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HomeArticleWorld’s Most Premature Baby Defies All Odds: From 11 Ounces to Baby Richard’s First Birthday!

World’s Most Premature Baby Defies All Odds: From 11 Ounces to Baby Richard’s First Birthday!

World’s Most Premature Baby Defies All Odds: From 11 Ounces to Baby Richard’s First Birthday!

Baby Richard celebrates his first birthday after being born at 11 ounces. (photo: Hutchinson Family)

As the world’s most premature baby celebrates his first birthday, an opportunity for the nation to celebrate and consider the viability of life at all stages.

The pictures have circled secular media for about a week now. A tiny baby dependent on oxygen smiling in front of a cake that is bigger than his 1-year old head. An infant that came into the world when his mother, Beth Hutchinson was only 5 months pregnant.

The mother delivering a child as she is told the baby will not survive. The mood in the delivery room somber and tragic. But this baby had a different story to tell, defying all odds and surviving in the Minneapolis hospital NICU unit.

Baby Richard licks cake from his fingers celebrating his first birthday.
Baby Richard licks cake from his fingers celebrating his first birthday.

June 6, 2020, Baby Richard Scott Willliam Hutchinson came into the world weighing 11 ounces, the smallest most premature baby on record in the world.  His mother Beth was only 20 weeks pregnant. The tiny baby was given zero percent chance of survival.

Baby Richard fighting for his life within the Minneapolis NICU.
Baby Richard fighting for his life within the Minneapolis NICU.

Richard’s father Rick Hutchinson said his son is truly a miracle given what every doctor told them when he was born.

“When Richard was born, they told us he had a zero percent chance of survival and they asked us if we wanted to hold him before he passed away, and after consulting with the neonatologist department there, they agreed to give him a chance and look!”

Fast forward to this month where Baby Richard celebrated his first birthday now weighing a whopping 16 pounds.  Born at just 20 weeks gestation, Baby Richard is now a Guinness Book of World Records record holder. He is the youngest known person to survive.

Baby Richard fighting for his life within the Minneapolis NICU.
Baby Richard fighting for his life within the Minneapolis NICU.

His mother Beth says he’s a darling boy growing everyday saying: “He likes to babble a lot, he’s trying to crawl,” overcoming the daily milestones that young babies and toddlers go through after his first remarkable hurdle.

Baby Richard trying solids for the first time on May 25, 2021.
Baby Richard trying solids for the first time on May 25, 2021.

His father, Rick says he can’t imagine what his son’s life might hold given the story he already has to tell. “I think the future looks bright for him and whatever he decides to do, he’ll make a big mark.”

This pro-life story offers hope to millions of mothers and families dealing with high-risk pregnancies, learning that a zero-chance of survival rate may not actually be the case. The Hutchinson family is intent upon sharing the story of their son to inspire others concerned about their babies.

Baby Richard celebrates Father's Day with his dad at home in Wisconsin.
Baby Richard celebrates Father’s Day with his dad at home in Wisconsin.

“We are actually trying to start a nonprofit for families to give that hope and that outside resource,” Mommy Hutchinson said.

The hospital leadership in Minneapolis has also been impacted by their small patients in the NICU. Just this month, The Mother Baby Center, a partnership between Allina Health and Children’s Minnesota, announced the expansion of its neonatal intensive care unit services at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids, improving access to neonatal experts and allowing the center to care for even more prematurely born babies, as young as 28 weeks or older.

Baby Richard with his proud parents as he graduates NICU.
Baby Richard with his proud parents as he graduates NICU.

Viability is an idea that the Supreme Court will consider this Fall as they look into a Mississippi abortion ban case.  The high court announced May 17 that it would decide Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, where a Mississippi law banned most abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy because, by then, the fetus is capable of feeling pain.

As Catholics, we know that life indeed does begin in the womb at the moment of conception. Let’s pray that the story of Baby Richard reaches the Supreme Court, permeates into conversations across the country and globe so life will be protected at all stages, and babies will be given a fighting chance to survive no matter what a calendar might read. In the words of Dr. Seuss, “A person’s a person no matter how small!”

Happy birthday Baby Richard!

Deo Gratias! 

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