Ladies of London‘s Marissa Hermer is still very much in the midst of baby bliss with her 6-month-old daughter Sadie, but the season 3 premiere shows a vulnerable side of the American-born British restaurateur, who was forced to enter the hospital two months before her due date to induce labor after complications left her bed-ridden for much of her pregnancy.
Before the new season kicked off, the mom of three chatted with PEOPLE about why she chose to show her risky delivery on the show, reveals that she wrote heartfelt, just-in-case letters to her husband Matt and two sons —Max, 4, and Jake, 2 — before she was induced, and shares how her two boys are stepping up as big brothers to Sadie.
What an emotional moment we saw for you and in the premiere — you and Matt both seemed very worried! Why did you decide to share such a raw moment?
I think we started filming like the end of April, and Sadie was born April 21, so that was just part of my life. There’s nice bits to my life and, like anyone, some really tricky parts. We were blessed with a beautiful baby girl, but it didn’t come without it’s challenges.
It was a very scary time for us even before Sadie’s delivery date. From the beginning of the pregnancy, it was a very rocky road. I was told I’d be having a miscarriage twice actually. I was in and out of hospitals bleeding, on bed rest, potentially hemorrhaging at certain times …. [When it came time to have Sadie] we didn’t know how the day was going to go. We had a very large surgical team, including a surgeon who had flown in from Aleppo to manage my blood loss — he’s a vascular expert on battlefields basically. He needed to be called in because they thought I was going to lose an extraordinary amount of blood, and they just needed to manage that. So it was a very scary, touch-and-go time.
This sounds very weird, and I’m not a particularly religious person, but I believe in TV and I believe in happy endings, and I almost at some level thought, “Well, we’re going to be okay because Bravo, at the end, is going to make everything okay because you always end up on a high note on these TV shows. Nothing’s gonna go wrong!” Obviously that doesn’t make any sense at all because that’s not how the world works, but I did sometimes during this process almost believe in TV, like, “It’s going to be okay because nothing that terrible can be on TV.” It worked out okay! We got there in the end.
Were there moments when you maybe thought it was too real?
Certainly. The delivery and a hysterectomy turned into a five-hour operation. The next day I was in the ICU and I started hemorrhaging again internally, and they actually had to bring me back into the theater for another three-hour operation. You don’t see on the show that, when I started hemorrhaging again, it was very touch-and-go. I was in the ICU for another three days, and you don’t see that because they don’t allow cameras in the ICU.
The amount of surgery that I had was incredibly painful and because I kept hemorrhaging I couldn’t be on a basic pain killer. I was only on morphine. I wasn’t prepared, nor was my husband. It was difficult for even Matt to be there [seeing me like that]. Having fallen into that much pain, I couldn’t even get the words out. And so at that point, Matt and I said, “We cannot film right now” because I was literally putting my pieces back together. I hadn’t slept in days. I’d had two very traumatic surgeries. I lost an incredible amount of blood. The production team was incredibly supportive of all of that, and I think they came in after I had been out of the ward at the ICU for a day or two, and I felt like a different person. I felt like I could see the light again after being like in hell.
It must have been so scary too because you have two boys, they’re still quite young and you’re being taken away from them for days at a time.
They were incredible throughout the entire process. I was in and out of the hospital so much through the nine months, they got used to it. It became a new normal for us. But I was ultimately in the hospital for two weeks with Sadie, and that seemed like a very long time. Going in, though, I was faced with a life-or-death situation and, not knowing what was going to happen in the next four to five hours, I was up all night and I wrote letters to my family — “in the event of my death ….” And that’s a very real, scary thing to go through. It changes a person. it changed me. It was pretty real. It was not nice, it was a tough time.
How much will we see of those first moments when you bring Sadie home on the show?
[You’ll see] what every new mom goes through … I think I’m breastfeeding in every episode. Just a warning to all the viewers: You’re gonna see a lot of that. [Laughs] I mean honestly, that’s what you do. When you’re breastfeeding and pumping, any mother who has to do this for a long period of time, deserves a medal in my mind. It’s so time-consuming and so difficult and exhausting. And then trying to manage your life, being a mother to two other children, being a wife — it’s a tough time in any family’s life. Still, it just astounds me how you just blink and you have three children. It’s amazing. It’s wonderful.
And how are your sons with Sadie?
Both boys actually adore Sadie, they don’t have that sibling rivalry yet. She’s an easy baby. She’s happy and she’s at that sweet phase now where she’s just cooing and giggling. The other day Max was with his godmother, who reported back to me that they asked him what he wants to do when he grows up, and Max said, “It’s going to be my job to protect my baby sister,” which is very sweet. Max kisses and cuddles her all the time, and I cannot get him out the door because he just wants to snuggle. Jake is very protective of her. When Sadie first came to the house and we’d have visitors come over, Jake would sort of stand between Sadie and the visitors — which is hilarious because he’s a little nugget himself. He kind of stands her guard by her little bassinet.
That’s good that they’re taking their job as big brothers very seriously.
Yes they are. Very seriously.
Ladies of London airs Tuesdays (10 p.m. ET) on Bravo.