His jaw dropped seeing the 5 words his wife had secretly written for him—‘Are you serious?!’

An Alaska couple who dreamed of having children were devastated to learn their first baby was miscarried. They thought they had to wait for more than a year since the military husband was soon leaving on deployment to Afghanistan for more than nine months. But before his departure, his wife revealed a secret that left him gobsmacked.

Lindsey Brown and her husband, Ben Brown, got married in Pennsylvania in July 2016. They soon wanted to start a family of their own, so when Lindsey learned she was pregnant the next year, they were overjoyed.

“We were beyond excited to welcome our first child.” Lindsey, 24, shared, as published by Love What Matters.

But then came the terrible blow. Lindsey miscarried at about nine weeks into her pregnancy.

“We were both in a state of shock and disbelief,” Lindsey, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, told PEOPLE. “It was really hard.”

Making the situation even more gut-wrenching, Ben, a 25-year-old soldier, would soon be leaving on deployment to Afghanistan.

“Knowing he would be gone a lot for pre-deployment training between April and when he left in September, we didn’t think it was likely I would get pregnant again before he left, and figured we’d have to wait another year to even start trying for a baby again,” Lindsey explained.

“We were completely devastated.”

While the Alaska couple were saddened by their upcoming separation, albeit temporary, they decided to have a photo shoot to remember the early days of their marriage.

Three days before the photo shoot, however, Lindsey discovered she was pregnant again.

“My first reaction was to scream with excitement! Thankfully [Ben] was at work, so he couldn’t hear me,” Lindsey said.

“I knew right away I wanted to tell him in a big way, but wasn’t sure how. That’s when I contacted Melissa, the photographer, and told her the news. I wasn’t sure right away how I was going to do it, but I knew I wanted to get his reaction captured.”

Lindsey decided to keep the news from her husband, for she wanted to surprise him.

“It felt like the longest three days of my life, keeping the secret from him, but I knew it would be worth it!” Lindsey wrote.

The day finally came. When photographer Melissa asked the couple to write three qualities they love about each other on small, dry erase boards, Lindsey wrote on her board: “We are having a BABY!”

And, how did Ben react upon seeing Lindsey’s board?

“He was speechless!” Lindsey recalled. “His jaw dropped and he kept looking down at the sign and then looking up at me. He had no idea! Then he just hugged me and kept saying, ‘Are you serious?!’”

The emotional moment was all captured by the photographer, including the moment when Ben’s jaw dropped in surprise.

As Ben was about to go on deployment, the couple thought that Lindsey ought to stay with her family in Pittsburgh instead of staying in Alaska by herself.

In the time since, Ben has been keeping up with his wife’s progress with lots of calls. The two have learned that the baby is a girl.

“I’m now 28 [weeks] so we are getting into the home stretch of him coming home!” the excited mom-to-be said. “I can’t wait. It is going to be so awesome to have him back!”

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