MARTHA: We found out together at the doctor that, she came in doing the happy dance, you're pregnant! It's been a few years we'd been trying to have a child, and were very excited. At seven moths they induced labor because she was no longer growing and I was very sick. So it was time to have her come visit. And I'm sure everybody feels this way, but I have never seen anything more beautiful than my child. Just absolutely gorgeous.
HUSBAND: Three pounds, ten ounces?
MARTHA: That's right. The hearing test they did the very last day before we were supposed to leave, and couldn't get that machine to work for nothing. So we go back to the hospital, by golly, that machine still wasn't working. Nothing...nothing. So the following week I could hear the sounds they were putting in her ears, I said, "Ok, we have alive and breathing. Everything else is gravy. Just tell me how bad?" And she said, "In layman's term, she's deaf." When a school for the deaf told me that she did not have enough hearing to learn how to talk, I left that meeting bawling like a baby. That same day, we saw the E.N.T. doctor, who said, "It may not be as bad as you might think. Technology's coming. Let's see what we can do to stimulate." I had to choose if I wanted her to speak. Signing, she can learn later. Spoken language, it had to start then. I didn't want her to not be part of the deaf world. I just wanted my daughter to be able to do whatever she chose to do with her life.
HUSBAND: that's Sara with her new hearing aid.
MARTHA: It's not just one visit to the audiologist, get a set of hearing aids, and it's done. It doesn't work like that. It's a constant adjustment, constant making sure that you've got good ear molds. It's an early intervention program, home therapy, there's Cochlear implants, it's constantly making sure that she's hearing the best she can hear. It's expensive and we were struggling. We went to a pediatrician and he says, "Have you heard about that new insurance, that children's health insurance? You need to go and get Sara on it." And what a difference.
ANNOUNCER: In this exercise, Martha Soltani is working with her 7-month-old daughter Sara.
MARTHA: At first it was very slow. I didn't think we'd ever get the sounds out. It was easy to get stuck and lose faith. I was like maybe these people I'm working with are wrong. And I thought, "Ok, these people were put in your path for a reason. Have a little faith." And I did, and I just kept plugging at it. When she first said "momma," it came out "bubba." But you know when you get that one word, that is a reward. That one word, that's all you need as a mother, then if it came out as bubba. And then "bubba" turned into "momma," it was a beautiful day, it was a beautiful day. Wow, what kind of woman is my child? She is everything that I could ever dreamed, and more. She truly is. She is ... I never dreamed we would have this much. I always thought, you know, maybe she'll need help with this, maybe she'll need help with... she does it on her own. She is independent, she knows what she wants to do in her life. She's focused and smart and hardworking and every attribute you could want in your child, she is. I can't be prouder. I really can't.
SARA: I've had people tell me that I would never be able to get good grades, I'd never be able to be normal, I would never be able to have a lot of friends. It's something that I've continually, like a mountain, I've climbed over, over my entire life.
MARTHA: She's able to communicate with both signing deaf people and oral deaf people.
SARA: It's just not something that's holding me back.
INTERVIEWER: When did you first hear about this connection?
SARA: Well, I had no idea. My mother told me and she said, "Oh, actually Hillary Clinton has a lot to do with this."
MARTHA: I was sitting in front of the TV and watching the convention. And it said she did work on the Children's Defense Fund for children with disabilities to be able to attend public school, and that she'd done work on the Children's Health Insurance. And I went "Really!" I didn't know that.
SARA: I was like, "Ok, so why are you making a big deal out of this?" And she's like, "Well that's how we could get you hearing aids." That's also how we could afford my first implant. That actually made a huge difference in my life because if I didn't get those hearing aids at such an early age,
MARTHA: And without the right of a child with a disability to go to a public school,
SARA: I would not be able to communicate the way I do.
MARTHA: She wouldn't be where she is. We couldn't have done it.
CLINTON: So it's true, I sweat the details of policy. Because it's not just a detail if it's your kid, if it's your family. It's a big deal, and it should be a big deal to your president too.
MARTHA: You sit there and you're like, all this brouhaha is just brouhaha. She's done the work that I believe in, that's important, especially to our children. And I see no reason why she wouldn't continue to do that work. What I want to say to Hillary is "Thank you." You made a difference in my child's life. And I couldn't ask for more.