"[I thought] that I'd have to have help, so I was in the process of going to freeze my eggs," Nikki Bella, who's pregnant with her first baby, tells PEOPLE

By Christina Dugan
January 30, 2020 09:00 AM

Nikki Bella has expressed her desire to be a mom throughout the years, but she didn’t anticipate it happening this soon.

In this week’s issue of PEOPLE, the 36-year-old mom-to-be opens up about her past fertility struggles — and explains why she was “totally surprised” to learn she is pregnant along with her twin sister, Brie Bella.

“We both had [to] digest,” says Nikki, who got engaged to fiancé and former Dancing with the Stars partner Artem Chigvintsev in November.

“It took us both a good week. We both were shocked. Artem was immediately so happy — it was really cute. Scared, but I can’t believe this because it’s not like we were trying or, ‘Hey, we’re married, let’s have a baby.’ That wasn’t it at all,” she continues. “I didn’t think I could get pregnant. [I thought] that I’d have to have help, so I was in the process of going to freeze my eggs.”

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Nikki and Brie Bella
James White
Nikki and Brie Bella
James White

RELATED: Everything to Know About Nikki Bella’s DWTS Pro Fiancé Artem Chigvintsev

On Wednesday, the Total Bellas stars revealed they are (both!) pregnant — and due only a week and a half apart.

“Wait, twins being pregnant at the same time?” Brie tells PEOPLE. “People are going to think that’s a joke. We both are shocked. People are going to think we planned it, but you can’t really plan pregnancy!”

“[It was] a total surprise,” Nikki adds. “It took even me a good week to come to terms with like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m pregnant.’ I’m not ready for it.”

Speaking with Health last month, the Bellas got candid about fertility and motherhood.

“We were trying for eight months, and I couldn’t get pregnant,” said Brie, who shares 2½-year-old daughter Birdie Joe with husband and pro wrestler Daniel Bryan. “I was stressed and it wasn’t happening. There were a couple times that I was so late and was sure I was pregnant. Then I would get my period and bleed really badly.”

Watch the full episode of People Features: The Bella Twins Expecting!, streaming now on PeopleTV.com, or download the PeopleTV app on your favorite device.

Brie Bella, Daniel Bryan, and their daughter Birdie
Brie Bella/Instagram

RELATED: Brie and Nikki Bella Are Both Pregnant — and Due Less Than 2 Weeks Apart: “It’s Crazy!”

“I think the universe was telling me something — like, ‘It’s not a great time to have another baby,’ ” she added.

After admitting to the publication she wasn’t quite ready to have children yet, Nikki revealed she was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, a hormonal disorder that can affect reproductive chances.

“I also found out I have PCOS — it kills your fertility,” she said. “I’m getting brown spots all over my face, acne, weight fluctuations and hair loss.”

“I actually just found out and was devastated. You research it, and there is no cure,” she added at the time. “I just pray I have some fertile eggs left and that I can still be a mom. So, yes, I do feel like being a mom is in my future. I am just not sure how soon.”

Nikki Bella and Artem Chigventsev
Matt Winkelmeyer/KCASports2019/Getty Images for Nickelodeon

RELATED: Nikki Bella and Artem Chigvintsev Are Engaged — and Have Been for Two Months!

And now, she and Chigvintsev are preparing to welcome a little one of their own — and couldn’t be more thrilled.

“Even though I feel really sick, [I] can’t believe I’m going to be a mom soon,” says Nikki. “I’m going to have this person to take care of for the rest of their life and help them do the right things and just show them the way of the world. That’s amazing!”

“It’s something I’ve dreamed of my whole life,” adds Nikki, who was previously engaged to wrestler-actor John Cena (they called it quits in July 2018).

“So when I thought it was going to be taken, for me, it was really difficult. I was just like, ‘Gosh, I can’t imagine life without being a mom and experiencing the miracle of life and raising a child.’ I’m just so family-oriented that I couldn’t imagine not having that family life.”

Total Bellas returns this spring on E!.

For more from Nikki and Brie Bella, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

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