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This Baby Was Born At 21 Weeks & Had 1% Chance of Survival | He Fought His Way to Become World’s Most Premature Infant to Survive

This Baby Was Born At 21 Weeks & Had 1% Chance of Survival | He Fought His Way to Become World’s Most Premature Infant to Survive

The baby boy from Alabama has been named the world's most premature infant to survive by Guinness World Records.

Curtis Means weighed just 15 ounces when he was born at just 21 weeks. Given his size, it was a miracle that he survived the premature birth. Now, the baby boy from Alabama has been named the world's most premature infant to survive by Guinness World Records. But for mom Michelle Butler, she's just happy about the fact that her baby boy survived and is now healthy. 

According to Good Morning America, Butler gave birth to twins on July 5, 2020. Tragically, Curtis's sister, C’Asya, couldn't pull through and passed away a day after birth. The baby boy continued to fight and ultimately survived while being cared for by doctors and nurses in the Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (RNICU) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham's Women and Infants Center.



 

 

The premature birth risked both the children's life and Butler found herself in a distressing position where all she could do was pray. The mother remembers begging God that one of her twin newborns survive this ordeal. "My prayers have been answered," she told the outlet. "I gave God my little girl and he let me continue to be the mother to Curtis." The baby boy, who was born 132 days premature, was so delicate at birth that Butler had to wait four weeks after giving birth just to hold him.

At the time, he was so tiny that he fit in the palm of her hands. The baby boy went on to spend the next nine months in the RNICU, where he received round-the-clock care. "He showed a lot of response to the things we were doing," shared  Dr. Brian Sims who was the attending physician on-call when Butler arrived. "It definitely was a surprise that a baby at his age was as much of a fighter, or as strong as he was," noted Dr. Sims who is a professor of pediatrics in the UAB Division of Neonatology.



 

 

Over the course of the child's stay at the hospital, Sims and his colleagues closely monitored Curtis' responses to the treatments as there is no medical precedent that could follow for a baby who is born so premature. "The truth is no baby has survived at this particular age. There was no data," he noted. But no one gave up hope. Even Butler who had two older children, ages 14 and 7, would religiously drive (three-hour round trip) to the RNICU and back three or four times a week.

On the days she could not visit her baby boy in person, the hospital staff was more than accommodating as nurses would coordinate video calls just so the mom could see her baby. Talking about her son's tumulous road to recovery, Butler said, "It was ups and downs, good and bad day. For a couple of weeks, he’d do really well and then he’d get sick and go about five steps backward." Despite the grim odds (less than 1% chance of survival at birth), Curtis fought his way through and finally graduated from the RNICU after 275 days.



 

 

On April 6, 2021, Curtis went home and met his siblings for the first time as they couldn't do so before due to the COVID-19 restrictions. Recalling the emotional meet, Butler said, "Being able to finally take Curtis home and surprise my older children with their younger brother is a moment I will always remember." Six months later, the mom was left surprised when doctors and nurses at the University of Alabama at Birmingham's Women and Infants Center presented them with the Guinness World Records certificate.



 

Indeed it was a great feat as Dr. Sims said, "People talk about awards and things but to see a patient who had virtually no chance of survival on paper be looking at you and smiling is one of the greatest rewards and awards that a doctor can have. Curtis did most of the work, but it was an honor to be able to assist him." The baby boy is now 16 months old and weighs nearly 19 pounds. Although he is still on oxygen and a feeding tube, it should not be required in the future. "The good news is that all of the things that he has right now, strong babies can get off of those things, so that's very encouraging," expressed Dr. Sims. "But when we’re taking care of a baby that we’ve never had the opportunity to take care of, a lot of this will be us watching him develop over time."



 

 

References:

https://www.goodmorningamerica.com/wellness/story/boy-born-21-weeks-named-worlds-premature-infant-81093184

https://www.kmbc.com/article/alabama-boy-born-21-weeks-most-premature-infant-survive/38228077#

Cover image source: YouTube Screenshot | University of Alabama at Birmingham

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