It's a Girl for Melissa Rycroft Strickland

Melissa Rycroft Strickland of The Bachelor Welcomes a Daughter
Melissa Rycroft and Tye Strickland
Michael Kovac/Getty

updated 02/17/2011 AT 07:55 AM EST

originally published 02/16/2011 AT 07:55 PM EST

Melissa Rycroft Strickland is a mom!

The former Bachelor contestant and her husband, insurance agent Tye Strickland, welcomed a daughter on Wednesday afternoon, her rep confirms to PEOPLE.

Ava Grace Strickland, born in Dallas and weighing 6 lbs., 13 oz., is the first child for the pair, who wed in December 2009 in Mexico. Mother and child are resting comfortably.

"Our lives have changed so much in the last two years and today we've been blessed with the best change ever, our beautiful baby girl," Melissa, 27, tells PEOPLE.





The onetime reality star – who was famously dumped by Jason Mesnick after becoming engaged on The Bachelor – said earlier this year the turn of events had been an enormous blessing in her life.

"Everything is wonderful and life is exactly as it should be," she said.

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