World’s Most Premature Baby Defies Odds To Celebrate First Birthday
Richard Hutchinson was the world’s most premature baby. One year on, he’s defied the odds and celebrated his first birthday with cake and ice cream.
On June 5, 2020, Richard was born 131 days premature and weighed only 340g – less than a can of Pepsi. He’d broken a record that stood for three-and-a-half decades.
He spent six months in hospital before he was able to go to back to his home in Somerset, Wisconsin, US, with his mum and dad, Beth and Rick Hutchinson.
On the day of his first birthday, he entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the most prematurely born baby to survive. ‘I still don’t believe it; even though the certificate is in our living room, I still don’t believe it. He was so tiny he could fit in my husbands hand,’ Beth said.
At the age of 22, Beth was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a condition that can cause fertility problems. Throughout her pregnancy, she had regular ultrasounds to ensure the baby was okay – but when she went into labour, it was a surprise for everyone.
‘I didn’t even know I was in labour. I had so many emotions but at the same time I didn’t want to believe it was real. I’m not going to lie I was panicking a little bit. I wasn’t sure if he would make it and we fought so long to have him. It was a lot of emotions but I was trying to keep positive and stay as calm as I possibly could – the less stress on him the better,’ she said.
Harrowingly, doctors at the Children’s Minnesota Hospital in Minneapolis told the couple the baby had a 0% chance of survival. ‘I was kind of numb because being on all the pain meds and I was trying to keep myself in a positive place,’ Beth said.
Yet, 48 hours later, Richard Scott William Hutchinson entered the world. ‘From the time Rick sat down to the time I had him was a very short time, it was like minutes. The doctors were like ‘you can push whenever’ and I was like ‘okay’ and one push and he was out,’ she recalled.
When Richard was born, he was still in the amniotic sac, so he was rushed straight to the the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) before his parents could even see him. It was four hours before they saw their baby for the first time. ‘It was overwhelming and very emotional. I don’t think we said anything, but we cried a lot,’ Beth said.
After six months, with more than four of those in the NICU with ‘a ridiculous amount of IV lines’, he left the hospital weighing just more than 4kg.
‘Since we’ve been home its been non-stop. He has both of us wrapped around his finger. He’s very silly, loves to play and goof around. I love being a mum. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I’m the oldest of five kids, so I love kids and helped my sisters raise their kids. He does amazing developmentally and he’s basically on track – I think we got really lucky there,’ she said.
‘We’re using Richard’s story to help others, to give others hope. I’m in a lot of support groups on Facebook and I have reached out to several mums who have had PCOS – having PCOS and having a preemie go hand in hand and it’s more common than people think.
‘We’ve had people reach out and ask for advice or just to talk about our experiences. Both my husband and I talked to several families who said Richard’s story has helped their babies, which is the one thing I wanted.’
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]