Hallmark Star Jill Wagner Welcomes Daughter Army Gray — Why She Wanted a 'Patriotic Name'

Jill Wagner's daughter Army Gray was born Friday, April 17, at 12:36 p.m., a rep for the Hallmark actress confirms exclusively to PEOPLE

Jill Wagner baby
Photo: Courtesy Jill Wagner

Jill Wagner‘s baby girl is here!

The Hallmark Channel actress, 41, and husband David Lemanowicz have welcomed their first child, a daughter named Army Gray Lemanowicz, a rep confirms exclusively to PEOPLE.

Baby Army was born on Friday, April 17, at 12:36 p.m., weighing 7 lbs., 8 oz., and measuring 20 inches long.

“She was conceived on July 4 so we wanted a patriotic name and my husband is in the military so we chose her first name to be Army,” Wagner tells PEOPLE. “We thought that was a good name to honor both. Her middle name is Gray (spelled the American way, with an A) because I have always loved that name. It is strong, intelligent, soft and feminine all in one … which is what I want her to be.”

This is the first child for Wagner and second for Lemanowicz, 44, who has a 10-year-old daughter named Lija.

“Lija is loving being a big sis and all of the dogs are super curious about little Army Gray,” Wagner says. “I have a feeling Hank the farm dog is going to be super protective over her.”

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Jill Wagner baby
Courtesy Jill Wagner
Jill Wagner baby
Courtesy Jill Wagner
Jill Wagner baby

As Army was her “first baby” (whom the actress welcomed “within 2 hours and 30 minutes of pushing”), she “really had no idea what to expect. I didn’t really have much of a plan going into [giving birth] except just to be open to anything the doctor said that would be best for the baby.”

“Having to give birth in a mask was not ideal but the silver lining throughout was that it allowed my husband and me to have this one-on-one intimate time with [Army] before we brought her home with no distractions,” Wagner says. “It was some of the best sleepless moments of my life.”

And now, the new mom is “in the most blissful state of mind,” as her “whole world has been turned upside down but in the best way” — including the fact that she sees Lemanowicz “in a whole new light.”

“He has been my rock through all of it,” Wagner tells PEOPLE. “The most I have ever been attracted to him was when I saw him hold her for the first time. This has definitely created a bond with us like no other. Army has been a great baby so far. We actually got a decent block of sleep last night, a whole 4-hour run, which was amazing. While I know it’s hard not getting my whole 8 hours, which I love … I don’t mind the lack of [sleep]. She is worth it all!”

Jill Wagner baby
Courtesy Jill Wagner

Wagner’s rep confirmed her happy news to PEOPLE last November.

“I feel amazing,” the actress told PEOPLE at the time. “The little one has been taking it very easy on me. No morning sickness, praise the lord!”

“My husband and I had been trying for a while and I finally stopped stressing over it and made an appointment with a fertility doctor,” she added. “We actually found out at the doctor’s appointment that I was already pregnant. It was shocking, scary and the best feeling in the world all at once!”

Continuing, she said, “We celebrate every single day we wake up and see my little bump growing.”

Jill Wagner pregnancy announcement
Jill Wagner and David Lemanowicz. Melissa Hill

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Earlier this year, the couple also revealed the sex of their baby on the way — with a little help from some Krispy Kreme treats.

“When I got the gender results from my doctor, they were sealed. I took them to Krispy Kreme donuts, my favorite, and had them fill the donuts with either pink or blue frosting depending on gender,” Wagner told PEOPLE at the time. “It was a beautiful night and quite the surprise, as my husband kept referring to the baby as ‘Thor’ in the months preceding the reveal.”

Jokes aside, Wagner went on to share that the pair had already come up with a moniker for their baby on the way.

“I thought I knew exactly what she would be called, and then I changed it due to the fact that she was conceived on July 4th, so this is going to be a truly patriotic name,” she hinted.

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As the couple counted down the days until their bundle of joy’s arrival, they also poked fun at their own impatience. “So we had another calf yesterday,” the actress, who lives on a farm in Tennessee with Lemanowicz, playfully said to her belly in a silly Instagram post. “I don’t understand if the cows can get it why can’t my baby — come on.”

In another video, her husband jokingly cradled a life-size cartoon doll, quipping, “[It] finally happened. We didn’t think it would.”

The couple also celebrated another happy milestone this month: their third wedding anniversary.

“3 years [ago] today I married the love of my life and my best friend,” Wagner wrote in a sweet Instagram tribute. “You are the reason I am so happy and now you have given me a baby to call my own. (The best gift of all) Thank you so much my love. You are my favorite and have always been since I was 17 🙂 #happyanniversary.”

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