 30-year-old reality star, who opened up about her difficult relationship with her mother in her memoir Wifey 101. “I secretly hoped to be a mommy to a little girl and to have a little mini me.”
Added Hehner: “Every one of my guy friends say there is this unexplained special bond that happens with a daughter. They don’t know what it is, but it’s an amazing feeling, and I cannot wait.”
CELEBRATING THEIR LITTLE GIRL
The Married at First Sight alum was thrown a surprise baby shower by her sister-in-law Kerri-Ann Hehner. Surrounded by the most important women in her life — including her mother-in-law, sisters and sisters-in-law — the reality star played games with her guests, tucked into cupcakes and opened presents at La Dolce Vita restaurant in New Jersey. “Our little girl is so loved,” Otis told PEOPLE exclusively.