Couple welcomes baby girl early this Christmas hundreds of miles from home

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Christmas gift came just in time for one Virginia couple. Their baby girl made her entrance into the world this week as they were on their way home, passing through Charlotte.

Doug and Randi Brown thought they would spend Christmas in their own living room, 330 miles away from Charlotte. Instead, they’re cozied up at the Ronald McDonald house in Dilworth, which hosts families whose children are in the hospital.

“We weren’t sure what was going to happen, but we were sure we wouldn’t be heading back to Virginia that night,” Doug said.

This young couple lived overseas for the last seven years serving in the Air Force. They just moved back to the United States and were desperate to see family in Iowa -- now that they had a baby on the way.

While heading home to Virginia, Randi’s water broke about 20 minutes before they landed in Charlotte for a quick layover.

“It is absolutely safe to fly at 30 weeks pregnant, but this is an unusual thing that happened,” Randi said. “Peyton had some other plans.”

Paramedics rushed to the plane and strapped Randi to a stretcher. Three hours later, she delivered her daughter Peyton Brown 10 weeks early on Monday night.

The Browns didn’t know the gender before she made her early debut or settled on a full name until now.

“Seeing as how you know Charlotte has been so good to us -- the people have been so good. Everyone here has been phenomenal,” Doug said. “We figured it would be fitting to have her middle name be Charlotte, so Peyton Charlotte.”

Their bundle of joy is a Christmas present that came early.

Their quick layover has now turned into an extended stay while they wait for Peyton to be released from Levine Children’s Hospital or be transferred to a hospital in Virginia.

But for now, in the midst of so much unknown, one thing is constant.

“Shock. Definitely a whirlwind but super thankful overall,” Randi said.

The Browns could be here for at least another month or so, but Peyton has a big test on Monday that will help decide if they will transfer her to Virginia.

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