After Maddie accidentally drove an ATV into a pond on Spears and stepdad Jamie Watson‘s Kentwood, Louisiana, property on Feb. 5. After nearly drowning, she was airlifted to the Children’s Hospital in New Orleans, where where she fought for her life as her mom, stepdad and father Casey Aldridge kept vigil.
“They sat around her bed, talked to her, held hands and prayed,” a friend of Aldridge tells PEOPLE exclusively.
Indeed, the exes’ focus was solely on their daughter, who was submerged for a few minutes before first responders arrived and rescued her from the ATV’s seatbelt and safety netting.
For more on Maddie’s miraculous recovery, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere Friday.
“[Casey] and Jamie Lynn have joint custody, and they’ve been getting along okay, so it was fine for them to be together,” says the friend. “They didn’t take turns in her room or anything like that. They all gathered around her because they wanted Maddie to know that they were all there. Nothing was more important than her.”
On Feb. 7, the hospital told PEOPLE exclusively in a statement that Maddie was awake talking with no signs of neurological damage, and by Friday, she was discharged and able to go home, with doctors saying “she is on the way to a full recovery.”
Maddie isn't quite ready to return to school, but her doctors did clear her to bring in her Valentine's Day treats to her class today. Thanks to @avery and @hersheycompany for making these treats for her to pass out, since I didn't have the time to make any myself this year. It made her so happy to see her friends, and be able to give them such cute treats. It was a great moment for us after everything that has happened. We are so thankful to celebrate Valentine's Day with the ones we love, and we don't take a second of it for granted ❤️Happy Valentine's Day❤️
On Tuesday, country singer-songwriter Spears, 25, offered fans an update on Maddie’s health, sharing an Instagram of her daughter celebrating Valentine’s Day with her classmates at school.
“Maddie isn’t quite ready to return to school, but her doctors did clear her to bring in her Valentine’s Day treats to her class today,” she captioned the adorable shot of her daughter, whom she and ex Aldridge welcomed in June of 2008. “It made her so happy to see her friends, and be able to give them such cute treats. It was a great moment for us after everything that has happened. We are so thankful to celebrate Valentine’s Day with the ones we love, and we don’t take a second of it for granted.”