Ukraine

Orange County Couple Escapes With Newborn From War-Ravaged Ukraine

The Costa Mesa couple arrived in Kyiv earlier this month for the surrogate birth of their daughter, Vivian. The bombings began 48 hours after she was born.

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An Orange County couple and their newborn was safe at home Tuesday night after a harrowing escape from Ukraine.

A summer-like evening greeted Jessie and Jacob Boeckmann, and their new baby when they touched down Tuesday afternoon at LAX.

Days ago they couldn’t be sure they would make it.

"I suppose we are survivors," Jessie said.

The Costa Mesa couple arrived in Kyiv earlier this month for the surrogate birth of their daughter, Vivian. The bombings began 48 hours after she was born.

"I contacted our driver to see if he could pick us up early," Jessie said. "Pretty much we knew we had to leave as soon as possible."

What followed was a desperate attempt to escape, a journey that would last a day and a half in the freezing cold.

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Stuck on a gridlocked road, among thousands trying to leave Ukraine, they decided to walk the rest of the eight miles to the Poland border.

"That probably to me was one of the worst parts because I really doubted that we were making the right decision," Jessie said.

It was about 30, so less than freezing with her baby strapped to her chest. She says she said stayed warm.

Her husband Jacob lugged their bags as they trekked.

"There's no giving up when you're where you are, you just have to keep going," she said.

Finally they reached the border, the crowd pushing Jessie and her baby through.

She said a man asked her how old the baby was. When she said 4 days old, he started yelling, "Four-day-old baby! Let her through!"

The couple are grateful they got out, but they say they are filled with worry and guilt.

"I think the hardest part for this journey for us is knowing all the people that we know that are still in Ukraine," Jacob said.

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