Wearing a cap and gown, Cullen Potter was carried past his doctors and nurses on Aug. 21 in a special “graduation” from the hospital.
The Florida micro-preemie – who was given a 2-percent chance of survival – was finally going home.
AL.com reports Cullen was born in March after just 22 weeks and two days in the womb, weighing less than 1 pound.
But after 160 days in the University of South Alabama Children’s and Women’s Hospital in Mobile, Cullen grew strong enough to leave with his parents, WSVN News reports.
Earlier this month, when he was discharged, his medical team threw him a special graduation ceremony, complete with a tiny cap and gown and the traditional “Pomp and Circumstance” march. A video shared by the hospital has millions of views online.
A baby boy born at 22 weeks in our Level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) recently “graduated.” We love the cap and gown! pic.twitter.com/eWnl9cxBmg
— USA C&W Hospital (@USACWHospital) August 24, 2018
“We were told he had a 2% chance to live. Well, here’s our 2%. Perfect in every way. God is good,” his mother, Molli Potter, wrote on Facebook Aug. 21, the date Cullen was discharged.
The family spent months fighting for their son’s life, alongside doctors and nurses.
Here’s more from AL.com:
Cullen was born on March 14, at 22 weeks and two days’ gestation, weighing just 13.9 ounces. “That’s barely bigger than a Coke,” says his father, Robert Potter of Milton, Fla. The Potters drove back and forth every day for 160 days as Cullen was cared for at the hospital in Mobile.
After having some difficulties during her pregnancy, Molli had spent three weeks in a Pensacola hospital before Cullen was born. She and her husband were told that nothing could be done for her son there because he was so premature, and that he had a 2 percent chance of survival and would be disabled if he did live.
But the Potters refused to give up on their son. They said they had miscarried two babies prior to Cullen, and they wanted to do everything they could to save his life.
Molli Potter said her husband called 16 hospitals in three states to find one that would be willing to treat Cullen if he arrived before 24 weeks.
“I opted to transfer” from the Florida hospital, she said. “They acted like transferring was pointless, that trying to save him was pointless. Well, here he is. Alive and thriving. Never give up.”
She praised the medical team at the University of South Alabama Children’s and Women’s Hospital for working to save Cullen’s life.
“They are AMAZING at what they do,” his mother wrote online. “They believe in these small babies and give them the fighting chance they deserve. I pray the more doctors and hospitals see stories like my son’s and many more, that they will reconsider their policy and give all the babies the chance they deserve.”
The family said Cullen does not have any significant health issues, and he is happy to be home with his parents and big brother.
“He’s definitely a miracle, in more than one way,” his father said.
More premature babies are surviving outside the womb at earlier stages than ever before. In 2017, the journal Pediatrics highlighted a baby girl in the United States who survived after being born 21 weeks and four days after conception. The girl, who now is 3, is believed to be the youngest premature baby to survive.
Research published in 2015 in the New England Journal of Medicine also found that 23 percent of premature infants are surviving as early as 22 weeks of pregnancy. However, the study also found that some hospitals do not treat babies prior to 24 weeks, which once was considered the point of viability.