Congratulations are in order for Joe Nichols and wife Heather!
The couple welcomed a baby girl, Dylan River Nichols, at 1:22 p.m. on Tuesday, April 17, weighing in at 7 lbs., 5 oz. and measuring 21¼ inches long, the couple confirm to PEOPLE.
“Joe and I have prayed for this day for such a long time,” a proud Heather says. “We are truly blessed.”
After welcoming his sweet baby girl, Joe says, “This is one of the most humbling and remarkable experiences. Heather is amazing, and I am just so thankful our little girl is here. She is truly a miracle.”
Last year, Joe said that when he wasn’t touring, “Heather and I have been working on having a baby — that’s been the fun part.”
But it hasn’t been easy road for the couple, who have known each other since they were 19. They were wed in Savannah, Ga. on Sept. 9, 2007; A month later the singer, who had previously struggled with substance abuse, entered rehab.
He has been clean and sober since, and the couple, both 35, suffered some devastating news when Heather miscarried a baby in January 2008 before embarking on a lengthy series of fertility treatments.
In February the couple announced their happy news. “After trying to have a baby for so long, we are thrilled to announce that I am pregnant,” Heather said. Joe added, “I have to give all the credit to my wife — she has been a trooper through all of this, and I am so happy.”
And how did they come up with the baby name?
“Dylan was inspired by Heather’s childhood friend Dylan who passed away after college,” Heather’s mother Sharon Singleton explains. “She says she has felt his presence as her guardian angel since. River comes from the song Joe sang to Heather on their wedding day, That Would Be Her, which Heather listened to over and over during her fertility treatments.”
Joe is also dad to Ashelyn, 13, from a prior relationship.