The paralyzed bride has a custom-built crib that perfectly fits her wheelchair
Rachelle Friedman Chapman and Chris Chapman have made sure their new baby Kaylee Rae is surrounded by love.
Since welcoming her via surrogate on April 26, the new parents have gotten used to life with a newborn.
The young family ventured out for an afternoon stroll earlier this week, and they’re also enjoying spending time with Kaylee in her newly decorated nursery.
The paralyzed bride says she spent months working on the nursery, but like many new parents, she admits she and Chris, 33, had to scramble to finish it before the baby was born.
Chris is kind of a procrastinator. Six months ago, I was like, ‘We need to get this done,’ and it came down to the wire. We kind of threw it together in the last few weeks,” Rachelle, 29, of Knightdale, North Carolina, tells PEOPLE.
The focal point of the nursery, which is painted seafoam green and gray, is a specially designed crib that fits Rachelle’s wheelchair.
Rachelle became known as the “paralyzed bride” after a freak accident at a bachelorette party four years ago left her paralyzed from the chest down.
Doctors later told Rachelle that a medicine she takes for her blood pressure could be dangerous to her and a developing fetus if she were to get pregnant.
Rachelle was heartbroken – until her college friend, Laurel Humes, 32, heard her story and reached out about being a surrogate.
Humes gifted the future mom with a special necklace during the pregnancy, and she also gave the couple the crib she used when her 3-year-old son Avett was a baby.
The crib was custom-built by a furniture maker in the Raleigh area who made alterations so that the new mom’s wheelchair can fit under it. In addition to the specially designed crib, the couple transformed a children’s desk into a changing table.
“My chair fits perfectly in the open space, and when she grows up, it will be her desk.” Rachelle says.
For now, diaper duty is Chris’ job, while Rachelle focuses on feeding time.
“It’s been teamwork all the way since we brought Kaylee home,” Rachelle says. “I do the feedings and Chris does the clothing and diaper changes.”
They’re also working together to put the finishing touches on the nursery.
They recently hung a print Rachelle’s mom created for her granddaughter. The leaves are made from the fingerprints of all their friends.
And they’re planning to transform the wall over the changing table into a gallery of framed black-and-white photos of Kaylee.
But the decorating can wait – the couple’s priority now is showering baby Kaylee with lots of love and attention.
“I’m exhausted, but I’m just so excited right now. I love introducing her to everyone. My extended family has been here, so have our best friends. There are a lot of people who love her.”
For much more on Rachelle Friedman Chapman’s story, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday