Rachelle Friedman was just weeks away from her dream wedding when her life changed in an instant.
On May 23, 2010, Rachelle was surrounded by friends at her bachelorette party. After an evening of fun and dancing, the women decided to go for a moonlight swim. The bride-to-be was standing on the side of the pool when a friend playfully pushed her in. Rachelle went in head first and broke her neck upon impact, sustaining a C6 spinal cord injury. She was paralyzed for life.
Rachelle and her fiancé, Chris, delayed the wedding so she could undergo rehabilitation. As their story garnered national media attention, the couple remained focused on each other and rebuilding their lives together.
Though it's been a challenging road, Rachelle and Chris, now married, have adjusted to their new lives. The couple tells "Oprah: Where Are They Now?" that they are also working toward the next big step in their lives together: parenthood.
Becoming a mother is so important to Rachelle that it was on her mind in the moments immediately following her accident. "I actually remember asking one of the EMTs by the pool, 'Am I still able to have children?'" Rachelle says. "They said yes."
Though her paralysis doesn't impede her ability to carry a child, the side effects from Rachelle's injury require her to take medications that are not conducive to pregnancy. Because of that, Rachelle is turning toward a different method for having a biological child.
"We really did want to have a biological child, a child that we made together," Rachelle says. "The best way to do that is through surrogacy."
An old college friend of the couple's volunteered to be their surrogate. Both Chris and Rachelle were thrilled.
"I was so excited when she offered to be our surrogate," Rachelle says. "Without her help, I really don't think this could have happened for us."
Chris adds, "By the end of August, we hope to know whether we're pregnant and well on our way."
In the meantime, Rachelle remains focused on staying active, rebuilding her independence and staying positive. She also explains why she has never been angry at the friend who pushed her in the pool.
"Sometimes really bad things happen to people, and they're just accidents," Rachelle says. "You can choose to move forward with positivity or not. It's just, in my opinion, a lot easier to just move on with positivity."
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