|Little Curtis pictured with Dr. Brian Sims. Source: Guinness World Records|
Born in July 2020, exactly one month after the previous world’s most premature baby,the Guinness Book of World Record has a new record holder: Curtis Zy-Keith Means of Birmingham, Alabama, USA.
Little Curtis was initially scheduled to be due November 11, 2020, however, on July 4, Michelle “Chelly” Butler (Curtis’s mother) had to be rushed to her local hospital for emergency surgery. After assessing the situations doctors determined that she be transferred to one of the leading hospitals in-state for access to greater neonatology and paediatric care at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).
Born on July 5, 2020 at around 1:00 PM, Little Curtis was only 21 weeks 1 day (148 days) into the gestational process. (A full-term pregnancy is typically 40 weeks, or 280 days, making Curtis 132 days – almost 19 weeks – premature.)
As a newborn, Curtis weighed only 420 g (14.8 oz).
In an exclusive interview with Guinness World Records, Chelly said, “The medical staff told me that they don’t normally keep babies at that age…It was very stressful.”
To the surprise of the doctors, Little Curtis responded extraordinarily well to treatment. Despite the many challenges Chelly and doctors faced, Little Curtis was a fighter growing stronger and stronger by the day.
However, this incredible story of beating the odds is made all the more remarkable by the fact that Curtis was one of two twins. His sister who was born on the same day a few minutes after, C’Asya Means, tragically didn’t make it which makes Curtis’s story all the more remarkable.
Dr. Brian Sims, the neonatologist overseeing the twins’ delivery said, “The numbers say that babies at this age will not survive. Mum’s question to me was: ‘Can we give my babies a chance?'”
After 275 days (about nine months) of being looked after by a huge team at the hospital’s NICU and the wider Women and Infants Center, it was determined that Curtis was fit enough to go home on April 6, 2021.
Curtis, or “Poodie” as his family also call him, celebrated his first birthday on July 5, 2021.
“He’s very active. I’m tired already!” Chelly told us with a grin when asked about her son’s energy levels. I’m very proud of him because where he came from and where he is 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.”
This November, which is Prematurity Awareness Month, we pause to celebrate Little Curtis because if he had been born full term this month would mark his birthday.
Source: Guinness World Records