Preemie Born at 23 Weeks Defies Odds

by in Parenting, Unusual Baby Stories

Little Dexter Brady is your typical happy, healthy three-year-old child. But his life didn’t start out that way. Born at 23 weeks, no bigger than “the size of a Beanie Baby,” this little boy is a walking miracle!

Dexter’s mother, Tundi Brady, found out she was expecting twins. Like most mothers, she was ecstatic. But just shy of her 23rd week of her pregnancy, the family’s excitement turned into gut-wrenching fear.

“When we found out that we were pregnant and expecting, we were absolutely excited,” Tundi told ABC News. “And then overnight, all of a sudden, all of that was in jeopardy because I went into labor right in the middle of the pregnancy. And it was too early.”

That day, the family said good-bye to one of their children. Beatrix, Dexter’s twin.

Miraculously, doctors somehow managed to stop Tundi’s labor before Dexter was born. They were able to keep him inside her belly for another six days. But those six days weren’t any easier for Tundi because all she could think about was how she was about to lose her other child.

“I was saying goodbye to one baby and waiting for the next to be born and say goodbye,” Tundi said.

Delivery day came just after Tundi passed her 23 week mark. Born at just 507 grams, he was “about the size of a Beanie Baby.” At first, he wasn’t breathing, and it seemed that Tundi’s worst fears were going to come true.

23 week baby Dexter Brady

Thankfully, that wasn’t what happened.

“They scooped him up and put him in an incubator and put a breathing tube down his throat,” Tundi said. “After a few minutes, the doctor came over and said, ‘We got him! He’s been resuscitated!’”

But the fight wasn’t over.

23 weeker Dexter BradyFor days, Dexter sat on a ventilator. Doctors administered drugs to help open up his lungs. He was given continuous positive air pressure, a technique used on preemies to help aid lung development and breathing. And as each day passed, Dexter continued to improve.

A decade ago, Brady, who is also a physician, had done a rotation at the very same hospital his son was now in. He honestly couldn’t believe the doctors when they told the couple that they’d likely be leaving the hospital with a healthy baby boy.

“I couldn’t figure out why they were lying to me,” Brady told Daily Mail UK.

But after two months on life support, Brady and Tundi learned that the doctors had, in fact, been correct. Their son was now able to go home. Now three-years-old, their son has gone beyond the odds and isn’t just surviving; he’s striving!

23 weeker Dexter Brady

He has no abnormalities. No long-term effects or serious health issues. A little shorter than most children his age, but other than that, he’s just like any other 3-year-old child.

Former 23 week baby Dexter Brady

“He can pretty much do what any 3-year-old can do,” Brady said.

And, as you can guess, Dexter’s parents are eternally grateful for their little miracle child.

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About the Author

Kate Givans is a wife and a mother of five—four sons (one with autism) and a daughter. She’s an advocate for breastfeeding, women’s rights, against domestic violence, and equality for all. When not writing—be it creating her next romance novel or here on Growing Your Baby—Kate can be found discussing humanitarian issues, animal rights, eco-awareness, food, parenting, and her favorite books and shows on Twitter or Facebook. Laundry is the bane of her existence, but armed with a cup of coffee, she sometimes she gets it done. Find out more about Kate’s books at

Comments (3)

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  1. shannon says:

    “No long-term effects or serious health issues. A little shorter than most children his age, but other than that, he’s just like any other 3-year-old child.”

    This would be a great story, if it didn’t have this part. Survival does NOT equal “all is fixed”. It is far, far too early to say at 3 that there are no long term effects from prematurity, especially for a 23 weeker! The ONLY things about long term effects that can be said at 3 is that the boy is not severely retarded and doesn’t have CP. There is no way to know yet whether his IQ is on the low side of normal (or even on the upper side of below normal), whether his lungs are healed, whether ROP (if he had it) will cause problems again at puberty, whether any of a wide spectrum of learning disabilities to which preemies are prone will be evident in school, whether fine motor skills will keep on track once school demands hit, whether he’ll be affected by the cardiology and endocrinology risks that micropreemies are at risk for in their late adolescence – just to name a few possible long term effects that don’t manifest in the NICU. If Dexter’s parents think they’re done with prematurity, they are in a for a rude awakening.

    Yes, all of the potential things I mentioned are better than being dead, but they ARE STILL LONG TERM EFFECTS THAT CAN NOT BE RULED OUT – so it CAN NOT be said that Dexter has no long term effects!! Definitively declaring an extremely prematurely born 3 year old child free of long term effects from that prematurity is irresponsible storytelling, to say the least.

    • As the mom of a former 24 weeker, I know that being being born so early definitely comes with plenty of long term issues. With that being said, we knew very early that our son would have developmental issues. In fact he was diagnosed with Autism when he was 2.5.

      Of the children who were in the NICU with us some have many long term issues and others, including one who was born at 23/5, are developing normally.

      Yes ROP is an issue, as is whether or not he will be able to keep up with his peers in school, but what I believe the doctors were getting at is that he appears to be developing normally at this time and doesn’t have any special needs diagnoses.

      • shannon says:

        “what I believe the doctors were getting at is that he appears to be developing normally at this time and doesn’t have any special needs diagnoses.”

        But no one said AT THIS TIME. As a experienced preemie parent myself, I know well and good that is the reality – but that was not what was said. If the doctor said it, then the writer was irresponsible to leave it off. If the doctor did not say it, then the doctor was irresponsible. It is impossible to predict, before at least school age – and at least 3rd grade, at that (when independent thought is required)- which preemies are in the clear.

        No, I am not special needs parent embittered by the surprises that no one told us about. On the contrary, my 12 year old daughter born at 29.5 weeks has never been in special ed and makes an A average at school. That she is doing so well is due in large part to the fact that I knew not to let my guard down, and was able to get testing after DD completed 4th grade, where she saw her math grades sink to a C. Turns out she has Generalized Anxiety Disorder, **incredibly** common in children born early – and almost impossible to determine before about the age of 5 or 6. SO much for declaring “no long term effects” at age 3!

        BTW, your 23.5 weeker friend – I would be willing to bet his parents are either deluding themselves or you. He may be hitting the milestones on the chart, but there ARE differences in his development from that of his full term cohort.

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