I fled from Ukraine with my newborn by walking to safety in 27-hour ordeal after she was born while bombs rained down

I fled from Ukraine with my newborn by walking to safety in 27-hour ordeal after she was born while bombs rained down

March 4, 2022

ONE couple fled from Ukraine with their newborn by walking to safety in a 27-hour ordeal while bombs rained down on the country.

Jessie and Jacob Boeckmann made the on-foot trek to the Ukrainian-Polish border in freezing temperatures after traffic came to a halt.

The Boeckmann's had traveled to Ukraine from their home in California to meet their daughter, Vivian, who had been born two days prior via a surrogate.

They had been paying attention to the mounting tensions between Russia and Ukraine, but made the decision to travel and retrieve their daughter.

But when they awoke to the sounds of explosions on Thursday morning, they knew they needed to flee.

Their journey began with a man who only spoke Russian intending to drive them to the US Embassy in Lviv.

But what should have taken six or seven hours turned into a 27-hour long nightmare.

It took four hours alone to get out of Kyiv, as cars with others looking to flee caused massive traffic jams.

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Then, when the Boeckmanns finally arrived near the border, there was nowhere for their car to go. They slept in the vehicle overnight.

They ultimately came to a complete stop about eight miles from the border. So they got out and started walking.

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The temperature was just below freezing as they began their trek.

Jessie told The Los Angeles Times she and Jacob were checking on Vivian every few minutes or so to make sure she was still alive.

“What have I done to my sweet angel?” Jessie recalls thinking, speaking to The Los Angeles Times.

“This could be the worst decision I’ve ever made.”

Eventually, they reached a very crowded border packed with people fleeing but also with Ukrainian guards with guns.

Jessie and Vivian were allowed through after nearly three hours of waiting and pushing. But Jacob was not.

He and Jessie pleaded with guards on both sides of the gates, as he was carrying the suitcases containing Vivian's formula and she needed to eat.

Eventually, guards agreed to allow the bag to be passed over the gate to Jessie and Vivian. But Jacob was still stuck on the other side.

Jessie and Vivian cleared customs and called her mom back in Arkansas.

Meanwhile, Jacob was still on the other side getting brushed off by guards despite having a valid US passport.

After hours of back and forth and pleading, Jacob was sent to a sealed-off entrance and was finally reunited with his family, more than 27 hours after their journey began.

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