He rarely hurls boulders or swats barbarians nowadays, but actor Kevin Sorbo, once TV's Hercules, still stays in shape. And so, on the evening of Aug. 21, the 6'3" former model was exercising at his home outside Las Vegas when his wife, actress Sam Jenkins Sorbo, poked her head in. "Honey, how much longer do you have on the treadmill?" she asked.

"About 18 minutes," he replied. Then, as Sorbo recalls, "I said, 'What's wrong?' She said, 'Well, my water broke.' I jumped right off."

The next afternoon, Sorbo, 42, stood beside Sam, 36, in a hospital delivery room and, supervised by her obstetrician, prepared to sever the umbilical cord of their first child, 7-lb. 8-oz. Braeden Cooper. "I was crying so hard," says the actor. "I said to the doctor, 'Make sure I cut the right thing, because I can't see.' "

In part, they were tears of relief. After meeting on Hercules' New Zealand set in 1996, when Sam made a guest appearance, the couple wed on Jan. 5, 1998. Their plan was to start a family immediately. Nearly two years later, they were still trying. "Every doctor we went to said we were both fine," says Sorbo. Two of them offered a theory, which Sorbo accepts: "The stress we were putting on getting pregnant stopped us from succeeding," he says. Then last December, just as they had begun mulling adoption, Sam learned she was pregnant.

The couple—who spend much of their time at a second home in Vancouver, where Andromeda, the sci-fi series in which Sorbo plays a starship captain, is filmed—can't wait to have another child. "I changed his diaper this morning," says Sorbo. "It didn't bug me at all. Being a father is so cool."