Nothing quite gets a reaction on social media like a video of an adorable baby hearing her mom say “I love you” for the first time. Christy Keane found that out when she shared a video of her 2-month-old daughter Charlotte getting her hearing aids put in, and within days, the cute clip hit over a million views on Facebook.
“I was not expecting such a large response to the post,” Christy told GoodHousekeeping.com in a phone interview Thursday. The video now has over 10 million views, about 155,000 likes and close to 200,000 shares.
Christy says she did not initially plan on making the video public, but when relatives asked her to do so in order to share it with their friends, the stay-at-home mother of two happily obliged. “I thought, ‘Oh, what’s the harm? I’ll make it public,” she says. “And then, I think I woke up the next day with a thousand shares and by Monday it had hit a million.”
“CHARLY HEARS FOR THE FIRST TIME AND HEARS ME SAY I LOVE YOU FOR THE FIRST TIME!!!,” Christy captioned the video. “And she’s holding back happy tears and emotional as her mama.”
“I had never in my life seen that face before,” Christy says of her daughter’s emotional reaction. “I’m her mother, and I know the look in her eyes when she’s sad, upset or hurting, and that connection, and that moment when our eyes met and she heard my voice for the first time, that was true emotion from her.” Charlotte’s father, Daniel, filmed the video that was posted online, and Christy says the military dad also got choked up when he saw his newborn’s face.
“He was as emotional as I was,” Christy says. “All this time that we had spent sad that she wasn’t able to hear us, all that pain went away.” The hearing aids were given to the family from donors, and were at no cost to the Keanes. But before this miraculous moment took place, it had been a challenging two months for the young parents from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Christy says throughout her pregnancy she had no warning that her daughter may be deaf, so the news that Charlotte was born with hearing loss came as a total surprise to the couple. Neither Christy or her husband have a history of hearing loss in their families. “It was shocking,” Christy says. “I had never met a deaf person in my life until my daughter.”
Within the first 24 hours of Charlotte’s birth on August 2, doctors initially dismissed the hearing loss as fluid blockage. However, Christy says further testing concluded that Charlotte has bilateral profound congenital hearing loss, which can occur in one of out every 1,000 to 2,000 births, according to The American Hearing Research Foundation.
It still feels strange to say out loud- our daughter is deaf. To be honest, it still doesn’t fully seem real. Like what? How can this sweet, perfect baby not hear me? She never heard me tell her how much I prayed for her when she was in my belly, she never heard me welcome her in to the world, she’s never heard me sing her to sleep-and the hardest to handle- she’s never heard me say “I love you”. Sometimes I worry the darkness and silence must feel overwhelmingly lonely and scary for her at night. I pray my touch and presence is enough to reassure her throughout the day. There are still heartbreaking truths in our otherwise hopeful situation- but I choose not to dwell on that too much. When this sweet child locks her eyes on mine, I just know she feels our love for her, our protection, and our hopes. . This #deafawarenessweek I want you all to know I am so PROUD to be the mother of a deaf child. To me, Charly is perfect and I wouldn’t change her for the world. God chose her for our family and the perspective and love she has brought to our lives in the last 7 weeks is overwhelming and amazing. My only hope is that our story may change your perspective as well and that you all choose to embrace her with your love and support as we embark on her hearing journey! . Today, my darling Charly, You wont know our voices, but you will know our touch, our smell, and our eyes. Is that enough? I pray it is. No- it WILL be! It has to be for now, and we will make sure all of your needs are met with everything that we have. You won’t hear us tell you “I love you”, but I promise you will feel it. With every touch, look, and smile, you will feel our love surrounding you sweet girl. No matter what this journey brings, we will love you through it. Today, and everyday, hearing or not, I am so proud to be your mom, I am so happy you were promised to our family. I can’t wait to witness your miracles and watch you move mountains. #darlingcharly#charlyshearingjourney#profoundhearingloss#deaf#cochlearimplants#CIjourney#cochlear#congenitalhearingloss
“She has very profound hearing loss and is not and will not be cured,” Christy says. “She will always be deaf and we can not tell what degree of hearing the aids are giving her, we just know she’s showing great and positive responses.”
The family is also exploring with American Sign Language to help them communicate better in the future, and plan to get Charlotte cochlear implants when she is closer to a year old. Cochlear implants are different than hearing aids in that they essentially do the work of the damaged parts, the company behind the implants states. Hearing aids only amplify the sounds.
In the meantime, Christy says her daughter is enjoying hearing her older 2-year-old sister Cameron’s voice, and Charlotte is working with a speech therapist to help her learn how to talk. As for Christy, she says the experience has been life-changing. “She’s taught me so much about connection, engagement and perspective that I otherwise wouldn’t have even had the possibility of knowing,” she says. “Every day, we experience a miracle when we put her hearing aids in and get to see her smile.”