For Kimberly Robinson, 2009 looked to be a horrendous year. Robinson's husband left the family during her pregnancy, and she has been struggling financially and emotionally ever since. Then she was told that the boy growing inside her had a tumor on his face that would likely grow and choke his windpipe.
Her doctor suggested she terminate the pregnancy. "I said 'What are my other options?' and they just looked at me," said Robinson.
But in March Robinson, 35, gave birth to a baby boy, and for that she will be forever grateful.
"He is not a little miracle. He is my biggest miracle," Robinson to ABCNews.com.
Jordan Jamal Smith is now a nine-month old bundle of energy who wasn't supposed to survive never mind crawl around a living room at lightning speed.
Neonatal specialists told Robinson, that as far as they knew fewer than 100 babies had been born with cranial masses this large, all of them died. When she went into labor, a team of 25 doctors stood in the hospital room at Jackson Memorial Holtz Children's Hospital in Miami, Fla.
Robinson was told not to look at the baby because doctors feared her reaction. Robinson's sister glanced at the baby and was shocked. "She told my mom, how can we tell Kim she had a monster…the baby has no face."
Most of Jamal's face was covered with a large, two-pound purple tumor protruding from his mouth making him almost unrecognizable. None of that mattered to Robinson.
"I went to see him the next day. I didn't care what they said. I talked to him and he recognized my voice immediately. He grabbed my finger and held it."
Doctors waited a few days for Jordan to stabilize before wheeling him in to surgery for the delicate operation to try to remove the tumor. Robinson said she was strangely calm. "I just knew it would be all right. He had fought so hard and the doctors said he wouldn't make it through birth but he did. So I just knew he would be okay."
Today Jordan has chubby cheeks and wide toothless smile and seems to be developing normally. "My husband didn't come back and it has been rough, but if God never does anything for me again he has done enough just saving my son's life."
It was a crime that shocked Lt. Mark Gagan and the rest of the Richmond, Calif., police force. As many as 20 teens and men hanging around the high school for the homecoming dance raped a 16-year-old girl whose strict religious family had allowed her to attend the dance. Those who didn't rape the girl watched and some even took pictures on their cells phones.
The Oct. 24 assault began around 9:30 p.m. in a dark area of the Richmond High School campus and lasted until almost midnight.
"The sheer length of the abuse, the number of people who were present…this crime illustrated some of the worst behavior human beings are capable of," said Gagan.
Six men between the ages of 15 and 21 have been charged with rape and other sex-related crimes. Gagan added that the case is still under investigation.
Just as the criminal case is ongoing, so is the healing process for the victim. Gagan said the girl, who has remained unidentified because of the nature of the crime, has largely recovered from her physical wounds but she may never get over her emotional ones.
"The emotional recovery takes much more time …this kind of violence changes someone's life," said Gagan.