Amanda Diesen and Todd Krieg didn’t think they’d ever be able to conceive children naturally — Krieg became paralyzed after a dirt bike accident in 2014 and can’t feel anything below his chest — so when Diesen became pregnant, the couple knew they needed to commemorate the occasion in a special way.
Diesen, 25, and Krieg, 23, decided on a silly pregnancy announcement photo with the words “It Still Works” written in chalk behind them. And, during the fun shoot, Krieg proposed! “It was great, we’re so goofy, and we wanted something to portray our relationship,” Diesen tells PEOPLE. “I had looked a ton on Pinterest, but there aren’t a lot of ideas for those in a wheelchair. I stumbled across one where a dad was holding a sign that said ‘I did that,’ so it gave me the idea to write, ‘It still works.’”
They posted the photo online “as a funny announcement for our friends,” she says, but it quickly went viral, garnering over 2 million views.
“I think that loving someone in Todd’s situation takes a bit more patience and a servant heart, but if you truly love someone it won’t be any different than if he were up and walking,” says Diesen. “Of course, it’s tough on me sometimes, not being able to stand up and get a hug from the person I love most, or be able to walk around in public holding hands or go running on the beach together.
“But honestly, the love that Todd and I have for each other is something I wouldn’t trade for the world.”
The couple, who entered an online contest on a bridal site to win a free wedding, had said they wanted a family — but they always figured they’d get engaged, married and then save up to have a baby. “We thought we’d need to look into devices or doctor visits or maybe even IVF,” she says. “We definitely didn’t think it would be able to happen naturally!” It’s totally different for anyone with a spinal cord injury. Todd does not feel it when stuff is going on, but is occasionally able to reach climax.” But the news she was pregnant came as a complete surprise. “We are so shocked,” Diesen continues. “We’re thankful for the comments being mostly positive and for all the love and support we have received.” And on Valentine’s Day, they found out the gender: a boy.
The couple, who live in Elyria, Ohio, with Krieg’s parents, met in September 2015 when Diesen was working as a recovery specialist at a paralysis center called Project Walk in Carlsbad, California. Krieg, who now works in accounting for a construction company, attended Project Walk.Krieg, a former professional dirt bike racer, competed in major races like the AMA Monster Energy Supercross series and the AMA Lucal Oil Pro Motocross series before his life-altering injury in October 2014. He was practicing for the 2015 race season when a crash sent him into the ground headfirst and resulted in injury to the spine. “I was first drawn to Todd’s good looks! I thought he was a total babe,” says Diesen, who is a case worker for people with developmental disabilities. “I’m also drawn to his sense of humor, and ability to put on a happy face despite the struggles and huge life-changing event he has endured.”
The two quickly fell in love and when Krieg returned to his Ohio hometown, Diesen went with him. “He’s in physical and mental pain every single day from being paralyzed. Everything takes just a little bit longer,” says Diesen. “It bothers him that I have to help a bit more with things because they’re typically easier for me — like changing the bed sheets or taking out the trash — he’s capable of all these things, it just takes me less than half the time to complete them, so of course I always appreciate when he does them, and he is always appreciative of me when I do them.” She adds: “Love is sacrifice and selflessness, and I’m thankful Todd has shown me that.”