Smallest Baby Ever Delivered at Texas Hospital Gets Delightful Graduation Ceremony

A hospital in Houston has thrown a graduation ceremony for what is believed to be the smallest baby ever delivered at the medical facility after it was given the all-clear to leave close to five months after being born.

The ceremony was thrown for Samuel Gonzalez on Wednesday August 11 at the Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital in Texas, months after he was born weighing less than a pound on March 25.

Samuel was born early due to a placental issue, causing the medical professionals at the hospital to deliver him via a C-section just 26 weeks into his mother's pregnancy, according to NBC affiliate Click2Houston.

C-sections are common in the U.S., and the latest figures released in July 2017 show almost 2.7 million vaginal births took place in the country in 2016, compared with around 1.3 million C-sections.

The hospital told the local outlet that it believes Samuel is the smallest baby it has ever delivered, but confirmed that the medical center only started keeping records of newborn weights in 2016.

On Thursday, after 140 days being treated at the facility, Samuel was given the all-clear by the hospital to go home with his parents and is expected to leave with his family in the next few days.

In celebration of Samuel's progress, the hospital threw a graduation ceremony for him on Thursday that included decorations, a cake and a cap and gown for the baby.

The multiple decorations stuck to Samuel's crib included the phrases "Way to go grad" and "Congrats grad" as a picture shared with Click2Houston showed the tiny baby lying on an animal-themed cushion.

An artwork of Winnie the Pooh, the fictional teddy bear character created by author A. A. Milne and illustrator E. H. Shepard, is on display in the room Samuel has been staying in for the past few months after being created by nurse Cyndi Shelby.

"The windows are very special to me," Shelby told the local outlet as she explained that she created the artwork as "hospitals are not the most celebratory of places sometimes. They can look very sterile, and I wanted to bring a little bit of happiness to the patients and to their families and to make it a little bit more at home."

Shelby revealed that she was also born premature and added that the artworks are "just my way of giving a little something to the parents to make them have a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel."

Samuel's parents said that they were moved by the ceremony, as his father told Click2Houston: "It's just crazy—the etiquette, the consistency, the passion is just, it's amazing to see that. I couldn't thank everybody enough."

According to a medical report from the University of Michigan, the average weight of an American baby is approximately 7.5 lbs, but any weight between 5.5 lbs and 10 lbs is considered "normal."

A bizarre new TikTok trend started in April of 2021 where new mothers competed to see who gave birth to the heaviest baby, with one woman claiming: "I had triplets and combined they weighed 15lbs 5oz."

However, that figure is much lower than the reported weight of a baby born in a Texas hospital in 2018, with the infant weighing nearly 15 lbs—twice the size of an average newborn.

Baby graduation in hopsital
An image provided by Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital on Friday August 13 showing baby Samuel Gonzalez at a graduation ceremony put on for him after he was given the all clear to go home. Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital

UPDATE 8/13/21 11:03 a.m. ET: This article was updated to include a picture from Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital.