Deena Cortese is about to graduate from meatball to mommy.
The Jersey Shore star will welcome her first child, a son, with husband Christopher Buckner in December — and she can hardly wait.
“We’ve been getting the baby’s room ready. I just had my baby shower, so we got most of our stuff,” Cortese tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “We’re just anxiously waiting for him to arrive. I’m so excited, and now he’s moving more. It’s just amazing. We can’t wait for him to be here.”
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Cortese says Buckner has already forged a bond with his son.
“Every time he comes home, he talks to the baby,” she says. “And I feel like he’s starting to know his dad’s voice, because every time he hears it, he moves.”
Baby Christopher John will be named after Buckner and Cortese’s father John Cortese, who died in 2016 after a battle with leukemia.
“I get to name him after my dad and my husband,” says the mom-to-be. “It’s perfect.”
That’s not the only way the MTV star is honoring her late dad: On the Nov. 29 episode of Jersey Shore Family Vacation, Cortese and her costars will host a cancer charity benefit, donating the proceeds to Be The Match, the world’s largest and most diverse marrow registry.
“One of the cures for leukemia is bone marrow transplant, and not many people even know about it,” Cortese says. “Be The Match is a huge donor bank, it operates around the entire world. So we thought, let’s bring awareness to that.”
“I think it’s going to be nice for the fans to see us in a different light, doing something that’s for a good cause,” she adds. “And it’s something that’s close to so many of us.”
RELATED: Bump Love! See Jenni “JWoww” Farley and Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi Rub Deena Cortese’s Baby Belly
And while she admits filming pregnant is “definitely harder,” Cortese says the cast has been nothing but supportive — especially besties Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and Jenni “JWoww” Farley.
“Everybody makes me feel super comfortable,” she says. “Jenni and Nicole have been amazing. If I have any issues or questions, I go to them. They usually make me feel better if I’m nervous about something. They’re great moms, so whatever advice they want to give me, I take it.”
Jersey Shore Family Vacation airs Thursdays (8 p.m. ET) on MTV.
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