New parents Jenn Brown and Wes Chatham welcomed their first child, son Nash, in November 2014. Although their baby boy was due end of December, “Nash had other plans,” the America Ninja Warrior host, 34, tells Celebrity Baby Scoop.
The new mom and her Hunger Games star husband, 36, open up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about the their thriving baby boy, who is “always smiling and laughing.” Jenn goes on to share her must-have baby items, and Wes talks about missing his son’s birth, which he admits was “probably the most helpless I’ve ever felt in my life.”
Continue reading our exclusive interview with Jenn Brown and Wes Chatham…
CBS: Congratulations on the arrival of your son John Nash! How is baby Nash doing? What kind of baby is he?
JB: “Thank you. Nash is doing great. He just turned 6 months old! I can’t believe how big he’s gotten. It seems like everyday he’s doing something new. He’s definitely a very happy baby. When we had the 4D ultrasounds when I was pregnant, he was always smiling in the pictures, and that is the case now, too. He’s always smiling and laughing.”
CBS: How has motherhood been so far? What are some of the greatest joys? The biggest challenges?
JB: “I really enjoy being a mom. I never knew you could have so much love for one person until I had Nash. If I have a difficult day or something is bothering me, I can come home and the little guy will just smile at me and it makes me forget about everything. It really puts things into perspective.
I’d say the biggest challenges has been the lack of sleep. I know it’s something that everyone deals with as new parents, but Wes was filming in Canada for the 4 months after Nash was born and I had to tackle the nights by myself for the most part. I’ve had some help from our moms and friends, but nights are tough. It’s still a work in progress when it comes to Nash sleeping through the night, but now that Wes is back, it’s been much easier.”
CBS: Tell us about your must-have baby items so far.
JB: “It’s crazy how many things you think you ‘need’ when it comes to baby items. You should see our house — I feel like we are a baby store. I’ve joked with my friends that I have placed more 2 a.m. Amazon purchases because I was reading some baby blog while I was feeding Nash in the middle of the night.
There are some great items that I really have come to love. Now I’m not sure if this is exactly a baby product, but I love my Belly Bandit. It came recommend to me from a friend and I swear by it.
I have a POSH Mommy necklace that I got with Nash’s name and birthday on it and they also make cute dog tags that I gave Wes for Christmas that he wears everyday.
I have an Orbit Stroller, which I love. The entire system is so great and I love the 360 swivel design.
I have quite the shoes collection and I’m finding that Nash is starting to acquire quite the collection as well. He has the cutest pair of these orange and blue Stride Rite shoes that I can’t wait for Nash to wear on Saturdays for the Gator games.
For the first few months I put Nash in the Halo Bassinest. This was great because I was able to put him right next to the bed and it made getting in and out of the bed super easy. Now he’s moved on into his Newport Cottages Crib because he is rolling up a storm and needed the extra space.”
CBS: We hear Nash arrived 5 and a half weeks premature. How is he doing? Did he spend some time in the NICU? Did this affect your breastfeeding? If so, how is breastfeeding and/or pumping going now?
JB: “Yes, it was a complete surprise when Nash decided to come early. Wes had literally gotten on a plane to go back to Canada after the Mockingay premiere on Saturday and my water broke on Sunday. To say I was not prepared would be an understatement. I hadn’t read any books on birth or really taken any classes. I remember sitting in the hospital googling breathing techniques.
The delivery went well with no problems, but they did decide to keep Nash in the NICU for 3 days to monitor him. He got to come home on Thanksgiving, which, of course, gave us something else to be thankful for. Because Nash was in the NICU, it made breastfeeding a bit of a challenge. He also had trouble latching on because he was a premie so I ended up pumping a ton. He eventually did get strong enough to latch on, but it took several months.
Once I went back to work, it certainly made for some fun stories of places I was pumping. I think the best one so far is in the bathroom of the football practice field for the University of Wisconsin. I was there for Melvin Gordon’s Pro Day reporting for NFL, and I thought everyone had left. I was waiting for my ride to the airport, so I decided to sneak into the bathroom to pump. Then, all of a sudden I hear loud music playing and someone was knocking on the door. Turns out there was a few players getting in an extra workout. They didn’t mind waiting, I have no idea if they knew what I was doing in there — but hey, a kid has to eat [laughs].”
CBS: Why did Nash arrive so early? Did you have some complications during your pregnancy, or was this a total surprise? How much did he weigh? Tell us your birth story. Looking back, was his birth a joyful memory, or was it traumatic to give birth so early?
JB: “I’m not sure why Nash came early, like I said, it caught all of us by surprise. The week before my water broke I had gone to the doctor and they decided they wanted to do some weekly monitoring with stress tests, not for anything serious, but they just wanted to monitor some things that were elevated. I was actually supposed to start those tests on Monday (the day Nash was born).
