A baby in Alabama, who weighed less than a pound at birth, has been named the most premature baby to survive by Guinness World Records.
Curtis Zy-Keith Means was born at 21 weeks at the University of Alabama at Birmingham hospital when his mother, Michelle “Chelly” Butler, underwent emergency surgery to deliver, according to Guinness.
When Butler gave birth to her son on July 5, 2020, Curtis weighed just 14.8 oz, or 420 grams. Curtis’ due date was originally set to Nov. 11 of that year, making him nearly 19 weeks early.
Now, the 16-month-old is healthy and happy. After his birth, Curtis underwent treatment, responded”extraordinarily well,” per Guinness, and made an “exceptional” recovery.
Curtis’ remarkable progress was bittersweet for Butler, who delivered twins — both Curtis and his sister, C’Asya — July 5. C’Asya was born less developed than her brother, and died one day after she was born, according to Guinness.
Neonatologist Dr. Brian Sims helped treat Curtis and was on duty when Butler delivered the twins. He told Guinness, “The numbers say that babies at this age will not survive. Mom’s question to me was: ‘Can we give my babies a chance?’ “
Shortly after Curtis was born, “He showed initially that he responded to oxygen, his heart rate went up, his numbers went up, ” Dr. Sims said. “He was giving us a lot of positive feedback that… he wanted to survive.”
In his two-decade career, the doctor said he’s never seen anything like Curtis’ case.
“I’ve been doing this almost 20 years… but I’ve never seen a baby this young be as strong as he was,” Dr. Sims said, adding, “There was something special about Curtis.”
After 275 days spent in the hospital, Curtis was discharged in April. At home, Curtis’ three older siblings help Butler out with the baby, feeding him and bathing him.
Butler told Guinness her little boy is “very active,” adding, “I’m tired already!”
“I’m very proud of him because where he came from and where he at now, I can tell the difference,” she said.
Curtis beat out the previous record holder for most mature baby to survive, Richard Hutchinson, who weighed just 11.9 oz when he was born June 5, 2020.