A baby from Alabama broke the Guinness World Record for miraculously surviving a gestational age of 21 weeks and one day.
The Christian Headlines said Curtis Zy-Keith Means was born in the University of Alabama's Birmingham Hospital on July 5, 2020 alongside his twin sister, C'Asya Means. This makes them 19 weeks or 132 days premature. CNN said Curtis was born at less than one pound.
The full-term gestational age for a baby is 280 days or 40 weeks. However, C'Asya died a day later and the doctors gave Curtis an "almost 0 percent chance of survival" the Guinness World Records said. While Curtis was discharged on April 2021 from the hospital.
The twins' mother, Michelle Butler shared with Guinness how "stressful" her experience was especially since the hospital she gave birth in normally do not retain babies in that condition. The good thing was Curtis was responding positively to his treatment and oxygen. Though tired from the experience, Butler revealed how proud she is of Curtis and his accomplishment.
"The medical staff told me that they don't normally keep babies at that age. It was very stressful," Butler shared.
"I'm very proud of him because where he came from and where he (is) at now, I can tell the difference. Having this record is a blessing that he has accomplished, and I'm thankful that (Guinness World Records) accepted him," she emphasized.
Birmingham Hospital Neonatologist Brian Sims in an interview with Guinness explained that babies are not retained at that age due to their small rate of survival. Sims was the attending physician for the twins' delivery and treatment. He disclosed that they went against what was customary because Butler requested that Curtis be given another chance, who he did saw "wanted to survive."
"The numbers say that babies at this age will not survive. Mom's question to me was: 'Can we give my babies a chance?'" Sims disclosed.
"I've been doing this almost 20 years...but I've never seen a baby this young be as strong as he was. There was something special about Curtis," he added.
According to Christian Headlines, the previous record holder is a 4-month-old premature baby from Minnesota, Richard Scott William Hutchinson. He was born 131 days premature at 11.9 ounces at the Children's Minnesota Hospital on June 5, 2020. Hutchinson celebrated his first birthday this year. Like Curtis, Hutchinson was also given a "0% chance of survival" and was a "fighter."
Hutchinson's parents, Rick and Beth, are from Wisconsin's St. Croix County. They said during their interview with Guinness upon receiving the world record previously that their son's story would be helpful in raising awareness about babies like him.
"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," Hutchinson's parents revealed.
The Guinness World Record began taking a record of premature babies in 1987 when James Elgin Gill was born in Canada at 128 days premature or at 21 weeks and five days of gestational age.