Montalvo tells PEOPLE about navigating pregnancy and raising a toddler solo during her husband's deployment
Cassidy Montalvo is officially a mother of two!
The couple welcomed daughter Piper Presley Bogan on Monday, Jan. 15, in Chesapeake, Virginia, weighing 7 lbs., 4 oz., and measuring 20 in. long, a rep for the couple confirms to PEOPLE.
The couple both felt their baby girl's moniker was "really sweet," telling PEOPLE, "I enjoy a lot of Greek mythology, and in mythology, a 'piper' is a flute player that would communicate with the spiritual realm."
"Part of me hopes Piper got to hug her older sister lost in miscarriage before she joined our family today," Montalvo shares. "Her middle name, Presley, is after Elvis Presley - I grew up on Elvis music and we’re big fans—and dance to it a lot in our home."
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Montalvo and Bogan enjoyed a "totally different experience" from 4-year-old daughter Lucy's "scary" birth.
"My first birth was an emergency C-section that was incredibly stressful, scary and involved surgical teams, specialists and a helicopter on the hospital roof 'in case.' While it turned out well in the end, there were some horrific moments and neither Cort nor I had ever experienced anything like that before," the mom reveals.
"With Piper, I was able to walk calmly into the hospital for a planned C-section where I wasn’t facing doctors telling me my baby might not live or I might not live – it was a totally different experience —thankfully," she shares. "Also, I wasn't able to hold Lucy for the first 12ish hours of her life as she was being evaluated, etc., which was really, really hard. Piper was given to me right away and it was at that moment that I realized how much I lost with Lucy by losing those first hours. I am beyond grateful to have this time with Piper from the moment she was born."
The new mom of two navigated her pregnancy while Bogan was deployed, arriving home just last week.
"This has been the hardest 9 months of my life. I had severe morning sickness that wasn’t just in the mornings and required prescription meds in order for me to function at bare minimum levels," Montalvo says.
"Dealing with daily discomfort while balancing a very active 4-year-old, moving homes, 3 dogs, and a career was a lot. However, the hardest part was the constant nagging worry that Piper wasn't okay or that my body wasn't supporting her due to my previous miscarriage. Not having Cort around to help or reassure me that she was ok led to a lot of really hard mental days."
Montalvo also faced emotional challenges that came with previously experiencing a miscarriage with daughter Phoebe in 2022.
"Until she was placed into my arms, I battled a sense that she was not okay. It didn’t matter how many times a doctor or nurse told me things were 'fine' — part of me couldn’t believe them. And if, during an exam or ultrasound, someone commented, even off-handedly, that Piper’s heartbeat was a little 'slow' or 'fast' or anything at all out of the ordinary, ALL the anxiety kicked in," she explains.
"It was like waiting for the other shoe to drop for nine months—with my husband gone for an indeterminant length of time," she continues. "When I heard Piper cry in the operating room for the first time and the doctor said, 'She’s perfect,' I just kept repeating, 'She’s okay, she’s okay, she’s okay' and cried. It was like being able to breathe for the first time in a very, very long time."
"I think there are a lot of women who have lost babies and then struggled with fear through the next pregnancy—even when your mind 'knows' the baby is okay, the heart struggles," she notes. "No one wants to go through that pain of loss again."
The TikToker, who has over 2.5 million followers who watch her content about navigating life as a military wife and mom, says her online community has "kept me grounded and helped prevent my spiral of anxiety from completely controlling my life."
Noting that she's "one of many who have walked this path," Montalvo has appreciated the support of others and inspired her to share her own journey.
"By sharing my story, sharing the emotions and anxiety I was walking, sharing my battle with PPD (both after Lucy and the loss of Phoebe) and all the things that come with that, I was able to connect with many others. Those who took the time to share their stories with me, send encouragement, and just overall be the best support system a girl could ask for were truly a beam of light for me over the last year," the influencer says. "I will never be able to repay my amazing online community for what they did over the last year for me and my family."
With a new year and a new member of the family, the couple is looking forward to the months ahead.
"I am so excited to see Lucy be a big sister and to watch the bond form between the two!" Montalvo says. "I have five sisters—and we are so close! I am very thankful I can give Lucy and Piper each other for life."
She continues, "Cort and I are so excited to have another little adventure buddy we get to show the world to There are few things that have compared to watching Lucy see things for the first time, and I cannot wait to do that with Piper as well. She is our final puzzle piece and I can’t wait to watch our family grow as a unit."
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