Michelle Butler was five months pregnant with twins when she was rushed into emergency labor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB
) Hospital, and on July 5 2020, her babies were born, four months ahead of their due date.
Only one baby, Curtis, survived. His sister, C’Asya, was much less developed and passed away one day later due to complications.
On Wednesday, Curtis was given the title of the world’s most premature baby to survive by Guinness World Records on Wednesday. November 11 would have been his due date and the milestone coincides with Prematurity Awareness Month.
“Survival at this gestational age has never happened before, so before Curtis was born his chances of survival would have been far less than 1%,” assistant professor at UAB’s Division of Neonatology, Dr. Colm Travers, said in a statement to Guinness World Records.
A full-term pregnancy is 40 weeks, but the twins were born at just 21 weeks and 1 day of gestation.
Curtis weighed just 14.8 ounces at birth, which is similar in weight to a soccer ball, according to UAB. He was put on constant treatment and grew stronger each day.
The hospital reported he was not only on a ventilator for three months following the birth, but stayed in there for 275 days with around-the-clock care.
“Numbers show that babies born so young have little to no chance of survival,” said Dr. Brian Sims, the attending physician for the delivery. “We typically advise for compassionate care in situations of such extremely preterm birth.”
After plenty of nurses and therapists helped feed and care for Curtis, he was finally sent home on April 6, 2021. Curtis remains on a handful of medications and special treatment, including a feeding tube and bottled oxygen, but is much healthier.
“Being able to finally take Curtis home and surprise my older children with their younger brother is a moment I will always remember,” Butler told UAB.
The previous baby that held the same premature world record, Richard Hutchinson from Wisconsin, was born only a month before Curtis on June 5, 2020.
He was born at 21 weeks and 2 days of gestation, just 1 day older than Curtis.
Before baby Richard, the Guinness World Record had gone unbroken for 34 years.