Exclusive New Photos! Paralyzed Bride Says She Loves Being a Mom
They made it out of the house!
It was a big adventure for the paralyzed bride, her husband, mother and brand new baby Kaylee Rae this week as they ventured out for the first time since bringing her home from the hospital on April 29.
It was good, we took her in the stroller and went to have lunch and do some shopping, 29-year-old Rachelle Friedman Chapman tells PEOPLE.
She likes movement, so car rides and time in the stroller are great,” she says. “As soon as you stop moving though she starts crying so we kept circling the store with the stroller.
The new mom is still adapting to the new addition, born via surrogate after doctors told Rachelle her blood pressure medication would make pregnancy dangerous.
Paralyzed from the chest down after a May 2010 accident at her bachelorette party, Rachelle has limited use of her fingers, hands and arms.
So for now, diaper duty is strictly Daddy duty.
It may be awhile before I get diapers down,” she says. “It s hard to practice because it takes time, and we always have to change her as quickly as possible.
“Chris is doing all the diapers,” she says, “and I try to be the sole person feeding her. I want her to associate me with doing something for her, so I try to feed her every time.
Rachelle is also getting advice from friends she has made in the spinal-cord injury community. There are the guys on her wheelchair rugby team who all have kids, and people she has met through Facebook.
The biggest challenge so far besides diapers? Burping her baby.
After I feed her I have a hard time burping her and supporting her head at the same time,” she says. “I know if I had finger function it would be no problem.
It’s a good thing she has plenty of help.
Her husband Chris, 33, a middle-school science teacher at a year-round school, has taken off without pay until June. And her mom also lives with the couple during the week as she has since the accident.
In a perfect world I would be able to jump right out of bed and do all these things,” she says, “but I have help and Kaylee has a lot of people who love her very much.
For much more on Rachelle Friedman Chapman’s story, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday