An Alabama baby has broken the Guinness World Record for the most premature baby to survive, barely five months after a Wisconsin baby broke the previous record.
Curtis Zy-Keith Means was born on July 5, 2020, at a gestational age of 21 weeks, one day, making him 132 days premature. He weighed less than a pound (14.8 ounces), and doctors gave him an “almost 0 percent chance of survival,” Guinness said. His twin sister, C’Asya Means, died one day later.
Curtis was discharged from the hospital in April of this year.
The standard gestational age for a full-term baby is 40 weeks (280 days).
“The medical staff told me that they don’t normally keep babies at that age,” his mother, Michelle “Chelly” Butler, told Guinness. “It was very stressful.”
Curtis, though, responded well to treatment, including oxygen. The twins were born at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital.
“The numbers say that babies at this age will not survive,” said neonatologist Brian Sims, who oversaw the delivery and the treatment. “Mom’s question to me was: ‘Can we give my babies a chance?’”
Curtis “wanted to survive,” the doctor told Guinness.
“I’ve been doing this almost 20 years… but I’ve never seen a baby this young be as strong as he was… There was something special about Curtis,” Sims said.
The mom said she is tired – and grateful.
“I’m very proud of him because where he came from and where he [is] at now, I can tell the difference,” she said. “Having this record is a blessing that he has accomplished, and I’m thankful that [Guinness World Records] accepted him.”
The previous record-holder was Richard Scott William Hutchinson, who was born Jun 5, 2000, at a gestational age of 21 weeks, two days, making him 131 days premature. Although his parents live in Wisconsin, he was born at Children’s Minnesota hospital.
The new record – like the old record – is being celebrated by pro-life activists.
“What an amazing pro-life story and miracle!!!” said Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C.
Baby born at 21 weeks becomes world's most premature baby to survive - CNN https://t.co/PPRQ6p4ZkP /What an amazing pro-life story and miracle!!!— Daniel Akin (@DannyAkin) November 11, 2021
Photo courtesy: Charles Eugene/Unsplash
Video courtesy: ©Guinness World Records
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.