Baby Richard weighed less than a pound when he was born.
We know that a parent's worst fear is something happening to their child. That's why we read all the baby books, buy all the safety gear, and still worry (sometimes almost obsessively) for our children's safety. Even then, there are some things that are just out of our control.
When Elizabeth Hutchinson was barely halfway through her pregnancy with her son Richard, she realized she was going into labor.
"I just couldn't get comfortable, I couldn't sleep. So I went to my doctor, and he said, 'You're going into labor,'" the Minnesota mom-to-be told WCCO. "And at that time I wasn't even 21 weeks. I didn't know what to think. 'He can't come yet.' I wasn't even at the halfway point of my pregnancy."
But baby Richard did come, and he weighed less than a pound at birth. After the delivery, Children's Minnesota neonatologist Dr. Stacy Kern and her team delivered some grim news to the new mama and her partner Rick.
"We know that babies born at 21 weeks usually have a poor prognosis, so actually the family was given a 0% chance for baby Richard," Kern says. That little boy had other plans, though. After six months in the NICU, baby Richard was able to head home.
Today, he's not only surviving—he's thriving. "Richard just surpassed everyone's expectations again and again, and we have all learned a ton from taking care of this baby."
Richard now weighs 13 pounds. He's weaning off oxygen and teething like any other ten-month-old.
"He was 10.63 inches at birth and now he is 24 inches long," Elizabeth says. "He's definitely a miracle."
"To watch Richard grow and watch him develop into this happy little amazing person, there's just no feeling like it," adds the proud papa, Rick.
Richard's story is so unique that he could soon be named the smallest baby ever to survive. His family has been contacted by the Guinness Book of World Records, and after he turns 1, he'll likely be added to the record book.
Elizabeth and Rick created a GoFundMe to help with baby Richard's medical expenses. Yesterday, they shared a sweet picture of their little boy, adding that he's growing so fast. We doubt they're taking that for granted.
We love sharing stories like these—ones of hope and survival. To all the NICU mamas out there who are watching their little ones fight for their childhood, know that you're not alone. Your child is strong. And they're stronger because they have you.
You got this, mama.