N.Y. baby almost ready to go home after surprise Indiana birth

Lolita Acevedo gave birth to her daughter while visiting Indiana to buy a puppy.

A cross-country trip to get a puppy led to a surprise delivery and a medical emergency.

Ariel Guerrero was due this spring in Long Island, New York, but in a strange twist of fate, she arrived in Indiana before Thanksgiving.

"She was born in Indiana. She is an Indy little girl," said Ariel's mother, Lolita Acevedo. "It is a crazy story, but God knows why (she) meant to be born here."

Lolita saw pictures of pit bull puppies for sale in Hammond and they were cheaper than the puppies on the East Coast.

"I got in love with the puppy and I said, 'I want the puppy,' and when you are pregnant and you want something, you have you get it, you know?" she said.

So at 26 weeks pregnant and with her doctor's blessing, she took a road trip with her fiancé to pick up "Rocky," but as they headed home, Lolita went into labor and delivered two-pound Ariel in South Bend. The little girl came to Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health with necrotizing enterocolitis, or death of intestinal tissue.

"She was very sick. She could die at that point," Acevedo said.

Ariel is recovering from multiple surgeries.

"Been rough and hard at the same time. Have to be strong," her mother said.

Ariel's father is working back east. With the help of Riley staff, he has been able to come back to Indiana to mark milestones.

"Southwest gives us flight vouchers every year. So this year, we were given 40 roundtrip flight vouchers and any time they need to come and go, we have been able to provide that for them," said social worker Emily Strait.

Dad Willie is so grateful, he just had the hospital's logo tattooed to his arm. A symbol to his daughter that he is a survivor.

"When she gets older, I will bring her here, so she will know the story. She has a story," Acevedo said.

Ariel now weighs 10 pounds and Rocky is getting bigger, too. Soon, the two will meet and the family believes their Hoosier connection is God at work.

"God put me here to come to this hospital. You never know, living in New York, if she would survive," Acevedo said.

It's been four long months long distance for Ariel's family, spending Christmas, New Year's and Valentine's Day apart, but they're hoping to be home by Easter.