June 25, 2013 06:00 PM

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After tying the knot in 2004, Rachael Leigh Cook and her husband Daniel Gillies are “so excited” to be expecting a baby — but that’s because they waited.

“We got married incredibly fast,” the actress, 33, told PEOPLE from the set of her TNT crime-dramaPerception.

“We got engaged after dating for maybe five months and we got married a couple of months after that. There was just so much more both of us wanted to do. We wanted to travel and accomplish a lot more in our professional lives.”

Although many people were waiting to see her pregnant — Cook says that after announcing she was expecting, many reactions included “Finally!” — she insists she and the Vampire Diaries star, 37, have no regrets waiting almost a decade into their marriage to add a baby carriage.

“We’re both people who like kids, but we weren’t jumping up and down, like, ‘Oh my God, let’s start that chapter of our lives,'” she explains. “We weren’t those kind of people. Now that we know what our lives are going to look like — sort of — for the next couple of months, we just felt like it was the right time finally. We’re not getting any younger.”

Expecting their little one this fall, Cook recalls of earlier months: “It was difficult. I was tired. I didn’t have any of the sickness, but the fatigue and all of the changes that are going on with your body on top of what goes on working a 15-hour day once you get through hair and makeup — in heels — is not that fun.”

“Luckily, I love my job. It’s just hard carrying that much more weight around. But the wardrobe’s been exceptionally accommodating and everyone’s been really sweet,” adds the She’s All That star, whose show kicks off season two on Tuesday at 10 p.m. “I started showing way sooner than I expected — I’m unavailable for any more work until the kid comes.”

— Dahvi Shira

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