Update: Introducing Ava Veronica Priestley
Originally posted July 25th: Jason and Naomi Lowde Priestly are on the cover of this week’s Us Weekly, sharing photos and insight into their time so far with daughter Ava Veronica, 3 weeks.
Click below for all of the photos and interview highlights, including tips from 90210 friends, why they don’t have a nanny, getting peed on, why pediatrician forms are confusing — and yes, they do know you think ‘Ava’ is overused!
On the birth: Ava was born at 12:55 p.m. on July 2, weighing in at 7 lbs, 4 oz, and measured 19 in, at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Jason says the birth was a breeze. "There were concerns beforehand, but the birth went off without a hitch. And it only took two hours! What a magical day."
Jason, who took a baby CPR class to prep for Ava’s birth, became a hands-on dad immediately.
The first time I saw her, time stood still. It took my breath away.
Right away, I went into managing mode – wiping the baby, cutting the umbilical cord, weighing her. Then I took her over to Naomi. All three of our faces were pressed together, which was really nice because we got to bond right away.
On choosing the name: "We thought that Ava Priestley had a nice ring to it. It’s old-school and beautiful. I know there have been a few Ava babies in Hollywood, but we were undeterred! Besides, the names Apple and Ryder were already taken."
Veronica is Naomi’s mother’s name.
On getting home from the hospital: After four days, Naomi and Ava were released — but they still had to get home. "Naomi was in the backseat telling me about a car 600 feet behind me. I’m like, ‘Honey, I know!’ I did make sure Ava was installed in the car seat properly. As a former race car driver, I am very familiar with harnessing."
Adds Naomi, "I was terrified! But Jason wasn’t nervous at all."
On her sleep schedule: Naomi, who is nursing, says, "I feed her at 12:30 and she will sleep till 4. I feed her again and she will sleep till 7. (Jason helps too — in below photo he feeds Ava with a bottle from the Medela breastmilk feeding kit).
We had one bad night, the first night – she was crying for eight hours. [She] cried all night. We came home from the hospital and were like, ‘Is this what it is like?’ But she is just an amazing baby. She is very mellow. [After the first night] we were definitely nervous. We took Ava to the pediatrician the first thing the next morning and it was all good."
On who Ava looks like: "She has my eyes, but Jason’s dimples and big, beautiful lips."
Why they don’t have a nanny: Jason says, "We don’t have entourages. We don’t have staffs. We’re just regular people. Our parents raised us without nannies, so why can’t we do it? Why should I pay someone to spend time with my daughter?"
On setting a good example for Ava: Jason was involved in a near-fatal car crash in 2002 during a race that left him with a concussion, broken back, lacerated nose and bruised eye socket. Nowadays, he does endurance races from time to time for fun and bikes to work for his Lifetime series Side Order of Life everyday – with a helmet.
There is no way I would ever wear a bike helmet, but my mom was here and when I said that, she laid into me. She said, ‘What are you going to do when your daughter says, ‘Why should I wear a helmet when you don’t?” So I gave in.
Naomi, who says her womb "literally ached" when she first met Jason, also loves that he is working.
No sarcasm at all. She’s happy to get me out of the house every once in a while. Naomi is taking time off now, and Ava is fortunate that we can afford to do that.
On raising Ava in Hollywood: "Seeing as neither of us grew up here (Jason is Canadian; Naomi, British), we’re not sure. We’re going to wait and see."
Naomi on Jason as a dad: "He’s amazing, very hands-on. He cut the umbilical cord, gave her a bath, changed diapers, swaddled her…The nurses wrote in their report that Jason was a ‘very supportive father.’ He helped with everything!"
Jason adds, "You gotta be involved. The other day I had her on my chest and she peed on me. But, babiesare like bunny rabbits. When they pee on you, it means they like you."
On the nursery and baby gear: Jason knew his expertise – or lack thereof – wasn’t needed in these areas. "When it comes to stuff like that, I’ve learned that my job is to just get out of the way. I’m very good at getting out of the way. But we got the Bugaboo Cameleon. I love it."
As for the nursery, Naomi says it’s decorated with Pottery Barn Kids furniture. "And our dear friend Brady Smith, who is Tiffani Thiessen‘s husband, painted a mural with crazy little animals in pink and green. Those were our wedding colors."
What else have Jason’s 90210 co-stars done? "I got calls from Ian [Ziering], Luke [Perry], Jennie [Garth] and Tiffani. I actually get repeated phone calls from them. Jennie told me to really enjoy this time when the baby is so small because she’ll grow up so fast. In the next few weeks, we’ll have a playdate."
Luke, who’s already advised Jason to get as much sleep as possible< /a>, says, "I am awaiting the pleasure of meeting his baby. I can’t wait because I have film of Jay holding my babies [Jack and Sophie, now 10 and 7, respectively]. We’re tight like that."
Ian says, "He’s always been a great nurturer to his friends, so I’m sure with his baby, it’ll be tenfold."
More kids?: Since both Jason and Naomi have one sibling, they hope to give Ava a little brother or sister too, Naomi says. "Two kids is easy and seems best."
When Jason finally realized his life has changed: "The first time that I filled out the form at the pediatrician’s office and it said to list ‘father’s name.’ I was like, ‘Why do they need my father’s name?’ I am still getting used to the idea that I am a dad. Everything has changed, and there’s no other way to describe it…Being a father didn’t seem tangible until I saw her. When your wife is pregnant, it’s a theoretical. Then all of a sudden it becomes real…I have a wealth of knowledge that I can bestow on my daughter. Wow, it is crazy to say ‘daughter’!"
Source: Us Magazine, Us Weekly, August 6 issue, pg 46-50