Curtis Means broke the record and is the world’s most premature baby to survive according to the Guinness World Record Books. Born at just 21 weeks and one day, his doctors say that it was a miracle that the boy survived.

The Alabama baby is now 16 months and his mother, Michelle “Chelly” Butler, said her record-breaking son is doing very well. Means weighed less than a pound at birth.

A baby is considered full-term at 40 weeks, when Butler went into labor at 21 weeks and one day she was rushed from her hospital to the UAB Hospital in Birmingham, Ala. Means, and his twin sister, C’Asya who only survived a day, were born at 132 weeks premature.

At the time of their birth, the twins only had less than a one percent chance of survival.

At first, doctors were worried about this incredible baby and they were certain that he wouldn’t survive. Babies born at that stage typically didn’t. “We typically advise for compassionate care in situations of such extremely preterm births. This allows the parents to hold their babies and cherish what little time they may have together,” said Dr. Brian Sims, who was one of the doctors that worked with Curtis Means during his time at the hospital.

Curtis Means just set the record for being the world's most premature baby to ever survive. (Credit: UAB Hospital)
Curtis Means just set the record for being the world’s most premature baby to ever survive. (Credit: UAB Hospital)

Curtis Means’ mother was told by doctors to keep praying for her son. Doctors and nurses at the UAB Hospital treated Means, and he surprised everyone by responding very well. According to the hospital, he was the first premature baby of his kind that they had treated.

Means was able to get off the ventilator after three months and after 275 days (roughly nine months) in the hospital, Chelly Butler was able to take her miracle baby home. Six months after he left the hospital, the Guinness World Records said that Curtis Means was the most premature surviving baby in the world.

According to the record books, this amazing baby beat out the previous world record for world’s most premature baby by just a day. The previous record was held by Wisconsin born Richard Hutchinson who was born at 21 weeks and two days.

His mother told the Guinness World Records that it was an amazing experience to introduce Means to his older siblings, but she’s tired. Apparently this amazing baby has an incredible amount of energy!

“He’s very active. I’m tired already! I’m very proud of him because where he came from and where he at now, I can tell the difference,” said Butler.

Since bringing her baby home, Chelly Butler is grateful for the team at UAB who helped her through the birth of her incredible baby. She said that the team of nurses and doctors always made sure that she knew what was going on.

“It was a difficult journey, but I am grateful for the UAB team and their constant support. They took the time to educate me and made sure I knew what was happening every step of the way. They truly cared about my son and me,” said Butler.

Curtis Means still has a long way to go in his recovery. While in the hospital, speech therapists worked with him to develop use of his mouth and they have been continuing to work with the baby to help him learn how to eat. Means’ doctors and family don’t know what his future could hold because of how special he is, but his mother is positive that her son will have a very interesting and incredible life.

Dr. Sims hopes that Means’ birth will help advance the research for other premature babies and that soon doctors will be able to save more children who are born as early as this miracle baby.

He said, “We do not know what all the future will hold for Curtis since there is no one else like him. He started writing his own story the day he was born. That story will be read and studied by many and, hopefully, will help improve care of premature infants around the world.”