"It’s just amazing. I could have gone my whole life never knowing what that scan looked like," the overjoyed dad-to-be said.
Soon-to-be dad Nathan Edge received the most heartwarming surprise recently when his pregnant girlfriend, Emma Fotheringham, and dear friend Deb Fisher gave him the gift of "seeing" his unborn child. Speaking to TODAY, the 26-year-old from Mansfield, England — who went completely blind seven years ago — admitted that he had felt a bit down after his partner's 12-week ultrasound as he couldn't experience the excitement and joy of seeing his growing baby. "When we got home, we shared the scans with our family and everybody was getting excited about seeing the baby for the first time," he said.
"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,'" Edge added. That's when Fisher, a local guide dog trainer, reached out to Fotheringham with a heartwarming solution. Despite having no experience whatsoever, she pledged to embroider a replica of the antenatal scan so that the father-to-be would also get to join in on the joys of parenthood by "seeing" his child through a tactile version of the image through his fingertips.
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
"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," Fotheringham told PEOPLE. "I couldn't believe someone could be so kind and thoughtful and knew it would be something very special for Nathan." Fisher, who also comes from the former coal-mining town of Mansfield in Nottinghamshire, explained that she'd been planning to get into embroidery for a while and that she soon found out how much she'd underestimated the skills require to translate the scan into stitches on fabric.
"I have been intending to do some embroidery, I thought it can’t be hard," said Fisher. "There was lots of stitching and unstitching." It didn't help that grainy ultrasound scans are hard to read for the untrained eye and Fisher eventually had to consult a midwife to tell her "which parts of the baby they would be looking out for that I could make stand out." Although it ended up taking her 40 hours of hard work over three weeks, the novice embroiderer ultimately managed to produce something Edge and Fotheringham will surely treasure forever. "I tried to imagine what he looked like using other people's descriptions," said Edge. "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."
"I just can't thank Deb enough, it's such a thoughtful generous thing to do for me"— Sky News (@SkyNews) December 15, 2020
Blind father-to-be Nathan Edge was unable to see the first ultrasound scan of his baby, so a friend created an embroidery so that he can build up a picture of what his baby looks like pic.twitter.com/DXTNd8z80T
"Emma had been planning it for a few weeks. But she was able to not let me find out about it until it was finished," he explained. "I was quite emotional, it took me a few minutes to work it out. But normal baby scans are quite difficult to work out when you can see them." Speaking of parenthood, Edge — who has played soccer for England’s blind team — added: "It is very exciting about becoming a dad, a little bit scary, but I am definitely excited." Moved by the thought and hard work behind the heartwarming gift, he took to Twitter to share a photograph of the embroidered scan and thank Fisher for her spending hours on it.
Nathan lost his sight as a teenager.— ITV News Central (@ITVCentral) December 16, 2020
He's been given 'the best Christmas present ever' - which lets him get to know his baby ♥️ 🎄 👶
Read more: https://t.co/RvVlA7Ty2U@GuideDogAbby @NathanEdge94 @NathanandEmma94 @RNIB #kindness pic.twitter.com/aX6P6tYTsr
"How incredible is this. 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. Can’t describe how amazing this is," he wrote in a tweet that has now gone viral. "I should add... My partner Emma has been in on the secret for a couple of weeks now and I’ve since found out that the lady who created this has spent many hours and it’s taken many attempts as she wanted it to be perfect. It definitely is."
Currently the only options really available are 3D scans that are somewhat expensive, or the luck of having a thoughtful friend who's willing to put time and effort into creating an embroidery,— Nathan Edge (@NathanEdge94) December 17, 2020