A pregnant woman who was caught up in the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas has given birth to the baby that she credited with saving her life. Kami Biorkman and her husband, Elijah, had just found out they were pregnant when they, along with Kami’s parents, decided to make the 200-mile trip from their California home to a country music festival in Vegas. Little did they know of the horror they would encounter during the October 1 event, when a gunman wreaked havoc on crowds of innocent attendees.
Having lost a baby in 2016 after suffering complications that led to her losing a fallopian tube, Biorkman was insistent that she would be extremely careful to protect her little one when traveling to the Route 91 Harvest Festival.
“I never thought I would lose a pregnancy, so I expected the unexpected, and I was nervous about losing this one, too,” she told PEOPLE.
Everything appeared to be going well when Biorkman and her group arrived in Vegas. But after enjoying three days of non-stop country music, on the final night of the festival, all hell broke loose.
Just as country star Jason Aldean was finishing up his set, 64-year-old gunman Stephen Paddock smashed the window of his Mandalay Bay hotel room, readied his semi-automatic rifle and opened fire into the unsuspecting crowd below. Just before that horrific moment, however, Biorkman decided that she would ask her husband if their group could move further back in the crowd, away from the cigars and marijuana smoke that filled the air.
Little did she know, her maternal instinct to protect the tiny life growing inside her would prove essential to her entire family’s survival.
She later recalled the surreal moment that the gunfire began to ring out.
“At first, I didn’t realize it was bullets that were going off. I had no idea they were gunshots,” Biorkman said. “I thought they were fireworks. I was looking around to see where the noise was coming from and people were already running towards us, and my dad turned around and said, ‘Get up and run!’”
Kami was suddenly terrified of losing yet another child.
“My first thought was, ‘I can’t believe this is happening again,” she told the Press-Enterprise. “I was worried I was going to lose this one too.”
Biorkman, along with her husband and parents, made a dash for cover behind a stack of lockers.
“We took cover at the lockers because the bullets were still spraying, and everyone’s upset and crying and people are laying on the floor,” Biorkman explained. “When we realized it was gunshots, I honestly couldn’t believe it was happening again — my first pregnancy didn’t end the way we wanted it to, and I was terrified it was happening again, it was repeating the cycle that I was going to lose another baby.”
The group sprinted to their truck, dived into the vehicle and rushed to safety. It was a huge relief for the pregnant Biorkman.
In just 10 minutes, Paddock had fired over a thousand rounds, injuring more than 500 people and killing 58 others. Over the next series of months, Biorkman said that being pregnant helped her focus solely on the health of her baby and gave her time to heal from the trauma of Vegas — though she still jumps at loud noises.
Despite being caught up in the worst mass shooting in American history, Biorkman gave birth to her daughter Rosalie on June 14, nine months after the awful tragedy. She is thankful beyond measure, and knows that had it not been for her being gifted with pregnancy, she likely would not have moved away from the danger zone in time.
“If I wasn’t pregnant with her, we would have stayed up front and hung out with the rowdiness,” the new mother explained. “If we had not moved back, I’m not sure we would have walked away from that concert.”
Biorkman later discovered a Facebook post indicating that a woman who had been standing next to her and Elijah was killed in the attack.
“That could have been us,” she said. “Nothing makes it more real than to realize that the lady next to us didn’t make it.”
As for the safe arrival of Rosalie, Biorkman is experiencing one overwhelming feeling: gratitude.
“She’s here, and looking at her now, it’s a wonder that we ever lived without her. I’m just in that new parent awe,” she said. “It’s amazing, and now that she is here in our arms, we feel like we can finally close that chapter on what happened in Vegas.”
“The way I look at it,” Rosalie’s grandmother, Georgia Moore, said, “my granddaughter saved all of us.”