There are plenty of famous preemies that are easily recognizable by name - what is not as well known is their rough beginnings in this world, and the challenges they overcame as infants. Below are some notable individuals who came into this world earlier than anticipated and lived to tell the tale.
Famous Preemies, Yesterday and Today
There are a few children both in the United States and abroad who have become famous due to their premature birth, especially those who are considered to be the smallest and youngest infants to ever survive. However, much more commonly, these tiny babies grow up to make an impact on society in some shape or form, and then through general public interest, it is revealed they were born premature.
Albert Einstein, famous for his great contributions to math and science, was born premature in Germany in March of 1879. He was once quoted as saying, "There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is." This rang true for Einstein, who experienced small beginnings in a time where neonatology was virtually non-existent, and went on to make outstanding achievements.
Accomplished American writer Mark Twain is also on the roster of famous preemies. He went on to also experience a premature death, when his obituary was accidentally published in a newspaper long before his actual passing.
Perhaps his premature birth was responsible for his infamously small stature. Either way, Napoleon went on to achieve great military success and is regarded today as a genius leader by many.
Famous American singer Stevie Wonder became blind as an infant due to a condition known as retinopathy of prematurity. This is a common condition of preemies and takes place when the blood vessels in the back of the eyes are not fully developed and detach from the retinas. While it would be a challenge for anyone to be blind from birth, Wonder has thrived and his dark sunglasses has become a signature part of his look as a professional musician.
Sir Winston Churchill
The celebrated former prime minister of England was born two months premature. However even with his difficult start, he was born into great accommodations - a bedroom inside of an Oxfordshire palace.
The great French novelist, most famous for creating the wildly successful Les Miserables, was a preemie of 1802, again beating the odds in a time where medical technology was not in favor of early infants.
A leader of the Methodist church and noted writer of many hymns, Wesley was born two months early in England. Rumor has it he was wrapped tightly in wool until his original due date, preserving his life.
Small and strong Anna grew up to become one of the world's most famous ballerinas, and her influence on the craft continues to be taught to dance students today.
Some celebrities were not famous preemies themselves, but have given birth to premature infants. The list includes TV chef Gordon Ramsey's twins and Margaret Thatcher's children - Carol and Mark - who arrived seven weeks sooner than anticipated.
As mentioned previously, some famous preemies are only known to the world due to their early birth. Rumaisa Rahman is thought to hold the record as the world's smallest surviving infant, weighing in at 8.6 ounces at birth. She was born in September of 2004 and stayed in the neonatal intensive care unit of a Chicago-area hospital until the following February. She is expected to live a normal life alongside her twin sister who was also small and early at 1 pound 4 ounces.
Amillia Sonja Taylor is another name that comes up in NICU circles when discussing the smallest preemie to make it out alive. She called the hospital home for four months, but is now safe and sound with her family.
Famous preemies turn out to be all shapes and sizes, but one thing is for certain - premature children are continuously growing up and going on to make history in all aspects of our world.