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10 Amazing Babies Who Dodged Death

by Destiny Osborn
fact checked by Jamie Frater

We all love amazing survival stories, but there’s something special about babies who survive deadly situations. They’re sweet, innocent, and utterly defenseless. They don’t have any basic survival skills. And yet, these 10 babies somehow beat the odds and survived situations most of us wouldn’t.

10 Colbie Arrendale


Baby Colbie’s mother, Jessica Arrendale, was a victim of domestic violence. Like many other cases of domastic abuse, the situation was deadly. Jessica saved the baby’s life as she herself was killed.

That night, Jessica went out with her boyfriend, Antoine Davis, a former Marine who served in Iraq. During the night, he got drunk and violent. Jessica tried to defend herself with a baseball bat, but she was overpowered by Antoine, who turned the bat on her. He chased her upstairs in the three-story home they shared with their six-month-old daughter, Colbie. Jessica locked herself in the bathroom with her baby. The former Marine retrieved an assault rifle equipped with a suppressor, broke through the bathroom door, and opened fire on Jessica, killing her. Somehow, she managed to twist her body in the opposite direction and drop Colbie into the toilet bowl and cover the opening with her body, hiding the baby from her father. He went to the nursery, presumably looking for the baby, and shot himself in the head.

The baby girl stayed in the toilet underneath her mother for 13 hours until police found her. She was treated for hypothermia and has psychological trauma believed to be from the attack on her mother. Colbie’s family set up a fund for her, raising nearly $40,000. Jessica was hailed as a hero by her community.

9 Baby No. 59


This newborn caught worldwide attention when he was rescued from a sewer pipe in China soon after his birth. His young mother hid her pregnancy from family and friends. She gave birth to the baby boy over a squat toilet in a public restroom at her apartment building, where he slipped down the drain. The young woman alerted police to the situation after cleaning up the mess, but she didn’t reveal herself as the mother.

The two-hour rescue was filmed and viewed worldwide. Officials removed a section on the pipe from just below the toilet. They rushed the infant—still stuck in parts of the pipe—to the hospital. Doctors used pliers to peel back the pipe, which was less than 8 centimeters (3 in) in diameter. He still had the placenta attached to his body. He was called Baby No. 59 (after his incubator number) and touched the hearts of countless people. They flocked to the hospital to donate blankets, formula, bottles, and clothes. Some even offered to adopt him.

Police tracked down the young woman, becoming suspicious when they found baby toys and bloody toilet paper in her apartment. She denied being the mother at first, but later admitted the truth. Officials originally treated the case as an attempted homicide, but after talking with his mother, they were convinced it was an accident and the mother was too afraid to come forward. The baby boy wasn’t seriously injured, only suffering superficial scratches and some bruising. He was released into the care of his mother a few days after the incident.

8 Dylan Micallef


Baby Dylan had been left all alone for nearly a week when he was discovered. His mother, Renee Micallef, was involved in a terrible motorcycle accident years before that led to chronic pain and an addiction to painkillers. Those who knew her said she was a wonderful mom and thought those days were behind her. The mother and son were last seen together after a shopping spree. A neighbor told reporters she had bags full of things for her son.

Visitors later came by the house, but she didn’t answer the door. Days passed and no one had seen or heard from her. The police were contacted and forced their way into the house. They discovered eight-month-old Dylan Micallef lying partially underneath his dead mother—near death himself. He was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, but soon recovered. Police believe Renee died of an accidental overdose.

7 Megan Hui


Baby Megan was a survivor before she was even born. Megan’s mother, Michelle, was six weeks pregnant when she had a miscarriage. Five ultrasound scans with no sign of a heartbeat confirmed she had miscarried. She stayed overnight in the hospital and was given two abortion pills.

Michelle was released with instructions to take a home pregnancy test after a week to insure all the fetal tissue has been expelled from her body. When a week passed, she took a home pregnancy test, which was positive. She called her doctor and scheduled a D&C (dilation and curettage) to remove the remaining fetal tissue.

Her doctor decided to do another ultrasound before the procedure and found a tiny heartbeat. Michelle had been pregnant with twins, and one of the two was still alive. Doctors think the clots and tissue from the miscarried baby must have created shadows, hiding Megan in the ultrasound. Her mother was overjoyed. Megan was born with no ill effects from either the miscarriage or abortion.

6 Aleah Crago


On May 3, 1999, a deadly tornado ravaged Moore, Oklahoma, killing 36 people and causing over $1 billion in damage. Hundreds of people lost their homes, including baby Aleah Crago and her family.

During the deadly storm, the Crago family took shelter in a closet. Aleah’s mother, Amy, held the 10-month-old on her lap while the rest of the family huddled around them. When the catastrophic EF5 twister hit the home, it ripped the roof off and sucked everyone out, pulling baby Aleah right out of her mother’s arms.

As police officer Robert Jolley was following the damage path, he came across Amy, who was face-down and partially partially covered by a flatbed trailer 30 meters (100 ft) from where her home once stood. She was alive and begged Officer Jolley to find her baby girl. A short time later, he came across what he thought was a doll lying in the mud, but then the doll moved. He rushed over and grabbed the baby girl. His cruiser’s dashcam caught it all. She was reunited with her mother at the hospital with a bruised lung and deep scratch on her thigh.

5 Jamie Ogg


Kate Ogg went into labor with her twins when she was only 27 weeks pregnant. She delivered a little girl with a promising prognosis first. The second baby, whom she named Jamie, was pronounced dead after his delivery. He was then given to his parents, whose hopes soared when he gasped for air. The doctors told them it was just a reflex action and that he had certainly passed away.

His heartbroken mother unwrapped him and placed his tiny body against her chest. Both parents told him how much they loved him and about all the things they wanted to do with him throughout his life. He gasped for air again. Kate put a drop of breast milk on her finger and offered it to him. He took it. The 13-week-early baby, who had been legally pronounced dead, opened his eyes. Jamie was rushed to the NICU, where he thrived. Both of the healthy babies were released after a few months in the hospital.

4 Musa Dayib


Fifteen-month-old Musa Dayib was watching television with his father and three-year-old sister in the living room of his family’s 11th-floor apartment. When their father left the room, Musa followed his sister to the balcony, 30 meters (100 ft) from the ground. Seconds later, she ran inside screaming that her baby brother had fallen. The shocked father went to the balcony in disbelief. Looking down from the balcony, he saw his son lying on the ground, motionless.

He snatched up his daughter and hurried downstairs, expecting the worst. He was met by neighbors who witnessed the accident. They were all relieved to hear Musa alive and crying in the small patch of mulch where he landed, only a small distance from the pavement . He was rushed to the hospital with fractured ribs, backbone, arms, and skull. To the amazement of the doctors, he didn’t have any serious brain injuries and recovered quickly.

3 Erika Nordby


Baby Erika’s mother, Leyla Nordby, woke up in the middle of the night to every parent’s worst nightmare: Her baby was gone. The 15-month-old girl, wearing only a diaper, wandered into the snow while her mother was sleeping. Leyla frantically searched the house and found that the door was broken and hadn’t been properly closed earlier that day when the babysitter left.

Leyla walked out into the freezing night and discovered tiny footprints in the snow. She followed them and found her daughter, lifeless in a snow bank in the dead of Canadian winter. The temperature that night was –24 degrees Celsius (–11 °F). She immediately rushed the baby inside, called for help, and attempted CPR. When police and paramedics arrived, Leyla was detained for five hours on suspensions of child neglect. By the time she got to the hospital, Erika hadn’t had a heartbeat in over two hours. Her core body temperature was only 16 degrees Celsius (61 °F).

After she was placed under a heating blanket, her heart started beating again. Doctors thought she would need parts of her limbs amputated due to frostbite, but only part of her foot needed skin grafts. Doctors have speculated the cold sent her into a hibernation-like state that protected her body from serious damage. Erika made a full recovery and was released to her mother six weeks later. She only had a small scar from the skin grafts and a slight deformity of her foot, requiring special shoes. Leyla, Erika, and the rest of her family had to move due to public scrutiny.

2 Terri Calvesbert


Terri Calvesbert’s parents, Paul and Julie, separated two months before the fire that left the baby with burns over 90 percent of her body. Her mother was watching the 22-month-old while her father was at work. She accidentally left a cigarette on the air conditioning unit in her daughter’s bedroom, which caught the drapes above it on fire. Soon, flames engulfed the entire bedroom.

Alerted by the young girl’s screams, Julie rushed to the bedroom, but she couldn’t see anything through the smoke. She ran outside and attempted to break a window, listening to the screams as her daughter was burning alive. By the time firefighters arrived, the screams had stopped. They found what they thought was a burned doll in the bedroom. Terri wasn’t recognizable; her body was charred black. The only part of her body that wasn’t burned was the area covered by her wet diaper.

Doctors didn’t think she would survive the night, but she did. Her burns were so severe that her hair will never grow back and she lost her nose, ears, left foot, and all her fingers. To repair her injuries, doctors used an artificial skin that has to be replaced as her body grows. Terri now wears a wig and uses a prosthetic foot. She lives a normal life in England with her father and stepmother.

Julie stopped seeing her daughter, claiming she felt too much guilt. She wouldn’t visit her in the hospital and refused contact with her for 10 years. They finally met after Terri appeared on the documentary series Extraordinary People.

1 Mexico City’s Earthquake Babies


On September 19, 1985, an 8.1 magnitude earthquake hit Mexico City, followed by a 7.1 magnitude aftershock the following day. The two quakes caused over $1 billion in damage. An estimated 10,000 people lost their lives.

During the catastrophe, two hospitals—Benito Juarez and General Hospital—were heavily damaged with large wings completely collapsing, including the maternity wards. Most of the newborns and their mothers didn’t survive.

Many of the babies rescued immediately or hours after the incident had severe and life-threatening injuries, and some died after being rescued. But, among the destruction and devastation, some babies and mothers were pulled from the wreckage after over a week and survived. Six babies were rescued from the rubble five to eight days after the quakes, most with few or no injuries at all. Only one of the newborns had a serious injury to her foot.

The small space in the rubble was similar to the previous nine months of their lives in the womb. The extra layer of fat newborns are born with kept their body temperature stable during the cold and rainy nights. Babies require very little fluid the first days of life. Dr. Holden, a physician who attended to four of the newborns after the incident, said, “I think that part of the answer is a fasting baby doesn’t lose much. That’s part, the rest is a miracle.”

Though many of the newborns were left orphaned, none of them were put up for adoption. Aunts, uncles, and grandparents took the babies in and raised them. The babies received free care for years afterward so that doctors could monitor any long-term effects of the ordeal as they grew.

Destiny is a single mother of one who loves all children.

fact checked by Jamie Frater