Every couple announces their baby news in a way that’s special to them, whether they post a status update on Facebook or throw a full-on gender reveal party. But Amanda Diesen and Todd Krieg took an unforgettable photo to tell the world that they, too, would become parents.
Krieg had spent his childhood pursuing his love of motocross. “I’d been riding since I was, like, six years old,” he told Spinalcord.com. At the behest of his parents, he waited until he graduated high school before turning pro in the sport.
In 2012 the determined youngster made his dream of riding motocross professionally into a reality. Krieg raced in major events including the AMA Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series and the Monster Energy Supercross series before the ride that would change his life forever.
In October of 2014, the motocross rider was preparing for an impending race when he crashed his bike and hit the ground headfirst. The impact severed his spinal cord and left him paralyzed from the chest down.
“It was like being physically bound,” Krieg said, “Learning the ways to sit in my chair so I could use my hands to stay balanced. Once I learned the tips and tricks to doing more, my biggest challenge was the emotional toll – feeling better and wanting to do things but not being able to do them.”
Eventually, Krieg told another Project Walk trainer about his crush on Diesen, which she just happened to overhear. They hit it off and the rest, as they say, is history – and when he decided to move back home and start a new job in accounting, Diesen went across the country with him.
But the young racer did have help in his quest to regain control of his life. Krieg traveled from his home in Ohio to Carlsbad, California, to begin an active recovery program with Project Walk. There, staffers use advanced treatment methods, provide support and teach patients to live with their diagnoses.
One of Project Walk’s employees immediately caught Krieg’s eye – Amanda Diesen, who was a trainer at the rehab center. “I remember that the first day that I was there I saw her walk by and I just went all googly-eyed over her. With her long brown hair, she was so beautiful,” Krieg said.
Diesen told People magazine in January 2018 how the two came to value each other so much. “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. Honestly, the love that Todd and I have for each other is something I wouldn’t trade for the world,” she said.
But most importantly, she said, “Love is sacrifice and selflessness and I’m thankful that Todd has shown me that.” Soon, their love would get even bigger with the surprise development that the pair were expecting a baby together.
The couple said they dreamed of starting a family one day – but they thought that it would be difficult because of Krieg’s paralysis. “We thought that we’d need to look into devices or doctor visits or maybe even IVF,” Diesen said, adding, “We definitely didn’t think that it would be able to happen naturally.”
But it did, and to commemorate the incredible news, Krieg and Diesen did more than just share their ultrasound. They put together a hilarious photo shoot spilled broke their baby surprise while poking fun at their situation.
In the photo, Diesen is standing with one hand covering her face, her other hand holding up her ultrasound. She’s slightly embarrassed because Krieg is giving a thumbs-up to the camera directly beneath a chalk-written message that says, “It still works!”
Diesen said she came up with the idea on Pinterest. “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,’” she said.
And, she said the silly photo represented her jovial bond with Krieg. “It was great, we’re so goofy and we wanted something to portray our relationship,” she said. But the day wasn’t all about fun and games – Krieg proposed to Diesen that day, too.
Their extraordinary path to the altar – and their unexpected baby news – led the couple to share their story on a bridal website in the hopes of winning a free wedding. But it was their silly baby announcement that took the internet by storm after millions of people saw the image on Reddit.
In response to the viral response to the image, Diesen said, “We are so shocked. We’re thankful for the comments being mostly positive and for all the love and support that we received.” The couple was also ecstatic to learn that their baby-to-be was a boy – Diesen wrote on Instagram, “Anyone who knows us knows how much we wanted a boy. Never have I cried so many happy tears.”
On August 4, 2017, the engaged couple welcomed their son, Everett Jason Krieg, into the world. The pair dove right into their new responsibilities, according to Diesen. “Parenting with Todd is both fun and challenging. I’m thankful Todd is supportive and loves our son so much. We are both thankful he’s able to hold our son, feed him and occasionally change a dirty diaper!” she said.
They were also in the midst of planning their wedding, which is slated to take place in October of 2018. By that time, their son, nicknamed Rhett, should be able to walk down the aisle as ring bearer, his mom said. She also lauded her son’s cheerful demeanor and said, “Rhett’s belly laugh is my favorite! He is a really good baby.”
For Krieg, fatherhood brought a sense of peace after the unexpected turns his life had taken. “My favorite thing is hanging out with him and making him laugh and smile. Or feeding him, that really calms me down for some reason. If I’m stressed or mad and I start feeding him, it all seems to go away,” he said.