The world’s most premature baby ever to survive is turning one-year-old after doctors gave him little hope of living a few hours – let alone a year.
Baby Richard Scott William Hutchinson weighed less than one pound when he was born at 21 weeks in June 2020.
Doctors at Children’s Minnesota hospital in Minneapolis told his parents, Rick and Elizabeth, that their infant son had no chance of survival.
Despite the odds stacked against him, Richard’s health slowly improved over the six months he spent in the hospital and he is now a thriving toddler.
He is also officially recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s most premature baby to survive after birth.
Richard Scott William Hutchinson, from Somerset, Wisconsin the world’s most premature baby to survive, celebrated his first birthday on June 5 (above)
Richard Scott William Hutchinson, from Somerset, Wisconsin, was born in June 2020 at 21 weeks and two days weighing just 11.9 ounces
‘Miracle baby’ Richard celebrated his first birthday at his parents’ home in Wisconsin surrounded by balloons and a birthday banner.
And he was given first dibs at enjoying a piece of his white and blue birthday cake with sprinkles on top.
‘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,’ Beth told Guinness.
Beth and Rick had always dreamed of having children.
They found out they were expecting a baby in late 2018, but ended up suffering a miscarriage at just seven weeks, according to a GoFundMe page.
After months of grieving and trying to conceive again, Beth learned she was pregnant in February 2020.
In early June, Beth wasn’t feeling well and decided to get checked out by her OBGYN, according to the GoFundMe page.
The examination revealed Beth’s cervix was three centimeters dilated, something that doesn’t occur until the ninth month of pregnancy.
She was immediately admitted to Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, where, after discussion with doctors, it was determined that Richard would be delivered and they would do all they could to keep him alive.
Richard was born on June 5 at 21 weeks and two days, making him 131 days premature.
Richard was so small that he could fit into the palm of a hand and had translucent skin so that doctors could see his bones and organs
Doctors at Children’s Minnesota hospital in Minneapolis told Richard’s parents that he had zero odds of surviving
Almost one out of every 10 infants in the US is born prematurely. A birth is premature if the baby arrives at least three weeks early – or prior to 37 weeks of pregnancy.
Premature babies – or ‘preemies’ – suffer a greater risk of breathing problems, feeding problems and are more susceptible to contracting infections.
There are multiple things that can raise the risk of a woman having a preemie including: a previous premature birth, pregnancy with twins or triplets, an interval of less than six months between pregnancies, obesity and hypertension.
Preemies are often underweight and small and can continue to have delayed physical growth and development as they age.
Richard was born weighing just 11.9 ounces, about the size of a can of soup, and was so small he could fit into the palm of a hand.
He was soon transferred to the NICU at Children’s Minnesota hospital, where doctors prepared his parents for the worst.
‘When Rick and Beth received prenatal counselling on what to expect with a baby born so early, they were given a [zero percent] chance of survival by our neonatology team,’ Dr Stacy Kern, Richard’s neonatologist, told Guinness.
Richard’s parents visited him at the hospital every day, which doctors say played a role in his success. Pictured: Richard with his father, Rick
In December 2020, after spending six months in the NICU, Richard was allowed to go home. Pictured: Richard on the day he was discharged from the hospital
But the parents kept faith.
It was a tough year, with the couple unable to stay overnight or to llow other family member to visit because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rick and Beth traveled one hour every day from their home in Somerset, Wisconsin, to Minneapolis to visit their son.
‘The first month they weren’t even sure he was going to make it,’ Beth told Guinness.
On June 5, Richard celebrated his first birthday and doctors say he is doing well despite still being on oxygen and occasionally needing a feeding tube
‘It was really hard. You know in the back of your mind that his odds weren’t great.’
However, Kern told Guinness that she believes Richard’s parents dedication to visiting their son every day played a role in his success.
‘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,’ she said.
‘It takes a village to care for and support these babies until the time they are ready to go home.’
Richard slowly gained strength every day and, in December 2020, his parents were told he could go home after six months spent in the NICU.
He is still on oxygen, is monitored with a pulse oximeter machine 24/7 and still requires some meals through a feeding tube, but he is making progress.
‘We are working on getting him off all of them, but it takes time. He has come a long way and is doing amazing,’ Beth said.
‘He is a very happy baby. Always has a smile on the adorable little face of his. His bright blue eyes and smile get me every time.