Many men and women who serve in the military leave behind their loved ones for months at a time. As such, homecomings are a big celebration. Families typically greet their loved ones with hugs and kisses, balloons and posters. But when Navy seaman Chris Daugherty returned, his wife decided to give her husband the ultimate surprise gift.

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Chris’s wife, Natasha, learned that she was expecting their fourth child with her husband a week after he left for deployment. Instead of telling Chris, she opted to give the good news in person, keeping her pregnancy a secret during the entire deployment.

When Chris finally arrived back in port in San Diego, California, Natasha brought her three other children and a sign she made that read, “Welcome home baby daddy.” As Chris made his way off the ship, his two daughters and one son ran to give him a hug.

Once Chris said hello to his kids that he hadn’t seen in six months, he went to greet his wife, Natasha, who was holding the welcome home sign over her belly. She wanted to hide the surprise for a couple of moments longer.

“My heart was racing,” she told ABC News. “I stood back and let the kids run to him. I hung back for a minute, and then he reached into me to give me a hug and then I dropped it. He just stood there in shock. He didn’t know what was going on.”

In disbelief, Chris said: “Is that real? Nuh-uh!” as he hesitantly poked his pregnant wife’s belly. Clearly, in shock, Chris couldn’t stop laughing and hugging his wife.

“There were a lot of thoughts going through my mind,” he said. “The first was confusion, then I thought she was joking with me so I poked it to make sure it was real. When it was real I was extremely confused so I asked, ‘Is that real?’ to be sure, then hugged her because it was the only thing I could think to do.”

Every time she posted a Snapchat or a new photo on Facebook, she would purposely hide her stomach in order to keep her secret.

Natasha said that keeping the pregnancy a secret was the hardest thing she had ever endured, but she said the payoff was all worth it. She wanted to tell him over email but decided “that wasn’t very memorable.”

The newest edition to the Daugherty family is expected in August of this year. And as luck would have it, they’re having another girl.