Today, Yahoo! Shine posted an update on Rachelle Friedman, known briefly as the ‘paralyzed bride.’
Rachelle’s story made international headlines in 2010 when she was pushed into a pool at her bachelorette party and suffered a C6 spinal cord injury. A year later, she married the love of her life, but was uncertain if she would ever be able to have a child. Thanks to her blog, a friend has volunteered to be her surrogate, so it looks like Rachelle’s dream will come true after all.
Read more of this wonderful story below:
“The first thing I asked was, ‘Can I still have kids?'” Friedman, who lives in Knightdale, N.C., tells Yahoo Shine about the day that she found out she was paralyzed from the chest down and would be confined to a wheelchair. Although the answer was yes, eventually Friedman realized that it was too risky to go off of the medicine that she takes every day to regulate her blood pressure in addition to pain medication she relies on. She wrote a blog post about the decision to look for a surrogate, and suddenly an old friend, Laurel Humes, reached out, offering herself up for the job.
For Friedman, who became friends with Humes while at East Carolina University but lost touch after her accident, Humes’s offer was a true gift. The old friends reconnected and met several times in person. The California-based organization Surrogacy Together also saw Friedman’s initial blog post and offered to help defray some of the medical costs of the surrogacy. Despite the group’s offer, though, Friedman and Chapman still needed to pay for travel, accommodations, and other fees associated with the surrogacy and have started a GoFundMe page for people who want to help.
“People think that because we can’t afford a surrogate, we can’t afford a child,” Friedman says about some of the feedback she’s gotten about the fundraising campaign, but she stresses that short-term costs and long-term costs are very different things and explains that her family is financially stable otherwise. “People think that because the surrogate has come forward, that’s the cost. But you have to look at $5,000 for hormone meds for each of us, the cost of genetic testing, travel for both of us cross-country. We’re still hoping to fundraise.”
She also has had some suggest that the friend who initially pushed her into the pool, causing her injury, should have stepped up as a surrogate, but Friedman disagrees with that. “I don’t want my child’s life to start out of guilt,” she insists. The fact that Humes and her husband, Charlie, already had a child of their own was also an important factor, says Friedman: “She already is a mom and knows what it takes.”
So far, Friedman has already gone through a round of egg harvesting, and there are four healthy embryos in California waiting for Humes. If the pregnancy takes on the first try in August, Friedman and Chapman could become parents in May or June 2015.
Friedman’s work as a writer and motivational speaker has helped change the way that people think about the disabled, and now she hopes to change the public perception of surrogacy and eliminate some of the stigmas and stereotypes. Her future son or daughter will know Humes and know the story of his or her birth. “Our kid will know her and what she did for us. I plan on being friends with Laurel forever.”