Marcia's Baby Joy

updated 09/25/2006 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/25/2006 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Two weeks ago Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry got a surprise phone call from one of his stars. "I have something to tell you," he heard Marcia Cross say at the other end of the line. "Bree's pregnant." The news that Cross, 44, and husband Tom Mahoney, 48, are expecting their first child in April may have thrown a wrench into Cherry's already planned storyline ("We're scrambling, but for now, Bree's wearing a lot of big coats," says Cherry), but the actress herself is simply overjoyed. She's long played the role of loving aunt in real life, even having her niece and six of her friends' daughters act as flower girls at her June 24 wedding. Having a child of her own "is something she's wanted for a really long time," says Joy Lauren, 16, who plays Cross's daughter on DH. "It's very exciting." And no worries. She won't be anything like her mommy-dearest-style character. "When you meet her, she is so nurturing—you just feel very comforted when you're near her," says costar Andrea Bowen, 16, who plays Julie. Adds Cherry: "Everyone on the show is so happy for her. She's going to be a fabulous mom."

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