Home Town's Ben, Erin Napier Were Open to Adoption After Appendix Damage Made Pregnancy Unlikely
Despite Ben and Erin Napier's desire to become parents, they weren't sure a biological child would be in the cards for them after they got the news that she had a perforated appendix.
But still, "Relief is not even close to the right word. It was joy," Erin, 34, tells PEOPLE of learning what was to blame for her health issues and the subsequent news that it "wasn't likely" for her to have children.
"It was a new lease on life. After 10 years and dozens of specialists, having the answer was life-changing. I could stop being afraid to eat! I stopped being afraid it was something long-term," she says.
As for expanding their family — which now includes the Home Town stars' 2-year-old daughter Helen — Erin tells PEOPLE, "We knew that if children weren't in the plan biologically, we would adopt. If we couldn't adopt for some reason, having each other would be enough."
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Exactly how children came to be a part of the couple's life wasn't as big of a priority to Erin as having a family in general. As she tells PEOPLE, "I always wanted to have kids and it was also my biggest fear my whole life; I was terrified at the whole thought of pregnancy and childbirth just terrified me."
"But I wanted a family desperately. So that was a hard place to be. It was really difficult," she continues. "And then when it happened, it felt like this huge release. Like, 'Well I don't have to worry about that anymore — that decision has been made for me. So she's on her way.' "
"And then it was just joy," Erin says. "It was just absolute joy and it was a wonderful experience and I just don't know what our life would look like without [Helen] in it."
"We were making a TV show," adds Ben, 36, referring to their popular HGTV series that recently wrapped its fourth season. "Having children was not a priority for us at the time; we weren't trying to have kids or anything. Just like Erin said, that decision was made for us. But yeah, [Helen] is just awesome."
It's up in the air whether the couple will have more children ("It was a surprise the first time, [so] I figure it'll be a surprise the next time too," Erin says of getting pregnant), but for now, they are enjoying every moment with "Daddy's girl" Helen — who recently changed her tune of which parent she prefers.
"Every morning, she and I lie in our bed together and I read her a book while she drinks her milk. And this morning, she said, 'Don't want Daddy to lay with us, just girls,' " Erin tells PEOPLE. "She prefers Mommy right now and no one else gets anything for her."
"It's a sweet time," the proud mother adds. "I wish she could be 2 forever."
For more from Ben and Erin Napier, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.