Hearing about life’s miracles can serve to remind us all to never give up. Despite what we’re told by experts, that nagging little voice coming from inside is often trying to steer us in the right direction.

Mom Courtney Stensrud decided to listen to that voice coming from within. Three years ago, in 2014, when she was pregnant with her daughter, she endured a huge scare when she went into early labor. At the time, she was only 21 weeks along.

Afraid, she had a short window to research the survival rate for babies born this early as she was being monitored in the hospital. She couldn’t find any cases. To her, that signaled that things would be grim. Courtney gave birth to a premature baby girl that weighed just 14 ½ ounces.

It was then that Courtney and her husband were introduced to Dr. Kaashif Ahmad, a neonatologist handling the care of their daughter at the San Antonio hospital where she was born. Dr. Ahmad discussed the prognosis for babies born this prematurely. Twenty-one weeks was an extremely rare case.

Because their lungs are so tiny and their brains so underdeveloped, it’s not expected for infants at that stage to survive outside of the womb. Resuscitation is also advised against, since their fragile bodies are at risk of suffering neurological or respiratory damage.

It was more likely for a baby born this premature to have severe health problems like cerebral palsy, vision loss, or walking issues – and that’s if they survived. All of these concerns were explained to Courtney and her husband, but Courtney wanted the doctor to try anyway.

She felt her newborn baby’s breath on her chest, and had an inner feeling that her little girl would be okay. Dr. Ahmad was happy to try. They placed the baby under a warmer where she gradually gained color and began to move. A breathing tube was carefully placed into her delicate airway. Right after, she was sent to the neonatal unit.

After spending four months in the hospital, Courtney’s daughter was brought home, close to her original due date. Today, she is a thriving 3-year-old with no disabilities or deficits. Doctors say she is a healthy child, and the “most premature” baby who’s ever survived.

Click on this video below to hear more about this baby girl’s journey and how she’s doing today. Though Courtney has chosen to keep personal details of her daughter private, Dr. Ahmad and a research team published an academic paper on the family’s unique case to the medical journal Pediatrics.

He also wants to remind people that outcomes such as the Stensrud family’s are extremely rare, and that parents should be cautioned when faced with a decision for an infant this premature.

With so many odds stacked against her as a preemie, this baby is truly a miracle. Courtney wanted to give hope to other parents who may be dealing with a similar life event. For her daughter, the future looks bright.

What do you think of this amazing story? Do you know of any remarkable premature baby stories like this one?