Kellie Martin Introduces ‘Sweet Surprise’ Daughter Olivia James: ‘She’s Our Bonus Baby!’

05/17/2016 at 08:15 PM ET

With a 9-year-old daughter and a barn full of animals at home, Kellie Martin‘s hands were already full when she found out she was expecting her second baby, Olivia James, who was born in February.

“We really weren’t planning on having another baby,” Martin, 40, tells PEOPLE exclusively. “It was just one of those situations that this baby wanted to be here. She really is such a sweet surprise all the way around. She’s our bonus baby!”

When the actress found out she was having a girl, “I breathed a huge sigh of relief,” she says. “I know girls, so I was really, really happy to have another girl. A boy would have been a whole other thing to figure out.”

Kellie Martin daughter Olivia James
Christa Renee

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While she was a little nervous to have a new baby at home at first, Martin credits her husband Keith Christian, 42, with helping her to adjust.

“He helps me so much and he makes me brave, because I find babies terrifying, which is probably why I put off having another one for so long!” she says.

Still, having another child at home has been a big challenge.

“It’s a huge adjustment,” says Martin. “My husband keeps saying it’s man-on-man defense. He’s got one, I’ve got one, and then we’ll switch. It’s a lot more work, but we’re seeming to manage it pretty well.”

Kellie Martin daughter Olivia James
Christa Renee

Luckily, big sister Margaret “Maggie” Heather has been a hands-on helper with her baby sister.

“She’s so helpful,” says Martin of her 9-year-old daughter. “She loves being a big sister and she loves reading books to her. It’s really, really sweet.”

Martin also credits Maggie with coming up with Olivia’s name.

“Maggie said, ‘What about Olivia?’ I was like, ‘I love it!’ ” she says. “And I’m a huge Scandal fan. We didn’t fully name her after Olivia Pope, but I have a great affection for the character!”

Kellie Martin daughter Olivia James
Christa Renee

The former ER and Life Goes On star says the best part about having a second child is being able to savor the moments with her newborn even more.

“I’m a calmer mom this time,” she says. “It’s hard to know that you have to kind of stop your life, and really just give yourself over to it, but if you do that, you’re so much happier.”

She adds, “I really decided that I was going to do more of that rather than fight against it, which is what I did with my first one. With this baby, I really decided I’m not going to rush my body, I’m not going to rush work, I’m just really going to take my time.”

For more from Kellie Martin, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.

— Gabrielle Olya

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Showing 28 comments

Jenny on

If you’re done having children how do you have a surprise baby at the age of 40 and 42? I never understand people who make these claims, as if they don’t have the knowledge or ability to prevent any more pregnancies. Seems so strange.

rubyovertherainbow* on

Surprise equals …. not planned. Really Jenny ?

Jacksongreen on

Were you having sex? No? Oh wow then yes, yes that is a surprise baby!! Said no one ever.

Jenny on

To anonymous. What part of my post did you not understand? She said they were not planning on having any more children. Really anonymous? You did not know that there are methods of birth control to make certain that you do not have any more children…..as in a surprise? The man or the woman can take measures to make sure they have no more children. How old are you anonymous?

mejustme on

Congrats, beautiful kids and family. The oldest daughter looks like mom and dad. The baby looks like dad right now.

Pinky on

Jenny it’s called secondary infertility. Where you try and try for years and then give up and then you find yourself happily pregnant years latter when you had stopped trying but not necessarily preventing because after all you can’t seem to get pregnant anyway.

Guest on

@jenny first of all where did it say they were NOT using birth control and second how old are you that you still think all birth control is fool proof!!

Ok Man McDonald on

Looks like they care more about their goats.

Nancy on

Lovely family.

