A friend found a clever way to include this father-to-be.
Nathan Edge’s first child will be born in a few months, but he won’t see his baby’s face. The 26-year-old new father has been completely blind since the age of 7.
When his partner had an ultrasound at 12 weeks of pregnancy, Edge experienced the sadness of not being able to see that first image of their child. In response, a family friend gave him a nice surprise!
Seeing with his hands
Getting the first ultrasound is an exciting moment. It’s when we first put a face to someone who is there but whose presence is only suggested by the positive pregnancy test and, for some moms, the infamous nausea.
The new life is hidden and still silent in the mother’s belly, present but invisible. Parents always have a great desire to see their child for the first time. We’re all rational adults, but when you enter that room you almost get the impression that the ultrasound scanner is more magical than technical.
Seeing allows us to take a lot of things for granted. The exceptions have the blessed effect of making us marvel at the norm. This story of Nathan Edge restores and multiplies our wonder at seeing a child growing in the womb!
Edge shared on Twitter the incredible joy he felt when he received a gift from family friend Deb Fisher: She took the ultrasound photo brought home by Nathan’s partner, Emma Fotheringham, and turned it into embroidery. The result was an embossed image, and by using his sense of touch, Nathan was able to “see” the image.
“I tried to imagine what he looked like using other people’s descriptions,” Edge told Today. “But now I’m able to build a proper picture of my baby. It’s just amazing. I could have gone my whole life never knowing what that scan looked like.”
How incredible is this 😍— Nathan Edge (@NathanEdge94) December 10, 2020
Received this amazing surprise today… it’s an embroided tactile version of our 12 week baby scan, so for the first time as a blind dad to be, I’m able to build a picture of our baby scan through touch ❤️
Can’t describe how amazing this is 😍 pic.twitter.com/3Qm01MlzhS
The whole family had shared in the joy of seeing the baby when Emma returned from the doctor’s office, and Nathan had felt excluded from this important moment. It is said that friends are revealed in times of need, and Deb’s insight was indeed was a providential gift.
I can imagine it wasn’t just a gift for daddy. Mommy Emma must have enjoyed the wonder of that embroidery, too.
Deb Fisher, the friend who came up with the great idea, is a dog trainer by profession, and says that she’s not an expert in embroidery.
“I have been intending to do some embroidery, I thought it can’t be hard,” Fisher told People, “There was lots of stitching and unstitching.”
The enthusiasm of amateurs like Deb is truly admirable. When we realize we have a good idea, we start with a lot of motivation. But will we be good at it? It’s one of those questions we’d do well to forget. We can throw ourselves into a worthwhile project even if we have no skills, and learn along the way.
Sewing and unsewing, making and remaking. I wonder what Deb was thinking about while she was sewing and unsewing? It was while mulling over this question that I started poking around.
First, I discovered that it’s not uncommon to embroider one’s child’s ultrasound. Particularly in the U.S., there are many mothers or embroidery enthusiasts who are dedicated to this activity. There are those who do it for themselves and those who make embroidery of ultrasounds on commission. On YouTube there are some tutorials, so those who want to try their hand at the task can find concrete instructions.
Creativity and creation
This multitude of embroiderers (and I think the same applies to other wonderful activities that are dismissed as mere hobbies) has confirmed a suspicion for me: Human beings need and want to make things. We enjoy making something with our hands, because we feel a little of the same joy God felt when he created. Creativity is the cheerful little sister of Creation.
But manual labor is increasingly disappearing from our days. We tap away on keyboards, we swipe left and right, and little else. What suffers most is our brains, which deserve the calmer pace of a less frenetic time than endless emails, chats and channel surfing.
Certain activities such as embroidery are relegated to the sphere of hobbies, but they are still worthy of our time and attention. “Hobby” is not a word in a lower category than the highly respected word “work.” To have a hobby means to use a fragment of free time—free as God was when he created the world.
It’s not by chance that, in the Bible, the creation of man is associated with thread work, precisely in a Psalm, in a text bursting with wonder:
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. (Psalm 139)
And exegetes tell us that the original Hebrew verb is “raqàm,” to weave with colored threads.
The news of the blind dad who “saw” his son’s ultrasound, thanks to embroidery, awakened a desire within me. I wish I too could retrieve my children’s sonograms and embroider them. And while embroidering I could pray, and while praying I could meditate on the wonder of life.