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RICHMOND, Va. – For one Virginia couple, wedding bells were ringing in an unlikely place on Valentine’s Day: their 1-month-old daughter’s room in the hospital NICU.

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According to WWBT, Tracey Leonard and Adrian Dickens had hoped to tie the knot on Dec. 17, but a bout with COVID-19 forced them to postpone their nuptials. The expectant parents then decided to have a Dec. 30 courthouse ceremony, but their baby-to-be had other plans – an early arrival.

On New Year’s Eve, Leonard gave birth to her daughter, Amanda “Mandy” Dickens, four months before her due date at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center in Richmond. The newborn has been in the neonatal intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital of Richmond ever since, according to a blog post on the hospital’s website.

“Dr. Guthrie, one of the fellow doctors, explained to us that the journey ahead would be like a roller coaster, and he was exactly right. Some days we get good news all day long. Some days we get bad news,” Leonard said, according to the post. “But everyone at the hospital has been a Godsend. They’re so sweet, understanding and amazing, not only addressing all of Mandy’s needs but mine and her dad’s, as well.”

The new parents, completely focused on their baby’s health, were spending so much time in the NICU that one day they told a social worker, in jest, that they should get married in Mandy’s hospital room.

“We wanted Mandy to be there, so we were joking with Cassi [the social worker] that we should have someone marry us over her incubator,” Leonard said, according to the hospital.

The social worker sprang into action, enlisting a hospital chaplain, Josh Andrezejewski, to officiate, the hospital said. Then Leonard and Dickens set the date.

“We looked at each other and said, ‘What about Valentine’s Day?’” Leonard said. “We love each other, and we love Mandy. Let’s do it on the day of love.”

With some help from Ronald McDonald House Charities of Richmond, the pair exchanged vows Feb. 14 alongside their daughter in the NICU, according to the hospital.

Leonard said the pair wants to have a small, in-person celebration with loved ones – who watched their hospital ceremony via FaceTime – after their preemie comes home.

“Having Mandy just refocused us on the small things, what’s most important,” Leonard said, according to the hospital’s blog. “When Mandy is home and we have a new normal, we’re going to get a beach house and invite our immediate families – nothing big and showy. We have a new focus.”