Paralyzed Bride Rachelle Friedman Chapman Gets 'Lots of Pink' Gifts at Her Baby Shower
Rachelle Friedman Chapman sums up her recent baby shower this way: “There was lots of pink and I loved it.”
The bubbly 29-year-old is about to become a mom to a baby girl, due in April – four years after she was paralyzed from the neck down in a freak accident at her bachelorette party, when one of her bridesmaids playfully pushed her in the pool.
Chapman revealed to PEOPLE in June that she and her husband, Chris, 32, who married a year after the accident, were trying to get pregnant with the help of a surrogate. Doctors told Rachelle pregnancy wasn’t a good idea for her because of the medication she’s on that controls her blood pressure.
Rachelle’s surrogate is Laurel Humes, a 31-year-old at-home mom, a friend of the couple from college and now 33 weeks pregnant and due April 18. Rachelle and Chris learned in January they were expecting a baby girl, something only Rachelle’s mom, Carole Friedman, knew until the couple’s gender reveal party.
The shower was thrown by friends of the couple at their home in Raleigh, North Carolina. Humes traveled from her home in Asheville to join the festivities. “It was really great to be there with Rachelle and all of her friends and family,” Humes tells PEOPLE.
“We try to include each other in the milestones like the shower and the ultrasounds,” Humes says. “We did the hospital tour together. Rachelle and Chris even recorded their voices reading stories and other things and I play it for the baby at night using the belly buds Rachelle bought me so [the baby] can hear her parents’ voices.”
Of the shower, Chapman says, “We had all of our favorite people. It was kind of like our wedding where these people from all parts of our life came together to celebrate with us. Having Laurel there made the pregnancy that much more real for us. It gets more real every time we see her because the baby is right there.”
The Chapmans are busy getting ready for their little girl. The nursery will be painted turquoise and gray and wood floors will be installed so that Rachelle will be able to move around easily in her wheelchair. Her father-in-law, Robert Chapman, is working on a special crib that Rachelle will be able to access from her chair.
The Chapmans are part of a new series in production at TLC about first-time parents and their newborns. The network has been working with Rachelle and Chris to capture their pregnancy and the birth of their baby, and will be following their new adventure throughout the coming months. The series will premiere in late 2015.
The series will also feature Ashley and Tyson Gardner, a Utah couple who had two sets of identical twins.
“I am so excited to share all the daddy-daughter stuff,” Chris Chapman says. “I have no experience with girls but I keep hearing all the great stuff we’ll get to do together and I can’t wait.”
For her part, Humes is grateful the two families plan to stay in close contact once the baby comes. “We plan to be a long-term part of their lives,” Humes says. “She’ll know who I am as she grows up, and I’ll get to see her as much as I see my other nieces and nephews. It’s been a great experience doing this for someone I know and really care about.”
The couple’s shower is their last big event before the baby arrives. There were pink and white cupcakes, silly games and of course lots of tiny pink clothes for the mom-to-be to unwrap. But the best gift, Chapman says, was having Humes and all her other friends there.
“It was awesome to have her at the shower,” Chapman says. “I don’t know how we’ll ever repay her.”