'Miracle Baby' Born to Alabama Couple That Barely Survived Tornado

PHOTO: Mitchell Johns holds his son, Kaden. Johns and his wife, Amanda, were seriously injured when a tornado destroyed their house, in Alabama. Amanda was five months pregnant with Kaden.PlayCourtesy Johns Family
WATCH 'Miracle' Baby Survives Tornado

As Mitchell Johns helped his wife, Amanda Berry, walk toward the littered vacant lot, both fought back tears.

When they were last there, Berry was five months pregnant, and they were huddled in a corner, kneeling in prayer, asking God to spare them and their unborn child from the tornado tearing through their home in Phil Campbell, Ala.

Today, they're still recovering from serious wounds. Berry can barely walk, and Johns can hardly see out of his left eye or move his right hand.

"I happened to look over my right shoulder, and when I looked back there was a board coming," he said. "I mean, 210-mile-per-hour winds. You can't, I mean you can barely see a glimpse of it. ... But I could tell it was a moving object, and I'm sure it was a board or piece of a house or anything, and it hit my right arm and broke it, and two bones were sticking out of my arm."

When the tornado hit their home, the house exploded. Berry, her mother, Renee Berry, 52, and Johns were thrown 30 yards.

"And the whole entire time I kept, you know, thinking to myself: 'I need to put myself in a fetal position, you know, to at least save my baby,'" Berry said.

In the town of Phil Campbell, 26 people were killed that day. Renee Berry was one of them, dying from injuries she suffered after she was thrown from the house.

"I was trying to hold on to [Mitchell] as much as I could and Mama held on to me, and it took her away," Amanda Berry said, sobbing. "And when she left me, she told me that she loved me. And I didn't get to tell her I loved her, too."

Johns was severely injured and lost consciousness after another flying piece of wood pierced the side of his head. Berry became caught in barbed wire, her right food nearly cut in two.

Even worse, she was losing her unborn baby. Flying debris had punctured her womb, and when help arrived, she was in premature labor.

"I immediately told them I was five months pregnant, and they done an ultrasound and discovered that I had a hole in my placenta where something had punctured me," Berry said. "So they told me that they would have to go in for emergency surgery to see if they could sew it back together before I miscarry."

Johns was sent to a different hospital for treatment while Berry's desperate doctors sat her in a bed and turned her upside down, hoping to keep the baby from entering the world too soon.

After a few long days, Berry said, their "miracle" happened. The hole that threatened the baby's life started healing, and her labor pains went away.

"Going from them telling me that I'm about to lose my baby," she said, "then the next thing you know everything's good, it was, it's miraculous. It was wonderful."

Berry and Johns were reunited in June, and on Sept. 1, a very healthy seven-pound boy was born.

They named him Kaden. Proving the experience hadn't taken away their sense of humor, they have nicknamed him Stormy.

When asked how she felt when people called Kaden a miracle baby, Berry replied, "I just feel wonderful. I mean, he's our hero. No doubt about it."

'The Good Lord Was Watching Over Us'

Berry added: "I keep thinking, you know: What if he were already born there, you know, trying to hold on to him? And like I tried to hold on to Mitchell and my mother during the tornado, there's just no way I could have held on to him. I just thank God he wasn't already born and he was still a part of me."

"I can be having a bad day," Johns said, "[and] when I see him, it's just, I mean, it's over with. He's just a blessing."

Johns and Berry consider Kaden a true angel on Earth who helps them think past their troubles -- the destroyed cars they can't afford to replace, the jobs they can't return to -- and the years of physical therapy ahead. If they were to hate the world or grieve too much, or give up hope, they wouldn't be the kind of parents they wanted to be, they said.

They are living in a donated apartment and don't know how they'll make ends meet. But they said they were happier than they'd ever been.

"We're so lucky to be here, just be here," said Johns. "The good Lord was watching over us, and we're here. We're alive."

"We didn't ask for any of this to happen," said Berry. "We're doing the best we can. We don't have income coming to our house. We're living off of donations as we speak, you know. And we have this little baby here to take care of. And he's taking care of us."

Friends have set up two funds to support Johns, Berry and Kaden:

Amanda Berry Recovery Fund Compass Bank 1950 Highway 31 South Birmingham, AL 35244 205-297-2010

Berry Johns Benefit Fund Listerhill Credit Union 42213 Highway 195 Haleyville, AL 35565 205-486-9405

Footage used in the video piece courtesy of Gary Mays from 49countynews.net, shot in Phil Campbell, Alabama

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