January 11, 2012 04:00 PM

Allen Berezovsky/Getty

Last January, Brooke White made her acting debut in the FOX TV movie Change of Plans, telling PEOPLE, “the theme of the movie is unexpected things come into your life, and those unexpected things are the best.”

This year, that theme comes through for White as she makes another debut — as a first-time mom!

White, 28, the season 7 American Idol finalist known for her sunny vocals and piano skills, is expecting her first child in May with husband Dave Ray.

“We’re so excited,” White tells PEOPLE. “By the time the baby’s born, we’ll have been married eight years. I met Dave when I was 19 years old — we’ve been together a really long time, and we’ve always wanted to be parents.”

White first revealed her pregnancy on Dec. 16 through her blog Brookie Babble in a cute video post with her rubbing her tummy and taking an excited leap.

“My baby’s been a gem to me already,” says White. “I really haven’t slowed down since finding out the news in September. But I kept it a secret until about two weeks ago. There are a few really hard secrets I’ve kept in my life — one was American Idol and the other was being pregnant. I’m a confidentiality pro!”

At the halfway point in her pregnancy, White is still producing music with writing partner Jack Matranga as the duo Jack and White, and shooting video shorts with Eliza magazine editor Summer Bellessa under the name The Girls with Glasses Show.

“I thought I would be miserable and having every symptom in the book,” White says. “Dave was excited for the day we’d have kids but dreaded the day I’d get pregnant because he wasn’t sure he could handle me! But I’ve been on the road doing the shows and minus some pretty good exhaustion and heartburn, I’ve actually done really well.”

A touring life does have pre-natal scheduling challenges, though.

“Come 7:30 at night,” White says, “you really have to trick yourself into staying awake. That was really hard on the road when you have an 11 o’clock show and you have to drag yourself up there sometimes. One of the amazing things I’ve experienced — and it just started happening Monday — was feeling her kick for the first time.”

As White describes, “I was laying down in bed and had the sniffles. I had my hand rested on my stomach and boom, I felt the kick on my hand, and she did it five times. That was beyond one of the coolest feelings I have ever experienced!”

At 12 weeks, White and Ray were told they were expecting a girl, but will know for sure soon.

“So I’ve been buying little outfits and I can barely contain my excitement,” White says, “but honestly — and I genuinely mean this — if my little girl decided to change her mind and become a boy, I’d be stoked either way! I’ll just be happy to have a healthy baby.”

— Cynthia Wang

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