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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — While her husband was serving in the Navy overseas, a California mom was secretly carrying their child but not without some challenges.

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Natasha Daugherty surprised her husband Chris with the pregnancy when he returned home from his deployment.

“I walked up and she dropped the sign and I was like woah, what is that,” said Chris. “And then poked the belly because I was thinking I don’t know she had one of those fake pregnancy things on. I was like that’s a real belly.”

The belly was real. Natasha was 8 months pregnant! She found out just after he left for his 6-month deployment, but keeping the secret was tough. She had to strategically cover up her tummy in family photos she shared with Chris.

“I just kept telling my 4-year-old I was getting fat…because I didn’t — she’s a little chatterbox,” said Natasha.

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Working two jobs and trying to raise three children, there were moments she wanted to blab but didn’t. Then Chris was sent to the Korean Peninsula where tensions were high.

“The deployment was only supposed to be like 5 months…and they’re like oh turning you around I was like oh no. I was definitely questioning, should I tell him? Because if something happens, I’m going to feel guilty,” said Natasha.

But it all worked out. She did wait to find out the baby’s sex. The moment Chris got home, they threw a gender reveal party.

Chris will be there for his daughter’s birth before he’s deployed again sometime next year.

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As happy as Chris was with his wife’s surprise, once was enough.