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Paralyzed Bride Rachelle Friedman Expecting First Child with Help of Surrogate (VIDEO)

Paralyzed Bride Rachelle Friedman: Surrogate Pregnant
Chris Chapman and Rachelle Friedman
Martha Manning

08/29/2014 AT 11:05 AM EDT

Rachelle Friedman was afraid to get too excited. But once she saw the image on the sonogram and heard her baby's heartbeat, she let herself feel the full force of her joy.

"I was so nervous," Friedman, 28, tells PEOPLE of her first glimpse of her 6-week-old future son or daughter. "It was super awesome. We went into a room and they pulled it up on the screen. It was so small, and the doctor pointed it out to me, and I was so excited."

Friedman was paralyzed from the chest down in a freak accident four years ago. She revealed to PEOPLE in June that she and husband Chris Chapman, 31 – who married a year after the accident – were trying to get pregnant with the help of a gestational surrogate.

Friedman initially hoped she could become pregnant herself, but doctors told her the blood pressure medication she needs to take wouldn't be safe for a fetus.

Friedman's college friend, Laurel Humes, a stay-at-home mom, had followed her pal's story and seen Freidman's blog post about seeking a surrogate. The three traveled to California for the procedure, and this week Friedman visited Asheville, North Carolina, to see the baby's heartbeat and confirm the pregnancy.



Chapman, a teacher in Raleigh, North Carolina, where the couple lives couldn’t be there, so Friedman video-chatted with him, holding her phone up to the ultrasound and letting the doctor explain what he was seeing.

“He turned up the heartbeat, and we could both hear it," Friedman says. "It was amazing!"

The couple have decided to wait a few months to learn the baby's sex. Friedman wants to host a big reveal party for friends and family, where they'll all find out together.

"Seeing the baby today was pretty overwhelming because it's so real now," Friedman says. "We've been talking about this for a while – it's been an idea in our heads, so it's pretty incredible. It's like, that's me and Chris's kid. It's just crazy to hear the heartbeat of our child."



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