Human Interest

Incredible embroidered ultrasound allows blind father to ‘see’ preborn son

embroidered ultrasound

For most expectant parents, the first glimpses of their baby through ultrasound photos are joyful and exciting — a chance for early bonding with their preborn baby, and with each other. 

Expectant father Nathan Edge of Manchester, England, didn’t think he would get to experience ‘seeing’ his preborn baby. The 26-year-old has been visually impaired since the age of seven, and completely lost his eyesight at the age of 18 after two failed operations. After his baby’s  initial 12-week ultrasound, he tried to picture what his baby looked like based on others’ descriptions. He told TODAY Parents, “Being blind rarely ever gets me down — I’ve come to terms with it very well — but suddenly it hit me, ‘I’ll never be able to see this scan.’” 

After he tweeted the first ultrasound photo, Deb Fisher reached out to Edge’s girlfriend and baby’s mother, Emma Fotheringham, with an idea. Fisher is a local puppy walker for guide dogs who had met Edge at a speaking event several years ago.  “She said she was so happy for us both but sad that Nathan was unable to see our baby grow on our scan photos,” Fotheringham told Metro UK. “She said she had never embroidered before but would love to try and embroider all of our scans for Nathan to enable us to experience the joy of our baby boy growing together.” The tactile embroidery would let Nathan to see his son via touch. 

Fisher consulted with midwives to explain to her “which parts of the baby they would be looking out for that I could make stand out.” She chose different thicknesses of thread to create multiple layers, bringing a 2D ultrasound into a tactile, 3D experience. After 40 hours of work spread over three weeks — and “lots of stitching and unstitching” — Deb gave the finished project to Fotheringham, who surprised Edge with the gift. 

“I was quite emotional, it took me a few minutes to work it out,” he told People. “But normal baby scans are quite difficult to work out when you can see them.”

Edge tweeted an image of the thoughtful gift which has since gone viral. “Received this amazing surprise today… it’s an embroidered 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.”

Edge and Fotheringham are very grateful to Fisher. “It’s just amazing. I could have gone my whole life never knowing what that scan looked like,” said Edge.

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