A premature baby boy named Richard Scott William Hutchinson celebrated his first birthday on June 5, 2021. The boy’s remarkable survival is a miracle and an inspiration to have faith in God and a strong desire to live for humanity.
Richard’s birthday was notable for another reason, as the Guinness World Records organization honored him as the world’s most preterm infant survivor.
Baby Hutchinson was born into a household of American parents, Beth and Rick Hutchinson.
Beth’s due date was 13 Oct. 2020, but she experienced medical complications and unexpectedly went into labour almost four months earlier than anticipated.
Richard was delivered 131 days early, at 21 weeks and two days gestation. A baby’s average gestation time is 40 weeks.
Richard’s initial prognosis was not very hopeful, with a 0% chance of survival. At birth, he was so small he could fit in the palm of his parent’s hand and weighed only 340 g (11.9 oz)—the equivalent of a can of soup, or one-tenth of an ordinary newborn’s weight.
Richard’s family had to endure a difficult year after his birth. Rick and Beth were concerned and stressed when they learned the chances were stacked against their child due to the COVID-19 outbreak becoming increasingly deadly and confusing.
They were unable to spend the night with Richard or share part of the visiting responsibilities with other family members.
Every day, Rick and Beth drove across the state line from their home in St Croix County, Wisconsin, to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to spend as much time with Richard as possible.
“We made sure we were there to give him support,” Rick said. “I think that helped him get through this because he knew he could count on us.”
After spending more than half a year in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Richard was given the all-clear to leave the hospital and return home in early Dec. 2020.
Not only for the family but also for the medical team who had been with Richard every step of the way, it was an emotional day.
Dr. Stacy Kern, children’s Minnesota neonatologist, told Richard’s parents, “The day Richard was discharged from the NICU was such a special day. I remember picking him up out of his crib and just holding him with tears in my eyes.
“I couldn’t believe this was the same little boy that once was so sick, that I feared he may not survive. The same little boy that once fit in the palm of my hand, with skin so translucent that I could see every rib and vessel in his tiny body. I couldn’t help but squeeze him and tell him how proud I was of him.”
Although he was home, he was still hooked up to oxygen, a pulse oximeter and a feeding tube pump.
Richard, with his sparkling blue eyes and a cheerful smile on his adorable little face, is always the pride of his parents. He was going from strength to strength, defying all expectations.
The unconditional love and great sacrifice of Rick and Beth played a huge role in their son’s success and it touched our heart.
Beth’s advice to other parents of premature babies is to not give up.
Richard’s tale has inspired many people throughout the world, and Dr Kern believed we could all learn from him.
TheBL wishes Richard and his family all the best.