Alabama Boy Born at 21 Weeks Defies 1% Survival Odds and Becomes World’s Most Premature Infant

His parents were told that there was a 99% chance that he would die. However, the little boy was a fighter and proved everyone wrong, and now he holds a world record. 

The Guinness World Records added another name to its lists after Alabama resident, Curtis Means, was born. He weighed in at 15 ounces and had very little chance of survival. Despite this, his mom continued to believe he would make it. 

The premature infant came into the world in July 2020 after his mother, Michelle Butler, carried him for 21 weeks. Sadly, Means’ twin sister, C’Asya, passed away after one day. Means was rushed straight into intensive care.


The healthcare workers at the Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (RNICU) monitored him closely and hoped he would pull through. Butler shared that she prayed fervently for the survival of her children.

She said: “My prayers have been answered. I gave God my little girl, and he let me continue to be the mother to Curtis.” The baby arrived 132 days early, and his birth was an extremely tricky procedure. 


The first time the mother held her little one was four weeks after she gave birth to him. It was a special moment that she will cherish forever. While his journey into the world was complicated, it was worth it for the grateful family. 

Means, who is now the world’s most premature baby to survive, was so small that his mom could hold him in her one hand. The infant had to spend the first nine months of his life in the intensive care unit. 


A team of medical professionals ensured that he was functioning optimally at all times. Dr. Brian Sims, professor of pediatrics in the UAB Division of Neonatology, said: “He showed a lot of response to the things we were doing.” 

The doctor was surprised that such a young infant had an immense fighting spirit, and he could not believe how strong Means was. Due to a lack of data, there was no way of knowing how the baby’s future would unfold. 

Fortunately, he has only been getting stronger. Butler visited the care facility as much as she could, and if she was unable to pop in, nurses would video-call her so she could see her son. The mom said: “It was ups and downs, good and bad days.”

When she could finally bring her baby home, Butler was ecstatic. She surprised her family, and all of them were grateful for Means’ resilient story of survival. They also shared that he is a very happy baby despite the many challenges he endured. 

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