Small but mighty!
Born almost four months premature, Rick and Beth Hutchinson’s little boy had the odds stacked against him. When baby Richard made his debut, he was the size of a can of soup and could fit into the palm of his mother’s hand.
Richard was 131 days premature. A standard gestational period is 40 weeks. This was extremely concerning and stressful for his parents.
Doctors were preparing Beth and Rick for the worst and hope seemed like a luxury.
Weighing less than a pound, he was taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unic (NICU) at Children’s Minnesota hospital in Minneapolis where a team of doctors did everything they could to stabilize him.
“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,” said Richard’s neonatologist at Children’s Minnesota, Dr. Stacy Kern.
The doctors agreed that although Richard didn’t have the best start in life, he could have a small chance if he made it through the first few weeks.
During those early days of uncertainty and worry, the family also had to navigate the COVID-19 protocols at the hospital. They were not allowed to stay overnight with Richard and they couldn’t share the burden with other family members.
The dedicated parents made the long journey across the state border from St. Croix to Minneapolis, Minnesota every single day just to spend time with Richard.
Even with all these hurdles to jump, baby Richard was ready for a fight.
On June 5, 2021, Richard saw his first birthday and he was surrounded by his loving family. His birthday also marked another incredible moment. Guinness World Records recognized Richard as the most premature baby to survive.
When asked how it felt to have her son receive this recognition Beth admitted she was surprised but happy. “It’s a way we can share his story to raise awareness about premature births.”
With his family gathered around, Richard’s strength and determination were celebrated.
Beth and Rick come from big families and all were present to wish this special baby boy the happiest of birthdays.
The doctors at Children’s Minnesota credited Richard’s miraculous survival to his parents who never gave up on him.
“Rick and Beth fought for Richard day after day and never stopped advocating for their baby through it all. Their strength and ability to stay positive and hopeful even during the most stressful and difficult times was inspiring.” – Dr Stacy Kern, Children’s Minnesota neonatologist
Beth has some advice for other parents dealing with similar circumstances.
“Advocate for your child as much as you can. Be nosey because it is your child, and you deserve to know what is going on.” – Beth Hutchinson
After spending half a year in the NICU, Richard was given the green light from doctors to go home in December 2020.
Richard’s parents and medical team were in awe of what this little boy had accomplished.
“The day Richard was discharged from the NICU was such a special day. I remember picking him up out of his crib and just holding him with tears in my eyes. – Dr. Kern
The Hutchinsons knew it wouldn’t be an easy road at first. Richard needed oxygen and a feeding tube when he left the hospital. The family is hopeful that this is only temporary.
“Richard is the youngest baby I have ever had the honor to care for. I feel so blessed and honored that I was the neonatologist on service the week Richard was born. To be a part of his incredible story… I can’t even put into words how amazing that feels.” – Dr. Kern
“We love the staff that took care of our son, and wish we could share him with them all the time. He was called the ‘miracle baby’ when he was there. I agree with them.” – Beth Hutchinson
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