Baby 'graduates' from NICU after being born at 22 weeks

MOBILE, Ala. — A 5-month-old baby is celebrating a major milestone. reported that staff at University of South Alabama Children's and Women's Hospital's neonatal intensive care unit held a graduation ceremony for Cullen Potter.

Cullen was born premature at 22 weeks and two days, weighing 13.9 ounces.


"Our local hospital (in Pensacola, Florida,) flat out said they would not save him before 24 weeks and he had a 2% chance to live," Cullen's mother, Molli Potter, said in a Facebook post.

“I opted to transfer (after my husband called 16 hospitals in 3 states to find one that would save him),” Potter said in the post. “They acted like transferring was pointless, that trying to save him was pointless. Well, here he is. Alive and thriving. Never give up.”

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

Potter said she transferred to USA Children's and Women's Hospital in Mobile, Alabama, where she and her husband, Robert Potter, visited him from Milton, Florida, every day for 160 days, according to

By Aug. 21, he was discharged, but not before his primary care nurse from the day shift, Jewel Barbour, took him around the NICU hallway in a tiny cap and gown from Build-A-Bear as he "graduated" from the facility. Cullen was 5 pounds, 11 ounces and had "no major issues," his mother said.

Cullen’s mother had nothing but positive things to say about USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital.

“They believe in these small babies and give them the fighting chance they deserve,” Potter

. “I pray the more doctors and hospitals see stories like my sons and many more, that they will reconsider their policy and give all the babies the chance they deserve.”