Capturing the beauty of an embryo in watercolour

By Katie Aist

Endometrial cancer took away my ability to biologically have children, but it never took away my strong desire to be a mommy

On January 10, 2017 after a hysteroscopy we thought would make it easier to conceive, my husband and I instead found out I had endometrial cancer.

Our lives flipped upside down as now doctor’s appointments, blood tests, scans, and procedures filled our lives.

For six months the goal was to try a hormone treatment to try and get rid of the cancer, but keep my fertility. On August 8 we found out it did not work, and I would have to have a hysterectomy. August 31, I woke up after my surgery knowing most likely the cancer would be gone, praise the Lord, but also knowing it would now be impossible to have biological children.

Adoption was always something my husband and I wanted to pursue, so after six months of emotional and physical healing from the previous year, and a Caribbean cruise, we started the process. Like many small businesses, my business began through the desire to raise additional funds for our sweet baby we would one day have.

It began as Katie’s Flower Shop, specialising in personalised watercolor floral wreaths as well as other commissioned pieces.

One day I got an order form that stated “Looking to have you create a watercolor of my two babies when they were embryos, please.”

This request is what launched me, months later, to begin Cherished Embryos.

I was given the treasured picture from this client of her precious babies in their very beginning stage of life, but as someone who can not have biological children, and has not been in science class in a very long time, I stared at the grainy black and white picture and did not  know what I was looking at, much less how I was supposed to paint it. Knowing the incredible significance of what I was painting, nervousness prevailed as I spent days trying various techniques and making mock up after mock up. Finally, I gave myself a little pep talk and just went for it.

Over the next couple of months, paintings for Katie’s Flower Shop continued and through adoption we became parents to our sweet, joyful little Rosie born August 8, a year later after I was told I would not be able to have biological children.

As I continued to paint more and more embryos, I recently split my art into two businesses so that the embryos could have their own home, thus creating Cherished Embryos. Families that come to me have either had children through IVF or Embryo Adoption, both of which usually have long stories of infertility attached to them.

I might not know those specific worlds, but I do know the waiting, pain and hoping that comes with that journey

Because of that, each piece is an incredible privilege and honor for me to paint. I treasure being able to hand someone a piece they will cherish forever of their sweet miracle babies.

You can connect with Katie on Facebook and Instagram, @cherishedembryos
Her business website is: Etsy www.etsy.com/shop/KatiesFlowerShop

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