Originally published on November 17, 2021
2020 witnessed the birth of the world’s two most premature babies ever to survive. Previously, the title of the world’s most premature baby went to Richard Hutchinson. Born at just 21 weeks, two days, Hutchinson was given a zero percent chance of survival, yet he fought to live and celebrated his first birthday in June.
This month, the Guinness Book of World Records awarded the title to another little boy born in 2020 who is also beating the odds. Curtis Means was born one month after the previous record holder. He was delivered at 21 weeks one day, a full day before Hutchinson, and weighed less than a pound at 14.8 ounces. Now 16-months-old, Curtis is thriving.
Curtis’s due date was originally in November 2020, but his mother, Michelle Butler, went into labor on the night of July 4, 2020, a full four months before November. The next day, July 5, Butler gave birth to Curtis and his twin sister C’Asya through caesarian section. Their medical team did not expect either twin to survive because of their extreme prematurity.
Dr. Brian Sims, the neonatologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham who cared for Means told media, “The numbers say that babies at this age will not survive. Mom’s question to me was: ‘Can we give my babies a chance?’” Doctors did treat the twins, and, remarkably, Curtis immediately showed signs of improvement. Sims said, “He showed initially that he responded to oxygen, his heart rate went up, his numbers went up.” Sims added, “He was giving us a lot of positive feedback that… he wanted to survive.”
Sadly, C’Asya was not as developed as her brother, and she did not survive. Curtis, however, kept fighting. After being given a less than one per cent chance of survival, Curtis continued to improve in the neonatal intensive care unit. He faced a long journey, ultimately spending 275 days in the hospital.
His mother said, “Being able to finally take Curtis home and surprise my older children with their younger brother is a moment I will always remember.” According to his mother, Curtis’s three older siblings help with taking care of him. Doctors say Curtis is in good health, but he still requires supplemental oxygen and assistance eating.
Dr. Sims, who cared for Curtis, said, “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.” Sadly, many babies born at the age that Curtis was are not given the chance of treatment, even if their parents want to give them a chance.
Texas Right to Life has previously covered the amazing stories of premature babies and the medical technologies that have arisen to help them live and develop. There is no more remarkable example of the reality of preborn life than the people who entered the world months before the end of pregnancy.
In many states, babies at the stage of development of Curtis and C’Asya could legally be killed in elective abortion. A culture that allows the destruction of such innocent human life is a culture that does not value any life. With the dawn of widely available ultrasound technology and increasingly sophisticated assistance for premature babies, no one can deny that the child in the womb is a living, human child.
There is no question that the child born 19 weeks early is the same beaming toddler awarded with the title of world’s most premature baby. All that separates the tiny newborn from the laughing toddler are time and development, which would be true even if Curtis were born at 40 weeks.
No matter what the abortion industry tells us, birth does not create life. Life exists from the moment of conception, and we, as we strive for a just society, must protect Life at every stage.