Mum makes touching video of son born with no eyes

PHOTO: Mum makes touching video of son born with no eyes

One-year-old Christian was born with no eyes due to a rare form of cleft palate called Tessier cleft.

But that hasn't stopped his mother Lacey Buchanan from loving him and proudly showing him off to the world.

In an inspiring video uploaded onto YouTube, Lacey reveals their daily struggles, including the battles against bullies Christian has to face.

The seven-minute video has since gone viral, raking in more than a million views and counting.

Using handwritten cards, she tells the story of how she met the father of her child when she was 15 years old and fell in love.

She married her husband Chris when she was 21, and became pregnant with baby Christian when she turned 23.

"We were SO excited!!!" she wrote. At her 18th week ultrasound, the couple found out that they were having a boy, making them even more excited.

However, a week after the happy news, the couple received a call from doctors telling them that there was something wrong with the fetus. It appeared that their unborn child had developed problems. The couple were crushed.

As the baby grew in her womb, the doctors became increasingly unsure about the state of the child, warning Lacey that she had a 85 per cent chance of miscarrying.

However, the Buchanans are devout Christians and they refused to abort the baby, believing that he had a purpose and they would love him no matter what.

Lacey and Chris went to Vanderbilt Medical Center to deliver Christian in on February 18, 2011, fearing that they might not come home with their son.

The couple were delighted when Christian survived the delivery. However, their happiness was short lived. Christian's condition was much worse than doctors had predicted.

He was born with a Tessier cleft lip and palate, and was unable to even close his mouth.

Facing unkind stares and words

Facing unkind stares and words

Tessier cleft is a rare and severe cleft palate that can affect different areas of the face, such as the mouth, nose, eyes and jaws. Only 50 people around the world suffer from this condition.

Worse still, Christian was born blind - his eyes were also clefted and hence never formed in the womb.

"Our baby boy was blind. We were heartbroken,' Lacey wrote.

Four days after he was born, he had his first surgery in which doctors closed his cleft lip. He then spent four weeks in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

At first, the couple were at their wit's end on how to raise a blind child. Lacey readily admitted that 'things were hard' when Christian was finally able to return home.

The couple had to deal with unkind stares and insensitive comments from strangers. Some would would ask 'what's wrong with your kid?'. One woman even rudely chided Lacey, saying that she was 'a horrible person for not aborting Christian in utero'.

Everywhere they went, people would stare, with many pointing at Christian asking 'what's wrong with that baby?'.

However, it was Christian who won over his critics.

He started laughing and playing as he got older, and when people stared at him, he would start giggling, and strangers would giggle along with him.

Soon, people started finding Lacey on Facebook and recognising Christian from her description of him, allowing the family to make 'a ton of new friends'.

Beautiful baby

Beautiful baby

"Anyone who meets Christian falls in love with him pretty quickly," she said. Many people tell her how much her child has inspired them, and how beautiful he is.

"Those judgmental glances and whispers don't really bother me anymore," she said.

She added that she knows she did the right thing in not aborting Christian as he is a "miracle" as well as the love of her life.

Throughout the video clip, she holds Christian close to her chest, occasionally holding up pictures - including her wedding photo, a picture of her pregnant, and photos of Christian smiling and laughing - to illustrate their journey.

At the end of the video, she holds up Christian to face the camera and kisses him, proudly showing him off to the world.

Lacey, who also writes in her blog, says she was inspired to make the video after she watched a YouTube video of a woman named Lizzie, who suffered from a medical condition that distorted her facial features and made it difficult for her to gain any weight.

Lizzie has to eat every 15 minutes and looks frighteningly thin, causing many people to mistake her for an anorexic patient.

Lizzie's video resonated with Lacey, as Lizzie's trials and tribulations regarding people judging her for her looks struck a chord with Lacey.

Lizzie used flash cards which cover her face during the video to tell her story, and recounts a story of a person taking an eight second video of her, posting it on YouTube and titling it "World's Ugliest Woman".

"I can relate to knowing how it feels to look different," Lacey wrote. Although the stares are not aimed at her, they hurt no less as they are directed towards her son.

The video, uploaded in March this year, was first posted on a Christian channel named GodTube.

Inspiring others

Inspiring others

The video received 20,000 hits in just one day. It soon spawned YouTube versions and has gone viral. It is featured on several websites such as The Daily Mail and Huffington Post.

The incredible response from the public has taken Lacey by surprise, as she never thought such a simple video featuring only herself and her son would have such a powerful impact.

Since then, her Facebook has been flooded with messages and friend requests by people who have been moved by Christian's story.

"I have had people tell me that they felt sorry for themselves until they saw the video," she wrote in her blog. "Everybody has just been really positive saying how beautiful Christian is,"she added, expressing her happiness at having people outside her own family acknowledge Christian's beauty.

"'I am absolutely blown away by the response that the video has had," she wrote, thanking those who have supported them on their journey.

Lacey, who is studying law in Nashville, says that she plans to finish law school as she wants to specialise in disability advocacy law to help others like her son.