Librababe on

Both daughters are adorable and I see dads features in both. Congrats!

thesportygirl on

I am happy for them! I don’t get why every time someone says it was a surprise everyone is mean and down on them about it. Maybe they were told after their first it wouldn’t be likely to have a second or they tried for years after the first then gave up actually trying and figured it was never going to happen and were honestly surprised! My great grandma had her surprise baby at 45, 25 years after her first and what she thought would be her only child because she never got pregnant again. Maybe these two didn’t want to tell everyone about their struggle to have another one.

anon on

Gee @Jenny, I’m surprised you aren’t aware that birth control can fail..it seems SO STRANGE to me that you have to be told this…. and you appear awfully judgmental.

Jen on

We just had a bonus baby at 40 (me) and 45. We took precautions for years and one night did not, and that one time is all it took. It truly is very shocking when it happens later in life, especially when you personally know so many women who struggle. It’s a blessing, but a surprise nonetheless. It’s also kind of hard to accept that life will go back to being on an infant’s schedule after having older, independent kids. I wouldn’t trade my new baby for anything, but when older parents say their baby is a “surprise”, it really is. Perhaps you have to be a mature person to understand that.

Jen on

She needs to come back to TV. They should give her a role on Grey’s Anatomy.

Jan on

I loved Kellie on ER. Congratulations!! What a beautiful family – enjoy!

Anonymous on

Aww adorable family.

Melissa on

To Jenny : She most likely meant that it was a surprise because they used birth control. That’s the only other explanation that I can think of. If you’re done having kids then you use birth control or get fixed. If you get preggo while on said birth control or while you or your husband was fixed(it happens) then, it’s a surprise!

stinky on

i like the goats!! so cute ….congrats to family + baby…they all look happy and that’s all that matters.

Janie on

Wow, Jenny is a grade A b*tch. I never understand why people feel the need to leave nasty comments on articles about happy things.

Congrats to them on their ‘bonus baby’!

Emily on

She said herself in the article that she “put off having another one for so long” so it doesn’t sound like this was a situation where they had previously tried for more kids and thought it wasn’t possible. Regardless, I’m into them and their goats.

Bettie003 on

Wow doesn’t even look like her anymore…congrats

Ellie on

What a beautiful family! Why are so many of the comments so nasty? A nice story about nice people.

Vivi on

Jenny,birth control methods aren’t foolproof. That’s why you won’t find a single one that claims to be 100% effective. Not only that but there might have been a medical reason why they didn’t think they could get pregnant. My sister-in-law was told that she wouldn’t be able to conceive naturally and then she had two surprise babies without any medical help. It happens. Congrats to Kellie and her family. I’ve always liked her.

Zill on

The goats are adorable.

Robin on

Such an inspiring article to read for once! I’m so happy for their family & surprise/miracle baby🙂

ADH on

LOL I would guess the fact that Kelly suddenly conceived 8 or 9 years after her oldest daughter was born probably was a surprise. Kelly would’ve been in her early 30s when her oldest daughter was born, so then when she didn’t get pregnant again within two or three years after her first, she might’ve thought her fertility was a bit iffy. Or maybe she & her husband slacked off on the birth control as they neared their 40s (knowing women’s fertility naturally decreases around 35* or more), so the fact she did get pregnant again was a happy surprise indeed.

*Interestingly, that age is also when statistically the chances of having a baby born with Downs Syndrome increases as well…which would’ve been an interesting irony for Kelly, considering her history on TV with Life Goes On and role alongside Chris Burke.

Katie on

Seems as if Jenny is unaware that birth control isn’t always successful. We have a child in our family who was conceived in spite of condoms AND the BC shot. My cousin had several years of fertility treatments, absolutely no ovulation while on Clomid, and finally was told pregnancy wasn’t even a possibility. Fast forward several years, and bam…found out at a routine physical she was 4 months pregnant….no symptoms whatsoever. What seems strange is that you are so unaware such things actually occur regularly. I’ve known women who conceived after tubal ligations, as well. You shouldn’t be insulting people who say their pregnancy was a surprise; it could be, for several reasons.

Zonny on

Never heard of them. Congrats anyway.

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