By Jason Lynch
May 24, 2004 12:00 PM

Peri Gilpin and Christian Vincent

Stella Vincent 5 lbs., 6 oz. & Ava Vincent 5 lbs., 5 oz.

May 7, 2004

As Frasier‘s acerbic Roz Doyle, Peri Gilpin was never at a loss for words. But when Gilpin and husband Christian Vincent learned last fall that they would be having twins via a surrogate mother, she was speechless. “Finding out we were going to be parents was one of the happiest days of our lives,” says Gilpin. May 7 was even better: Daughters Ava and Stella were born in a Nevada hospital. “They were ecstatic,” says longtime friend Arleen Sorkin. “They’re in heaven.”

The feeling of holding their girls for the first time was “the best, best, best in the world, world, world,” the excited parents chime in simultaneously. The twins—17½-in.-long Stella arrived one minute before 19-in.-long Ava—headed home to L.A. on May 10. They’re “healthy and eating well,” says Gilpin’s rep Stephen Huvane. Gilpin, 42, “is giddy with joy,” says Sorkin. “They wanted these children so badly. They went through fire to have them, and they’re not going to take it for granted for one second.”

The couple, who have stayed mum about why they decided to use a surrogate, had busily prepared for the big day. Gilpin studied up on parenting books and shopped for baby clothes. (“Their house isn’t going to have enough closets for the clothes they’re going to buy those kids,” says Sorkin.) Artist Vincent, 37, designed the twins’ nursery, transforming its walls into a colorful mural of animals, trees and blue skies. Gilpin “approaches motherhood with great passion, the same way she approaches everything in her life,” says Frasier costar Jane Leeves. “She will be a fantastic mother, whose girls will hopefully inherit her wit and style.” (Her sense of humor showed at her March baby shower, held at Leeves’s L.A. home, where Gilpin cracked up friends by turning up in padding that made her look nine months pregnant.)

After celebrating the May 13 Frasier finale with castmates in New York City, Gilpin plans to “deliberately not be working so she can be with the kids,” says Huvane. “It’s all coming at a perfect time for her.”

Jason Lynch. Monica Rizzo in Los Angeles and KC Baker in New York city