The Hallmark star shares with PEOPLE that the baby's name reflects everything needed to ensure she joined their family safely
Jen Lilley and her husband Jason Wayne's baby girl is here!
The actress, 37, welcomed daughter Jacqueline "Jackie" Grace with Wayne on Thursday morning, she tells PEOPLE. Baby Jackie arrived at 1:12 a.m., weighing 7 lbs., 10.01 oz.
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"Jackie means 'God will protect her,' Grace means 'God will empower her,' " the Hallmark star tells PEOPLE of the significance of her newborn baby's name.
"This was a surprise pregnancy during new Covid variants and ramp-ups. I hadn't taken any prenatal vitamins, I was under a lot of stress, and with my history of miscarriages, I had to trust that God would indeed protect and empower her through the pregnancy and that was absolutely true for the insane delivery!"
Sharing details of her unforgettable experience, Lilley says, "I had no idea if I was really in labor. I had Jackie 7 minutes after pulling up to the ER. If I hadn't left when I did, I would have had her in the car, and I'm not sure she would have survived."
Adds Lilley: "The midwife told the nurses, 'Get her pants off!' And I was thinking, why is everyone thinking this baby is coming right now?"
"The midwife said, 'She has quite a bit of hair' and Jason and I were both stunned. I wasn't sure if she was joking! But then I thought, that would be a strange thing to joke about, and realized, I was actually having the baby right NOW," Lilley says.
"I'm so, so happy," Lilley told PEOPLE, joking that the future family of six is "going to have to get a bus now."
"Julie was planned, but this was definitely a surprise," added Lilley, who was on her way to Canada to film her new TV movie Royally Wrapped for Christmas when she sensed a change in her body.
"I don't know what it is with me, but I honestly will know like the day after conception, I'm very aware of my body," she said.
"I felt very pregnant and I thought, 'This is very weird.' I was excited, but also it was so strange. I was in this long customs line in Canada waiting for my work permit, and I'm texting my husband and our nanny via group text, 'I think I'm pregnant right now?' "
She said the surprise factor started to wear off once the happy news was officially confirmed by her doctor.
"It took a long time to comprehend it," she explained. "I waited until I was back [from filming] and had a doctor's appointment to verify it because I just kept thinking, 'I need a blood test.' "
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Lilley told PEOPLE at the time that the rest of the family was just as excited about having a new sibling.
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"Kayden and Jeffrey very much understand," Lilley said. "It's also been super helpful to kind of start talking to Kayden a bit about adoption, which has been great. Because he says, 'So when I was in your belly,' and I'm like, 'Okay, let me talk to you about that.' So it's been a really wonderful introduction to explain adoption to him. That's been awesome and he's really excited."