Alabama baby boy, Curtis Zy-Keith’s original due date was been 11 November 2020, as a full-term pregnancy is typically 40 weeks, or 280 days. But Curtis was born on the 4th of July 2020 making him 132 days, which is almost 19 weeks premature. Curtis weighed only 420 g (14.8 oz), which is about the same as a soccer ball at birth.
Initially, his mother, Michelle “Chelly” Butler’s pregnancy seemed to be progressing well and on track to go to full term. However, on 4 July 2020, she had to be rushed into hospital for emergency surgery. “The medical staff told me that they don’t normally keep babies at that age,” Michelle Chelly told Guinness World Records in an exclusive interview. “It was very stressful.”
Curtis was a twin
But it was not all rosy and cute, there were many challenges along the way as he required care and close supervision around the clock for many months. Sadly too, Curtis was a twin and his sister didn’t survive.
Also delivered at 21 weeks 1 day, his sister – C’Asya Means who was less developed, did not respond to the treatment in the way her brother did; and so, she tragically passed away just a day after birth.
The neonatologist on duty who oversaw the twins’ delivery and who was greatly involved with Curtis’ subsequent treatment; Dr Brian Sims told the Guinness world book of records; “The numbers say that babies at this age will not survive. Mum’s question to me was; ‘Can we give my babies a chance?'”
“We have never been able to bring a baby that young to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit so [Curtis] was literally the first of his kind. We were in uncharted territory” – Dr Brian Sims, professor of Pediatrics at UAB Hospital
After 275 days which is about nine months, of being looked after by a huge team at the RNICU and the wider Women and Infants Center, it was determined that Curtis was fit enough to go home on 6 April 2021.