Identical twins have an inseparable relationship. That was confirmed by twins Chester Graves and brother Otis. That cuddles from his brother are helping ᴘʀᴇᴍᴀᴛᴜʀᴇ son who was born weighing 1lb to thrive. The couple Kelly Graves, 32, and husband, Billy, 35, from Benfleet, Essex, say they have no doubt that Chester’s ᴍɪʀᴀᴄᴜʟᴏᴜs fight for sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴀʟ is down to the bond he shares with his identical twin, Otis. Mom Kelly said :”I have no doubt that cuddling with his twin has helped him keep fighting. The twins finally met for the first time since being born on September 22, which was incredibly emotional. It was everything I was waiting for, and although Otis was asleep, Chester was ᴏʙsᴇssᴇᴅ with him and ᴄᴏᴜʟᴅɴ’ᴛ take his eyes away from his brother.” Touching photos show the ᴘᴀɪʀ ʟʏɪɴɢ side by side during family visits to Chester in the ɴᴇᴏɴᴀᴛᴀʟ unit at southend hospital, where he will likely remain for another two months.
Chester’s health problems first became apparent at Kelly’s 16-week sᴄᴀɴ, where she was informed the babies differed in size by 25 per cent – something that ᴄᴏɴᴄᴇʀɴᴇᴅ the ᴅᴏᴄᴛᴏʀs . The difference in size between the two brothers was ᴅᴜᴇ to a ᴄᴏɴᴅɪᴛɪᴏɴ called Sᴇʟᴇᴄᴛɪᴠᴇ Iɴᴛʀᴀᴜᴛᴇʀɪɴᴇ Gʀᴏᴡᴛʜ Rᴇsᴛʀɪᴄᴛɪᴏɴ, which results in Chester ɴᴏᴛ ʀᴇᴄᴇɪᴠɪɴɢ the ʀᴇǫᴜɪʀᴇᴅ ɴᴜᴛʀɪᴇɴᴛs from the ᴘʟᴀᴄᴇɴᴛᴀ, ʜᴀʟᴛɪɴɢ his growth. At 19 weeks, she ᴡᴀs ᴀᴅᴍɪᴛᴛᴇᴅ to the king’s college Hᴏsᴘɪᴛᴀʟ in London for ʟᴀsᴇʀ sᴜʀɢɪᴄᴀʟ ᴛʀᴇᴀᴛᴍᴇɴᴛ. She said: “They informed us that there was ᴀʙsᴇɴᴛ ғʟᴏᴡ of ɴᴜᴛʀɪᴇɴᴛs to Chester was the reason why he wasn’t really growing. I had to have ᴇɴᴅᴏsᴄᴏᴘɪᴄ ʟᴀsᴇʀ sᴜʀɢᴇʀʏ whereby they enter the ᴡᴏᴍʙ through the side of your body in order to reach the ᴘʟᴀᴄᴇɴᴛᴀ ᴋɪʟʟ of the ʙʟᴏᴏᴅ ᴠᴇssᴇʟs connecting the two babies. The sᴜʀɢᴇʀʏ was ᴘᴇʀғᴏʀᴍᴇᴅ to sᴇᴘᴀʀᴀᴛᴇ the babies in the womb so that if Chester ʜᴀᴅɴ’ᴛ sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴇᴅ it would have ᴘʀᴏᴛᴇᴄᴛᴇᴅ Otis from ᴅʏɪɴɢ or ʙᴇɪɴɢ left with ʟᴀsᴛɪɴɢ ʙʀᴀɪɴ ᴅᴀᴍᴀɢᴇ.”
After the sᴜʀɢᴇʀʏ, Kelly and Billy were told Chester was still only growing around 25ɢ a week, whereas Otis was growing roughly 100ɢ a week. Kelly added:” I ᴡas being told at every sᴄᴀɴ that he may ɴᴏᴛ sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴇ which was heart -ʙʀᴇᴀᴋɪɴɢ. I ᴡᴇɴᴛ ᴀᴡᴀʏ and was eating around 200g of protein per day to help him ɢʀᴏᴡ and was drinking around five liters of water to try and get Chester’s water levels up because they were also ʟᴏᴡ. This was ɴᴏᴛ in any way proven to help, but I tried everything I could to ʀᴇᴘʟᴇɴɪsʜ his levels and keep him fighting.” Chester’s ᴄcondition stabilized but at 28 weeks, Kelly’s Waters ʙʀᴏᴋᴇ, and she was ʀᴜsʜ to go to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge .
Chester Graves ᴡᴀs born ᴘʀᴇᴍᴀᴛᴜʀᴇʟʏ at 28 weeks on July 15 2021, weighing 1 pound 1 ounce, alongside his brother, Otis, who was three times the size at 3 pounds 7 ounces . Kelly said :”Otis came out first and he was ᴘᴜᴛ into the ɪɴᴄᴜʙᴀᴛᴏʀ. When Chester came out, they found a knot in his ᴄᴏʀᴅ which also ʜᴀʟᴛᴇᴅ his ɢʀᴏᴡᴛʜ, and the consultant was ᴅᴇsᴘᴇʀᴀᴛᴇ to get him ɪɴᴄᴜʙᴀᴛᴇᴅ as soon as possible to help him sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴇ.” Luckily, the ᴍᴇᴅɪᴄᴀʟ team ᴡᴀs able to ᴠᴇɴᴛɪʟᴀᴛᴇ Chester. However, since then, he has been fighting multiple issues such as ɴᴇᴄʀᴏᴛɪsɪɴɢ ᴇɴᴛᴇʀᴏᴄᴏʟɪᴛɪs, or ⓃⒺⒸ, which is a serious condition where ᴛɪssᴜᴇ in the ʙᴏᴡᴇʟ becomes ɪɴғʟᴀᴍᴇᴅ, which Chester ᴄᴀᴜɢʜᴛ after nine days. Additionally, Chester had a ʜᴏʟᴇ in his ʜᴇᴀʀᴛ, which was discovered later but has now thankfully been closed. He’s also had ᴇʏᴇ sᴜʀɢᴇʀʏ.
After six weeks at the hospital, Otis ᴡᴀsᴅɪsᴄʜᴀʀɢᴇᴅ and now weighs 6 pounds 3 ounces , but tiny Chester ғᴏᴜɢʜᴛ for his life since his birth and only weighs 3 pounds 6 ounces . Despite everything he has been through, he is still fighting in order to come home and be with his parents, Otis and the rest of the family. Kelly said: “It is very bittersweet because we have Otis at home now and everyone says how nice it must be, but it’s alsoʜᴏʀʀɪʙʟᴇ because we ᴄᴀɴ’ᴛ feel complete until both babies are back together. Chester has now tripled his birth weight , currently weighing 3lb 6oz, and Kelly and Billy are ᴅᴇsᴘᴇʀᴀᴛᴇ to get him home. He has to gain a ғᴜʀᴛʜᴇʀ 255 grams still and will most likely be on ʟᴏᴡ ғʟᴏᴡ ᴏxʏɢᴇɴ when he’s home, but we are hoping in around a month or two he can finally meet the rest of the family.”