Rachelle Friedman Chapman, who became known as the “paralyzed bride” after a freak accident at her bachelorette party, has learned she is having a girl through a surrogate – and she is thrilled, she tells PEOPLE exclusively.
“I’m so excited it’s a girl,” Chapman says.
As for her husband Chris Chapman, a science teacher, “he’s excited but scared,” she adds. “He’s an only child and there’s a lot of guys on his side of the family, so he doesn t know what its like to have or be around a little girl. But he is going to be the best dad!”
Chapman’s story made national headlines after one of her bridesmaids playfully pushed her into the pool at her bachelorette party. Chapman ended up paralyzed from the neck down.
She revealed to PEOPLE in June that she and her husband – they married a year after the accident – were trying to get pregnant with the help of a surrogate.
Doctors told Chapman pregnancy wasn’t a good idea for her because of the medication she’s on that controls her blood pressure. In January, Chapman had a party in which her mom, Carol, revealed the baby’s gender.
Chapman says that getting ready for baby is a little bit different for her as a quadriplegic. “Everyone probably scrambles to get the nursery done and decorate, but it’s not just about that for me,” she says.
“I’m going to have to get wood floors in that room right now,” she explains. “There’s carpet, and I’m honestly going to have to probably practice with a doll. I need to know what shirts, what pants are going to be easier to put on my daughter. It’s just a lot of practice.”
Chris and his dad are even building a special crib that will make it easier for Chapman to care for the baby.
“I need to be able to roll up under it, and that way the bed can be over my lap,” Chapman says. “That way I won’t have to lean over because I would have a very hard time leaning forward and grabbing a baby at the same time. Being able to roll under it and open the side of it myself, that’s what I need.”
But she says her biggest concern is one that every parent-to-be faces: “I’m worried about sleep because everyone warns you you’re not going to get any sleep. That’s probably my biggest fear. Other than that, it will be fine.”