The world loves it when the little guy, pitted against enormous obstacles, beats the odds and comes back to win. So, you might say Richard Scott William Hutchinson, who celebrated his first birthday on June 5th, is the ultimate small but mighty contender.
When Richard’s mom Beth went into premature labor, he wasn’t due for another 131 days. Weighing in at just 11.9 ounces and measuring 10.2” in length, at the time of his birth, Richard’s gestational age clocked in at a scant 21 weeks and two days.
After the tiny infant was sent for care to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Children’s Minnesota hospital in Minneapolis, his parents were told he had a 0% chance of survival. But Richard set out to prove the doctors wrong—and that’s exactly what he did.
The icing on this miracle baby’s first birthday cake? Having Guinness World Records (GWR) officially declare him “the most premature baby to survive.”
But the road to Richard’s landmark birthday wasn’t an easy one. Constraints of the coronavirus pandemic prevented his parents from staying at the hospital with him, so each day, Beth and Richard’s dad, Rick, made the commute back and forth from the family’s home in St. Croix County, Wisconsin to Minneapolis to visit their newborn son.
“We made sure we were there to give him support,” Rick told Guinness World Records. “I think that helped him get through this because he knew he could count on us.”
“Rick and Beth fought for Richard day after day and never stopped advocating for their baby through it all,” neonatologist Dr. Stacy Kern told GWR. “Their strength and ability to stay positive and hopeful even during the most stressful and difficult times was inspiring.”
Six months later, Richard was finally ready to go home.
“I couldn’t believe this was the same little boy that once was so sick, that I feared he [might] not survive,” Dr. Kern said.
“The same little boy that once fit in the palm of my hand, with skin so translucent that I could see every rib and vessel in his tiny body. I couldn’t help but squeeze him and tell him how proud I was of him.”