Every child’s first birthday is an occasion to rejoice, as they reach their first significant age milestone after completing what is easily the most eventful year of babyhood.
When you are the parents of a little boy who has been recognized as the youngest baby ever delivered, however, this occasion is immeasurably momentous.
A baby who was named the world’s most premature baby by the Guinness Book of World Records, having been born at just 21 weeks, just celebrated his first birthday after being given a 0% chance of survival by doctors at one point in his early, precarious young life.
Richard weighed just 340 grams when he was born in 2020.
— Guinness World Records (@GWR) June 11, 2021
Richard Scott William Hutchinson was born on June 5, 2020, a full 131 days before his estimated due date. When mother Beth went into labor, father Rick and the doctors made the decision to try to deliver him early and do their best to work for his survival.
The chances as first described to Richard’s distressed parents were grim.
“When Rick and Beth received prenatal counselling on what to expect with a baby born so early, they were given a 0% chance of survival by our neonatology team. I knew the first few weeks of Richard’s life would be very difficult, but I felt that if he could make it through that, he would be a survivor,” Richard’s neonatologist at Children’s Minnesota hospital, Dr. Stacy Kern, told the Guinness Book.
Rick and Beth, who were not able to stay overnight at the hospital due to the pandemic, drove every day from their home in Wisconsin to visit their little fighter—and fight he did.
The now one-year-old was officially recognized for his extraordinary place in the Guinness Book of World Records on his first birthday, and his parents couldn’t believe the new family had made it to the day of celebration.
“It doesn’t feel real. We’re still surprised about it. But we’re happy. It’s a way we can share his story to raise awareness about premature births,” Beth said.
Dr. Kern said it was the love and determination of his parents and the medical staff that supported Richard that carried this tiny child through such a difficult fight for his life.
“I credit his miraculous survival to his wonderful parents who were there for him every step of the way and to the entire neonatology team at Children’s Minnesota. It takes a village to care for and support these babies until the time they are ready to go home,” she said.
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