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Special Event

Mother of Frozen Canadian Baby Speaks to Reporters

Aired March 16, 2001 - 12:01 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We want to take our viewers now live to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, where the mother of the frozen baby who went on to live and become a miracle is speaking to reporters.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

LEYLA NORDBY, BABY ERIKA'S MOTHER: ... to her.

Her ordeal has touched the hearts of so many. Your response has touched our hearts.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

NORDBY: It's been like that for a couple of days. Just take it day by day. Just...

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

NORDBY: Great. It's the best feeling, because at first I just thought of her maybe having to lose a toe or two and learning to walk and learning everything all over again -- and people telling me she might have a limp. She's getting positive, she's getting...

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

NORDBY: Overwhelming. It's hard. It's happy and tiresome and nothing but love. Yes, it's been good. It's been OK. I'm tired.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

NORDBY: I love them, you know what I mean? I just look at them, and I want to grab them and hug them, you know?

NORDBY: She's doing great.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

NORDBY: Yes. It's nerve-wracking, you know. I'm a quiet person. I like just to hang out by myself, and all this is too much, you know.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

NORDBY: Just sit with my girls and play with them. Sit there, sit in a circle and play, you know.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

NORDBY: My faith in God, my faith in people, everything -- that there's something out there. I mean, there's a lot of love.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, thank you very much. Thank you. You want your dolly back?

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

NORDBY: All right, like, can you say that again? I'm sorry.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

NORDBY: Just, basically, want to know her story. It's all about her. You know what I mean? It's all about her active recovery, and you know. Those are the requests I'm having. Not really nothing much, just people wanting to know for themselves.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

NORDBY: I don't know. I don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That guy's going to take over, I think.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

NORDBY: We've already spoken to an American network: "Dateline."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: NBC.

NORDBY: NBC, "Dateline."

Just to thank everybody, mainly, because we get cards and letters from Arizona, Florida, and from everywhere all over the world. Just to, mainly, thank everybody -- everybody.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

NORDBY: That's probably back to normal.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

NORDBY: I'm just making it.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

NORDBY: I don't know. I don't know. That has nothing to do with me. It's gotten -- everything is just basically off to the side for a public trustee for her.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

NORDBY: For her schooling, medical, whatever she needs -- education -- just for her. You know, let her have a better chance -- you know.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

NORDBY: I only have her one sister.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

NORDBY: She's really mad. She's confused. She just understands that Erika is here and can't play as much, you know, can't go running around and things like that, you know.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

NORDBY: It all depends on her feet.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

NORDBY: I always have taken care of Erika and Elsie (ph) properly.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

NORDBY: Oh, I know I'm confident.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

NORDBY: I don't want to say that I'm going a religious person, but I believe that there's God out there, and I don't want to swear, and I don't want to do anything wrong, because what if somebody's watching, you know?

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

NORDBY: I believe so. I've sat on the fifth floor chapel you know, and I've spoken and thanked him and cried.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

NORDBY: Yes.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

NORDBY: It's the best hospital in the world, it is. But it is, though, you know. It's awesome. Even, like, the cafeteria staff, you know, and everybody -- they're just great -- everybody.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

NORDBY: Oh, everything, everything, even the thought of her going by the stairs, you know, and even going by any door, by anything, anything.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

NORDBY: When? Soon -- I don't know, hopefully soon.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

NORDBY: It all depends on Erika's left foot. It all depends on her.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I guess, as I said earlier, we are watching her very closely, and as you can see, she's a very delightful child. She's just behaving like any other one-year-old, tearing apart everything right now.

Her left foot has always been a concern from the beginning, and the way things have been improving. Even on the last week, we were thinking whether would need some amputation, but she made us proved wrong, basically, that she is a fighter, and she is working on her own.

And there is a lot of improvement in her left foot since last week. There's a lot of what we call granulation tissue which is developing in that left foot, which is a sign of improvement. There is no evidence of any infection there so far. So we are quite hopeful that we might be able to save those toes, even.

But again, we are watching it very closely. I don't want to say anything definitely at this stage. Myself, along with Dr. Lobey (ph), who is the plastic surgeon, and other people are working together and trying to monitor that situation, and we'll keep you posted if there's any concern.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would say 80 percent to 90 percent of a chance that she will keep those.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

KAGAN: Well, we venture to say this is just about the most heartwarming news conference we'll be able to bring you all day long, the update on the status of Baby Erika, otherwise known as the frozen toddler, the frozen baby.

To refresh you on Erika's story, she's a 13-month-old girl who somehow wandered out of a house in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, late last month and, basically, fell asleep in the snow. Doctors believe her heart had stopped for as long as two hours when her mother woke up in the middle of the night and realized she was missing and went out and found her. Basically, she was clinically dead.

And paramedics and doctors were able to revive her, and as you are able to see right now in these live pictures, she is doing incredibly well, many people calling her a miracle baby.

Doctors are telling us there still is some question about her left foot, but they say she's a fighter, and she's recovering well. And the biggest question overall was whether there would brain damage. Miraculously, as you can tell, she's a very normal one-year-old, ripping apart that Kleenex box and going after the microphone. In terms of development and general health, Erika is going to be just fine.

Some emotional words, as well, from her mother, Leyla Nordby, who's been through quite the ordeal as well.

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, yes.

She's got a future in show business, the way she handled that microphone.

KAGAN: Yes, she wanted to be the one to talk.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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