Bringing Up Bates Star Josie Bates and Husband Kelton Balka Welcome Daughter Willow Kristy
Josie Bates is Bringing Up a new baby!
The Bringing Up Bates star, 19, and her husband Kelton Balka are the proud new parents of a daughter named Willow Kristy Balka, whom Bates gave birth to on Friday, July 19, a rep confirms exclusively to PEOPLE.
Baby Willow made her arrival in the Knoxville, Tennessee, area at 2:23 a.m. local time, measuring 19 inches long and weighing in at 6 lbs., 10 oz.
“Our hearts are so full after welcoming Willow Kristy early this morning,” the couple tell PEOPLE. “We are so thankful to God for our little blessing and can’t wait to start our journey as a family of three.”
UPtv confirmed the baby’s sex in a March press release obtained by PEOPLE, as well as her name — a nod to Balka’s mother, who died when he was 13 while giving birth to her fifth child, his sister Kierstin.
“That was a really, really difficult time for our family, the hardest thing I’ve ever been through,” the then-dad-to-be previously said on the Bates family’s reality show.
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Bates and Balka, 23, tied the knot in October during a romantic outdoor ceremony overlooking the Tennessee mountains, where the bride wore an A-line, long-sleeve white gown featuring a high-necked lace bodice and flowing skirt with a long train.
They first revealed their baby news in February, four months after tying the knot following a courtship that traced back to July 2017, per social media.
“We couldn’t be happier to announce that we’re having a baby!” the mom-to-be told PEOPLE exclusively. “We are a little nervous but totally flooded with joy as we’re starting this new journey of love and parenting together!”
Bates teased the sex of her baby girl on the way ahead of the confirmation, posting a black-and-white snapshot of the spouses following their confetti-filled reveal and asking her followers to put their guesses in.
The couple celebrated their daughter on the way at a baby shower in late April, which was chock full of friends, family and all things pink.
“So thankful for all the friends and family who came to shower baby Willow with love today, we feel so blessed to have each of you in our lives 💞,” Bates captioned a photo gallery from the sweet event. “This was one of the most special days ever “💛
UPtv will begin airing Bringing Up Bates wedding specials on Aug. 8, including Bates and Balka’s nuptials.
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