Moore tornado survivor has 'miracle baby'
MOORE, Okla. – Plaza Towers 1st grade teacher Karen Marinelli was crouched over 3 small children in the hallway when tornado sirens began their high-pitched squeal, KFOR reports.
Marinelli said, "It's going to hit, it's going to hit. I can't believe it's really going to hit."
There were kids screaming, glass breaking and that unforgettable roar.
Marinelli said, "The best description we could all come up with, it was a monster. It sounds like a monster. It sounds like a monster devouring something. It is that loud and encompassing that you feel like something is surrounding you and gobbling you up."
Those 6-year-olds in her care, were not injured. But Karen suffered a broken back, sprains and too many cuts and bruises to count.
Karen was crushed under a cinder block wall and a 2,000-lb car. "That car is what blew in that knocked over that wall -- with that force -- on top of me."
Unable to move, she was carried out on a makeshift backboard, shuttled to a waiting ambulance on the hood of a Jeep.
Karen would spend the next 3 months in a wheelchair, recovering from those crippling injuries.
One day, she finally got around to opening tornado relief boxes she had received from strangers around the country.
Plaza Towers school then and now:
Inside one box, diapers and eight new baby girl outfits. Karen had no intention of having another baby. This is a family of boys, 5 to 14. They dismissed the notion and tucked away the cute, frilly little onesies to donate later.
Not long after that mystery box arrived, the Marinelli family learned they were about to receive another special delivery. Karen was pregnant.
The baby was scheduled to arrive on May 20th ... a year to the day that the horrific "monster" stole so much, from so many.
Karen said, "Just seems like it was meant to be. I know she was meant to be. She was meant to be our blessing, definitely. I think she's going to wrap us up. A nice little bow, the topper on the cake."
Babies are as unpredictable as the weather. Lily arrived a little early, May 8th. Her name means "return to happiness."
Karen called it, "A beautiful and unexpected blessing, a new season." For a family, and community that has endured so much.