A bride paralyzed in a freak bachelorette party accident is now a mom, welcoming a baby this weekend thanks to the help of an old friend who agreed to be a surrogate.
Rachelle Friedman Chapman welcomed her first child this weekend, a girl named Kaylee Rae Chapman. For Friedman, it was a moment that at one point seemed almost impossible.
Friedman’s story made national headlines in 2010, when a just a month before her wedding, a simple prank at her bachelorette party turned tragic. Friedman and her friends decided to end the night with a swim, but things took a turn when her friend tried to push Rachelle in the pool.
“It all happened very quickly,” Friedman, 25, told ABC News.
“We got home, ran upstairs and changed into our bathing suits,” she recalled. “My best friend — and she still is my best friend — she playfully pushed me in like we’ve done a million times.”
But Rachelle hit her head on the bottom of the pool and lost feeling.
“I instantly went stiff and couldn’t move,” said Friedman. “I weirdly did not panic, I kind of knew exactly what happened and I floated up to the surface and said, ‘Help!’ and then my friends called 9-1-1.”
“I remember when they were pulling me out of the water I could see my legs below me but I couldn’t feel the water on them.”
Friedman was rushed to the hospital, where doctors determined that she had broken her spinal cord and was paralyzed from the collarbone down. They told her she would never walk again.
Doctors at the Virginia Beach, Virginia, hospital quickly determined that Friedman had suffered a C6 spinal cord injury, leaving her unable to walk, or even feel sensation beneath her collarbone.
But Rachelle, who would become known as the “paralyzed bride,” would not let the injury stop her from living her life. She and husband Chris Chapman were married, and when the paralyzed bride decided she wanted a baby, they arranged for a surrogate.
Rachelle and her husband originally hoped to have their own child, but she was forced to go on blood pressure medicine that would make pregnancy too dangerous. But a college friend who heard about Rachelle’s story reached out and offered to be their surrogate.
“My husband was a sperm donor for some of our friends, a same-sex couple, and that inspired me to think about surrogacy,” Laurel Humes told People magazine at the time.
Even though she lived away from Humes, the paralyzed bride stayed close to the baby, recording her voice so the baby could get used to the sound of her mother. They were together this weekend when Humes gave birth to Kaylee, who weighed in at 7.11 lbs and was born healthy.
Soon, all of America will get to share in the story of the paralyzed bride and her baby. The Chapmans have signed on with TLC for a reality series about their lives as first-time parents.
[Image via American Mothers Blog]