THE MARIAH NETWORK

Mariah's Baby Joy!

A ready-to-pop Mariah Carey invites Life & Style inside her babies' lavish nursery.

Soon, Mariah Carey won't be the only one wailing high notes at home. The singer's been experiencing contractions for weeks, so she and husband Nick Cannon are hurriedly baby-proofing their luxe Bel-Air, Calif., estate for the imminent arrival of their twins, a son and a daughter. The couple have a lot of space to cover — and they're giving Life & Style an exclusive first peek at the newborns' breathtaking nursery.

"I wanted to create a beautiful, tranquil, cozy environment for the babies," Mariah tells Life & Style in an exclusive interview. "Everything matches, but pieces are individualized to celebrate the twins as separate entities."

Separate — but equally glam! Here, Mariah opens up about the twins' distinct personalities, what it will be like for the kids to grow up as Carey-Cannons and how the mom-to-be can't wait to not be pregnant anymore.

Is it safe to say you're in full-on nesting mode now?
After hearing so much about "nesting," I've developed a severe loathing for the word — but honestly, I have to admit that's exactly what I'm doing! Designing the LA nursery with Gail Sedigh of AFK Furniture and world-famous decorator Mario Buatta was so challenging because I had such specific ideas I wanted implemented. I feel like I'm bringing two individuals into the world, so I wanted to do more than cookie-cutter styles in blue and pink.

Do you have a favorite detail in the room?
Well, the most personal contribution I made was the ceiling. It has orangey-pink clouds in a blue sky with golden stars twinkling. It's based on two songs I wrote that are fan favorites: "Underneath the Stars" and "Close My Eyes." Sometimes I just sit in the nursery and stare at the ceiling because I love it so much. To me, it symbolizes wanting my children to dream as big as possible and to let their imaginations be unbridled.

How do you plan to instill those values in the kids?
By encouraging them to be who they are as individuals. I don't want the babies to have expectations placed on them just because they have celebrity parents.

Have you gotten advice from other famous parents?
Actually, I've been trying not to seek too much advice. Everyone has their own experiences. You can read books about pregnancy or raising twins, but at the end of the day, you can never predict what life has in store for you. You can't study how to be the perfect mom — that's not reality. You just have to try as hard as you can, pray and use your life experiences to guide you through every situation. Just love them unconditionally.

What kind of mom do you think you'll be?
Being a mother is probably the hardest job in the world. I feel like, in a lot of ways, children come into the world to teach us. It's going to be a delicate balance between raising them around glitz and glamour and keeping them grounded. One thing I'm sure of is that I'll be grateful for the twins every day, no matter what.

Do you already have an incredible bond with them?
I've been carrying them for long enough, I should hope so! But seriously, you can't help but feel a bond. They're a part of you.

Was there a specific moment you knew you were ready for motherhood?
You just know when you know. I think this is happening at just the right moment in my life.

How will your life change once the twins arrive?
It already has! Being pregnant with twins prepares you for anything that could possibly come your way in life. I know once they're here we'll get little or no sleep, but we're used to that. It seems like the main thing is to be prepared for anything — expect a lot of surprises. I imagine they'll change and enrich our lives in so many ways forever.

Will you hire nannies?
I'm working with a baby nurse I met through a good friend. She's very knowledgeable, and I am so grateful to be able to have that kind of help, especially in the beginning.

What do you imagine your first night home with the babies will be like?
Very busy!

Do they already have distinct personalities?
The girl responds to certain songs when I play them, which is hilarious to me. She'll start kicking when I play the Clark Sisters' "You Brought the Sunshine." And every time I put on my song "Fantasy," featuring ODB, she moves around a lot. Our boy seems more mellow and relaxed.

What do you call them?
It's Baby A and Baby B — that's how the doctor describes them. Then it turned into "dat boy" and "dat girl," and, as my fans know, we typically refer to them as "dem babies."

How soon after the birth will you head back to work?
I'll take it day by day. I need to be able to spend time at home to bond with the babies first. Plus, I can't even leave my puppies at home for a day without missing them — so I can't begin to imagine the separation anxiety I'll experience when I'm away from my own babies for five minutes! But believe it or not, I never stopped working, even while on bed rest. It's been therapeutic.

Have the twins inspired you musically?
Everything I go through as a woman influences me creatively. Naturally, this experience has made me feel more creative than ever. Tony Bennett actually came over to record a duet in my guest bedroom. He joked that he doesn't usually record with trios — me and the twins in my belly! It was hard to sing pregnant, but I'm glad to have that memory. I also wrote a charity record called "Save the Day" with my friends Jermaine Dupri and Randy Jackson that will be on my new album, coming soon. The next two releases — the babies! — are the most important to me, though.

Are you going to miss being pregnant at all?
A multiples pregnancy can be difficult — but it's all worth it. If anything, I'll remember the incredible feeling of having them kick inside me. But I'm ready to have my body be my own again. Plus, I miss wearing heels — I couldn't wear them now if I tried!

Will your family be complete at four?
It would take a much stronger person than me to go through this again! I have so much more respect for other women now. So I feel doubly blessed to have such a perfect start to our family. Everybody dreams of having a boy and a girl. Being pregnant with twins is beautiful and indescribable — but I'm ready to be done. We're almost home.