Courtney Stensrud was only 21 weeks and 4 days pregnant when she delivered her baby extremely prematurely at a hospital in San Antonio, Texas, back in 2014. At the time, the prospects were grim.
The infant, who weighed less than a pound, was so tiny and frail that her skin was almost see-through. For most children in this scenario, hope on the part of doctors is generally lost — but Stensrud wasn’t willing to give up on her daughter.
Despite reading that babies don’t survive outside of the womb at such an early gestational period, she felt peace.
“When I was holding a live baby in my arms, I just absolutely thought she could survive,” Stensrud told Today. “I felt it in my heart.”
Dr. Kaashif Ahmad, a neonatologist who arrived in the delivery room just minutes after the birth, wouldn’t normally recommend resuscitation, but Stensrud asked him to try and save her baby, who he said wasn’t breathing at the time, USA Today reported.
He agreed and a breathing tube brought oxygen into the child and, miraculously, the baby was soon on her way to recovery. The child spent four months in the hospital before heading home just days after her original due date.
Flash forward three years and the child — who might be the earliest-born baby ever to survive — is normal, healthy and interacting with her peers. Stensrud said that her daughter has no disabilities or issues that stem from the early birth.
“I’m very happy I did that,” Ahmad told USA Today of his life-saving efforts. “She’s a wonderful, beautiful little girl.”
According to Today.com, the toddler, who wasn’t named due to the family’s wishes, is seemingly making medical history. While death might be quite probable for a child born so young, this case proves that survival is indeed possible.
“I feel blessed that we were given this little miracle baby,” Stensrud told Today.
Ahmad is cautioning people to remember that survival isn’t likely, despite the results of this unique case. Still, Stensrud said she wants parents who end up in the position she was in to have hope.
“The reason I’m doing these interviews — it’s not for me, it’s not for my daughter,” she told Today. “It’s for that mother in antepartum who is frantically searching online — that she will have a little bit of hope and faith that she can have the same outcome.”