I was at my house on Sunday night getting ready for bed when my water broke. I had no idea what it was at first, I thought I had peed on myself. I think that movies have made the whole water breaking scene a little misleading because you think that when your water breaks, it’s just one gush and that’s it. Well, for those of you that have never had it happen, your water breaks, and it keeps coming and coming!
Wes was in Canada, so I called my best friend Jami who came over and drove me to Cedars. I was having contractions, but not feeling them, so my doctor said she would come in the morning. I remember her telling me to get some sleep and I was like, ‘Right, that’s going to be easy.’ I was on the phone with Wes — we were trying to find a flight to get him home and he was trying to get ahold of the line producer for his show.
It was, I think, 3 in the morning at this point in Canada. Wes ended up having to shoot a scene in the morning and then jumped on the first plane he could. I remember thinking that, of course, Wes would make it back in time. That this was my first pregnancy and you always hear that it can take hours. Well, Nash had other plans.
As Wes was walking onto the plane is when my doctor finally decided to check to see how dilated I was. They had decided to wait to not risk infection and I remember my doctor saying, ‘Oh-oh,’ after she checked. And I just looked at her. She said, “You are 10 cm. dilated.” And I asked, ‘What does that mean?’ She said, “It means, you are going to have to start pushing now.’
Wes was devastated, to say the least. We actually were going to try skyping him in, but the plane didn’t have Wi-Fi. It took 45 minutes of pushing, and Nash was here. I have to say I never was scared through the whole process. Although he was coming early, the staff at Cedars and my doctor Michelle Hakakha made me feel so comfortable and I never was worried. His birth was beautiful and something I will always remember.
Nash weighed 5 lbs. 3 oz. when he was born and was 19 inches long. I think it’s fair to say that he’s more than caught up. I think he weighs almost 18 lbs. now.”
CBS: We enjoyed your coverage at the Super Bowl! Was it hard to return to work so early? So no maternity leave for you? Or are you on working sporadically at this point? What’s up next for you?
JB: “Yes, getting back to work came quickly. I actually hosted a show for the UFC the 4 days before Nash was born, and I hosted a show for them 3 weeks after he was born. The NFL has been great with my work schedule. I did have a maternity leave but I told them I was ready to come back early. They eased me into it and it was great.
When I flew to cover the Seahawks for the Super Bowl, I brought my mom with and she hung in the hotel with Nash. My mom has been the best grandma/babysitter. She’s been traveling with me to help take care of Nash while I’m working. I just recently finished coverage for the Draft for the NFL and we have OTA’s and Training Camps coming up.
I’m still doing my weekly show, UFC NOW, for the UFC as well as hosting BKB for DirecTV. I also have a very cool new project I producing and hosting with Quest Nutrition called Eat Elite. It will be coming out soon.”
Questions for Wes Chatham:
CBS: Congratulations on the birth of John Nash! How has fatherhood been so far?
WC: “Thanks so much, it really has been amazing. As Jenn mentioned, Nash came early while I was filming and so I had to go back and forth to Toronto and L.A. for the first few months of his life. We spent a lot of time video chatting and Jenn would send me pics and videos every day.
Now I’ve been home since March and the little guy is my best friend. He’s got so much personality and is really starting to come into his own. Jenn and I have this routine where she gets up at night with him and I take him in the morning so she can get extra sleep. I love that special time in the morning where it’s just the two of us. We hang out, read books and go for walks. I love the father-son bonding time we get in.”
CBS: We were sorry to hear that you did not make it for your son’s birth. How did that feel? Tell us about getting the phone call that Jenn was in labor, to jumping on a plane, to hearing about his arrival, to seeing Nash for the first time.
WC: “Gosh, getting that phone call from Jenn in the middle of the night was probably the most helpless I’ve ever felt in my life. Here I am on the other side of the country, it’s 2 a.m. and I couldn’t do anything. I was pacing around my room and I think I called Jenn every 5 minutes to check in on her. I had to shoot a final scene for the episode in the morning which, to be honest, is a blur to me.
They rushed me to the airport and I was feeling pretty good because we thought I was going to make it. I called Jenn when I got on the plane and told her, ‘I’m going to make it!’ That’s when she said, ‘No, you’re not.’ I was pretty devastated. Right after she said that, they told me I had to turn my phone off because we were taking off.
It’s hard to describe the feeling of sitting there for 4-plus hours, knowing your wife is about to have your son early, and you have no way of knowing what’s going on. Luckily everything went well, and when I landed and turned on my phone, I had a text message with a picture of my beautiful son.”
CBS: What’s up next for you?
WC: “I’m leaving in a week for Thailand to film Marc Forester’s new movie All I See is You. I’ll be working with Blake Lively and I know that she and Ryan [Reynolds] just had a baby girl around the same time as us so I’m sure we’ll be sharing parenting stories. The last Hunger Games instalment, Mockingjay II, is coming out in November, so I’m looking forward to that, and The Expanse will start airing in the fall on SYFY.