At just 2 years old, Dylan Lipton-Lesser has defied doctors' prognoses multiple times . Born 11 weeks early, Dylan was stuck in the neonatal intensive care unit for 101 days after he suffered brain bleeding in addition to gastrointestinal issues. His mere survival through the NICU was already a major accomplishment.
His parents recently marked a milestone in Dylan's eventful life - was seeing Dylan's reaction when he could hear clearly for the first time. He just couldn't stop laughing.
Dylan had some hearing when he was born, according to his mothers, India Elizabeth Lipton and Shirley Lesser, of Richmond, Va. However, about a year after he was born his hearing deteriorated and eventually his doctors decided he needed hearing aids.
Last December, his mothers took him to get his hearing aids fitted. As Lesser held him, Lipton and the medical personal talked to see what Dylan could hear. Apparently he could hear a lot better.
"He was laughing at just being able to hear his own laughter [and] hearing our voices," said Lipton.
For Dylan's mothers, that simple laugh was miraculous.
Immediately after he was born when he first went to the NICU, his mothers were told that he may not be able to breathe or eat on his own due to his neurological issues.
"[They] gave us the gloom and doom story," Lipton recalled. "Shirley and I said 'Okay, you know what? We are going to bring Dylan back here in two years and he's going thank you for saving his life.'"
Lipton said their prediction came true, mostly. Just days after his second birthday on Feb. 14, Lipton and Lesser took Dylan to see the doctor who treated him in the NICU. Lipton said the doctor was stunned after seeing that Dylan had grown into a happy, active 2-year-old.
"He's crawling all over the place, playing with toys," said Lipton. "He's not able to walk yet. He's a little bit slow, but he's progressing very quickly."
Dylan does have some developmental issues and has had 15 brain surgeries, a result of having hydrocephalus or excessive fluid in the brain. His doctors have implanted permanent shunts in his brain to drain fluid, although the shunts may need to be replaced or repaired as he gets older.
He also has had two corrective eye surgeries.
But Dylan has also been able to enjoy much more than his parents thought possible. After getting his hearing aids, Lipton said Dylan has become more interested in the piano and "plays" it for fun.
"Actually he loves playing the piano," said Lipton. "He has a knack for it. It's a little uncanny. … He'll crawl and pull himself up on the piano stool."