A baby's first birthday is an important milestone for any family. Who doesn't love looking back at their child's first year to reflect on how far he's come?
Beth and Rick Hutchinson didn't know if their son Richard would live to celebrate his first birthday. When baby Richard was born nearly four months early, doctors gave him a grim prognosis: they estimated Richard had a 0% chance of survival.
Baby Richard is a fighter, though. Not only did he just celebrate his first birthday, but he's now a Guinness World Records holder as the most premature baby to ever survive.
When Beth was barely halfway through her pregnancy with 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 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."
Richard weighed just 340 grams when he was born in 2020.— Guinness World Records (@GWR) June 11, 2021
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 parents.
"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."
When he celebrated his first birthday on June 5th, Richard became a Guinness World Record holder. Born 131 days early, he's been named the most premature baby to survive.
"It doesn't feel real," Beth told the Guinness team when asked about the record. "We're still surprised about it. But we're happy. It's a way we can share his story to raise awareness about premature births."
"To watch Richard grow and watch him develop into this happy little amazing person, there's just no feeling like it," proud papa Rick told WCCO.
Richard Scott William Hutchinson 1st birthday. micropremie
Baby Richard's doctors say he's a fighter who was lucky to have such loving parents in Beth and Rick.
"Rick and Beth fought for Richard day after day and never stopped advocating for their baby through it all. Their strength and ability to stay positive and hopeful even during the most stressful and difficult times was inspiring," Dr. Kern told Guinness World Records.
Beth and Rick created a GoFundMe to help with baby Richard's medical expenses. They regularly share sweet pictures and videos of Richard and say 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.