It's been two months since Marissa Hermer gave birth to daughter Sadie Ilamae Hermer on April 21, but she's still pinching herself that it actually happened. "I haven't quite gotten my head around it. It's definitely surreal, but it's very sweet. I can't believe we have three kids, and our house is still filled with pink flowers, and we still get pink dresses and outfits coming in the door every day from dear friends who are just spoiling us and her," Marissa told The Daily Dish by phone earlier this month. "It's sort of too good to be true."
Sadie was born weighing five-and-a-half pounds at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London on April 21, which also happens to be the birthday of Queen Elizabeth II. That was quite exciting for the royal family-loving Marissa.
Unfortunately, the Ladies of London restaurateur's pregnancy was a struggle from start to finish. Marissa was diagnosed with placenta accreta, which occurs when the placenta remains firmly attached to the uterine wall, and it made her pregnancy "very high risk," she revealed to The Daily Dish last February. She also had a condition that could cause bleeding and possibly hemorrhaging at any moment. Because of that, Marissa said she "was in and out of hospital" and on bed rest throughout her pregnancy.
Marissa's medical team also thought at one point that they might have to deliver her daughter at 26 or 27 weeks. Luckily, Marissa was able to deliver Sadie when she was 34 weeks' pregnant, but it wasn't exactly smooth sailing once it came time to give birth, either.
With placenta accreta, the placenta is unable to be removed from the mother's womb, so after Marissa's C-section, she her womb had to be completely removed through a hysterectomy. The five-hour surgery resulted in a lot of blood loss for Marissa. "I think I lost over twice my body weight in blood or something ridiculous," she said.
The doctors were prepared for that, and Marissa went in for another two-hour surgery the following day to ensure the hemorrhaging had stopped. She was then put into the ICU for a few days before being moved to a private ward where she spent the rest of her hospital stay.
While all of this was going on, Marissa said she wasn't as concerned about her own wellbeing as she was about Sadie's and that of everyone else in her family. "I was more worried about her. I think mothers have this instinct," she said. "I was worried about my husband, what he would be doing, pacing. It's sort of a very emotional, scary time for him. And when I was in surgery for so long, I'm more worried about how he's going to deal with that. And I'm worried about the kids, the boys at home, how they're doing. You don't worry about yourself so much as a mom; you worry about other people."
Sadie also faced her own set of challenges after she was born. She was placed into the neonatal ICU for 10 days, where she was put on oxygen and a feeding tube.
Needless to say, Marissa and Sadie's homecoming was incredibly joyous. "Once I got her out of neonatal, once I got home, and I could sort of get back to myself a little bit, it's a huge relief," she explained. "My doctors didn't want me to stand more than five minutes while I was pregnant, really, for nine months, and being able to have that freedom to walk around the corner, you know, all of that stuff is like, 'Oh my God.' Now, six weeks later, it feels totally normal. I'm not as excited about it. But then, it was like, I'm free."
Marissa said she and husband Matt Hermer "were so nervous" about how the pregnancy was going to go that they didn't decide on a name for Sadie until about four days after she was born. However, it's a moniker that has been well-known to the Hermer family for quite some time. "So Sadie is actually Matt's grandmother's name. When I met Matt's mum or I was at his house, his mother's house, she was showing me some old family pictures and pointed out who Sadie was, and I sort of earmarked that name if we ever had a girl," Marissa said. "I just loved it. I haven't heard a lot of Sadies. It's a very sweet name."
Sadie's middle name, Ilamae, also has a long history in Marissa's family. It's a combination of Marissa's great-grandmothers' names (Ila and Mae), and it was also her grandmother's name and is her middle name.
Sadie's birth announcement.
Not only was Marissa's pregnancy stressful for herself, but it also took a toll on Matt. "He was sort of attached to his phone for nine months while I was pregnant. In fact, if he wasn't with me, and he would get a phone call from me, he would panic that I would say, 'I'm bleeding. We've got to get into hospital right now,'" Marissa said. "That distress, not having that, is such a relief, and you sort of don't really realize the pressure you're under until you don't have it anymore."
Marissa's pregnancy was also hard on her sons, Max, 4, and Jake, 2. "It's hard to explain to young children why you have to stay in bed the whole time. And as a result, the boys were saying a lot of like, 'I'm gonna throw the baby out the window.' And, 'I'm gonna chop off her head.' Like, really charming things," Marissa said sarcastically. "But as soon as I walked in the door with her back from the hospital, it was all, 'I love you' and kisses and cuddles. Jake just wants to hold her the whole time. It's so sweet. They're absolutely in love."
Marissa said she has come to terms with not being able to have anymore children after her hysterectomy. "Matt didn't really want to have more than three. He wanted three, but he didn't want more. I sort of thought I would sneak a fourth child past him, sort of like an accident. That was my plan, you know, our mistake that was never really a mistake on my end," she joked. "But at this point, I'm not sad that I can't have any more children. It was such a physical, emotional ordeal."
The fact that Sadie is Marissa and Matt's last child has given her birth a whole new meaning. "You sort of just want to soak up all the moments," Marissa gushed. "They're so precious."
Marissa has had some help from her Ladies of London castmates in doing so. "Julie Montagu and Sophie Stanbury and Luke [Henderson] have all spoiled me with presents, really cute, little, girly dresses. Really sweet," she said.
Now Marissa's next challenge is raising three young kids while writing a cookbook and opening up a new Top Dog Diner location. "I mean, it's insane. I'm really tired the whole time," Marissa said of juggling her work and family responsibilities. "People ask me how I balance it. I'm like, there's absolutely no balance at all. You sort of walk a tightrope."
And that means focusing on the biggest emergency at the time. "So whether it's which child needs the attention or husband or work or project, you know, that gets my focus. So it's not like 50 percent here and 25 percent here and 25 percent here; it's like, whatever needs the most attention gets it then," she explained. "So I don't know how I do it. I'm really tired, I'm not getting enough sleep, and it's a lot."
But, Marissa admits, "I wouldn't have it any other way, that's for sure."
See more adorable pics of Marissa and the rest of the Hermer crew through the years, below.