On a recent morning in the New York City home she shares with Nick Cannon, Mariah Carey tells Us she felt at peace. "Nick was sleeping. I was lying in bed next to him," says Carey, who, on October 28, finally confirmed the news that Us was first to break: She's expecting her first child. "I was like, Oh, this is a real feeling of contentment."
Getting there wasn't easy. After their six-week courtship and April 2008 wedding, Carey, 40, got pregnant. But early in her second trimester, she suffered a miscarriage. The singer cried herself to sleep many nights, but she and Cannon, 30, host of NBC's America's Got Talent, didn't give up. Carey began taking progesterone, a hormone that is often prescribed to boost fertility and support or help maintain pregnancy in women susceptible to miscarriage — and earlier this year, they conceived. With their baby due this spring, Carey, whose album Merry Christmas II You is out now, and Cannon open up to Us' Melanie Bromley.
Congratulations! How do you feel?
MC I'm very happy. But there's other stuff that comes along with pregnancy, physically: I'm sleepy and in a constant state of nausea! I can kind of control it if I just calm down and don't throw up. It's not great for a singer to throw up! My little trick is Dr. Brown's soda. It's syrupy, so that helps.
Tell Us how you found out you were pregnant.
MC We were at home in L.A. and I did a pee test, and then I did another and another. At one point I had, like, a collection in my bathroom! Those things aren't always accurate. I'm about taking blood and all that, really. So I was like, Let me just make sure.
What made you take a test? Had you missed a period?
MC Yeah. We had been trying, so every month we checked. I did the first test alone, then I showed Nick. We were both really excited, and then I said, "Come on, let's do another one!" And that's how it went.
NC We had all these pregnancy tests around that said yes, yes, yes. It was cool! Just seeing the joy on Mariah's face was priceless. Knowing everything that she went through, it was wonderful. Obviously, I was happy for our child, but even more so, to see her relief and excitement was awesome.
Did you cry?
NC We definitely cried! We still cry all the time. It's an emotional journey. Every time we hear some news about the baby, it's so emotional. We love it.
It must have been an amazing moment, especially after going through the miscarriage two years ago.
MC When we first got pregnant back then it was quick, so we just assumed everything would be easy.
NC At that point, we had been married a little more than a half a year, and everything was going as planned. It was all wonderful, and then we were hit with a devastating blow out of nowhere. It was around the holidays, and we have other family members who have little babies... Seeing other people with their families when we were just preparing to create ours took its toll.
MC It was kind of tough, because I had to go through two medical procedures after that. I didn't share what happened with anybody. Nobody in my family knew. I was a little bit depressed, and Nick and I went through that alone. It really did strengthen our relationship.
How did you get through that time?
NC We both have a spiritual foundation, and she tapped into that. She read the Bible every night before she went to sleep. She prayed and spent time meditating and focusing within.
MC It's making me very emotional even to think about it, but he was very strong for me.
NC To hear that is surprising, because I was always enamored by how well she was handling it. We had already started doing the planning, and then suddenly that goes away and you have to continue on with your life.
MC That's what being with the right person means. It's not just when everything is fantastic. It's when you go through the ups and downs and you don't really know the outcome. And, thank God, everything was all right and the doctor wasn't saying, "You can't get pregnant." At least it wasn't that type of a situation.
When did you feel like you could try again?
NC It wasn't a set date. We just took it one day at a time. The doctor didn't want her to be stressed. When women want to have children, they often focus on just that. So I encouraged her to work on another album to get her mind off it.
MC I dove into my music.
NC I would always say, "It's in God's hands. God will give us a child when the time is right." And our sex life is amazing, so it could be any month. We were always practicing!
There are reports that you did IVF to get pregnant. Did you use fertility methods, besides taking progesterone?
NC No, not at all. But Mariah had acupuncture, all over her body. I think it helped her quite a bit, because it was a good destressor. She had it done once a day!
How else did you help her stay calm?
NC I feel like it's my husbandly duty to make sure nobody stresses her out! We spent a lot of time eating popcorn in bed, watching our favorite DVDs: Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown, every season of The Wite. And we would watch Bruno over and over!
Nick's so attentive!
MC He always does stuff for me. The other day, he came home with some flowers and butterfly balloons from this really cute place — and a pizza! We're in New York now after spending so much time in L.A., and with all due respect to everybody, they don't know how to make a pizza there!
What are your other cravings?
MC Roasted red peppers! I haven't had them in so long.
NC And McDonald's. I think I have probably more cravings than she does! We order McDonald's in the middle of the night, so we have to find a 24-hour one. She likes a cheeseburger and fries, and I always want to get a milk shake.
How is your body changing?
MC Well, there's the obvious weight gain. I'm looking forward to working out again! The progesterone makes you really, really bloated and super-ugh feeling.
You love fashion. What have you been wearing?
MC I've definitely changed my way of dressing a lot! Nothing fits right now, so around the house I wear pajamas. I have three sets of the same pair: It's like a little dress and these long, loose pants. And I'm constantly wearing a bra! TMI! But it's true. I need it for comfort.
Are you nervous about giving birth?
MC Yes! I'm very scared. I look at those people who give birth in the water, because that's my most comfortable place, but there's no way I would do that. The other thing is privacy. How do you have privacy in a hospital? I have to scope it out. I have a friend who just had a baby, and she had a whole suite. I'll need to explore that!
Do you know the sex of the baby?
MC We don't know.
NC We're just hoping for a beautiful and healthy baby!
What kind of parents do you want to be?
MC You always want to give your kids everything you ever wanted. I knew I didn't want to embark on this journey without a life partner, a husband, because I grew up in a single-parent situation. [Carey's parents divorced when she was 3.] My mom tried very hard to make everything nice, and she did a good job, but I always felt that if I ever had kids I'd give them as much normalcy as possible — which is difficult in this business!
What about you, Nick?
NC I learned so much from my father and my grandfather, so I want to apply everything that they taught me. And Will Smith, who discovered me, had been like a big brother to me since I was 17. He's done such a wonderful job with his kids. Mariah's going to be the most amazing mom ever. She's a nurturing spirit. She's the type of person who, no matter who comes around, wants to make sure everybody's all right.
MC I have a lot to learn. Being a parent is a huge responsibility.
Are you reading up on the baby's growth?
NC We're definitely doing our research! We have all the books. I'm an internet geek, so I'm always online. We get excited at every checkup — just the fact that it's been another week or another month and everything is A-OK. That's all we care about.
What are you most looking forward to about being parents?
NC Teaching my child about love and being the best role model I can possibly be.
MC The first thing that comes to mind is music. I would love to see if that is a factor, you know? Because I really do feel like that's something that's handed down, and it's-in-the-family thing. My mom's a singer, and we have a duet on my Christmas album.
When you look at Nick and think, I'm going to be the mother of his child, how do you feel?
MC It amazes me. He's a great person, and we have more in common than not. I know people initially were like, "What? Those two?" But I think people know us get it.