Little Richard Hutchinson was born 131 days premature in June 2020

By Rachel DeSantis
June 21, 2021 11:46 AM
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Richard Scott William Hutchinson
Richard Hutchinson
| Credit: gofundme

Little Richard Hutchinson has defied the odds as the world's most premature baby to ever survive — and earlier this month, he celebrated a major milestone with his first birthday.

Richard was born on June 5, 2020, coming into the world 131 days premature and weighing just 11.9 oz., according to a Guinness World Records press release.

His tiny size — parents Beth and Rick Hutchinson could hold their new son in the palm of just one of their hands — meant that he had to spend his first seven months of his life in the neonatal intensive care unit at Children's Minnesota hospital in Minneapolis.

"When Rick and Beth received prenatal counseling on what to expect with a baby born so early, they were given a 0% chance of survival by our neonatology team," Dr. Stacy Kern, Richard's neonatologist at the hospital, said in the release.

Despite the difficult odds, Richard was ultimately discharged from the hospital in December, and recently celebrated his first birthday, gaining official recognition from Guinness as the most premature baby to survive, according to the release.

Richard Scott William Hutchinson
Rick and Richard Hutchinson
| Credit: gofundme

The title's previous holder, James Elgin Gill, was born 128 days premature in Ottawa, Canada in 1987.

"It doesn't feel real. 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," Beth said in the release. "He is a very happy baby. Always has a smile on the adorable little face of his. His bright blue eyes and smile get me every time."

As if Richard's health woes weren't hard enough, the situation was made even more difficult by COVID, as Rick and Beth were unable to stay with their son overnight in the hospital.

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Still, they trekked over an hour each day from their home in St. Croix County, Wisconsin to Minneapolis to be with Richard as he grew stronger and healthier.

"I credit his miraculous survival to his wonderful parents who were there for him every step of the way and to the entire neonatology team at Children's Minnesota," Kern said in the release. "It takes a village to care for and support these babies until the time they are ready to go home."

Richard was eventually discharged from the hospital in December, though he was still on oxygen, a pulse oximeter machine and a pump for his feeding tube.

"We are working on getting him off all of them, but it takes time," Beth said in the release. "He has come a long way and is doing amazing."