Parents of identical ᴛᴡɪɴs have hailed the unbreakable bond between their sons, stating that the cuddles from one son are helping the other son who ᴡᴀs ʙᴏʀɴ weighing 1 pound (0.45 kg) to continue thriving. Chester Graves ᴡᴀs ʙᴏʀɴ prematurely at 28 weeks on July 15 this year, weighing 1 pound 1 ounce, alongside his brother, Otis, who was ᴛʜʀᴇᴇ ᴛɪᴍᴇs the size at 3 pounds 7 ounces (1.56 kg). After six weeks at the ʜᴏsᴘɪᴛᴀʟ, Otis was ᴅɪsᴄʜᴀʀɢᴇᴅ and now weighs 6 pounds 3 ounces (2.81 kg), but tiny Chester ꜰᴏᴜɢʜᴛ ꜰᴏʀ ʜɪs ʟɪꜰᴇ sɪɴᴄᴇ ʜɪs ʙɪʀᴛʜ and only weighs 3 pounds 6 ounces (1.53 kg).
Kelly said: “I have no doubt that cuddles with his ᴛᴡɪɴ has helped him keep ꜰɪɢʜᴛɪɴɢ.” The ᴛᴡɪɴs, said their mother, met for the first time on Sept. 22 since being ʙᴏʀɴ in July. The moment was “ɪɴᴄʀᴇᴅɪʙʟʏ ᴇᴍᴏᴛɪᴏɴᴀʟ.” Kelly said: “It was everything I was waiting for, and although Otis was asleep, Chester was ᴏʙsᴇssᴇᴅ with him and couldn’t take his eyes away from his brother,”
Recalling the last few months, Kelly shares that since her ᴡᴀᴛᴇʀs ʙʀᴏᴋᴇ at 28 weeks, the family’s life has been a “ᴡʜɪʀʟᴡɪɴᴅ.” Chester’s ʜᴇᴀʟᴛʜ ᴘʀᴏʙʟᴇᴍs first became apparent at Kelly’s 16-week sᴄᴀɴ, where she was informed that the babies differed in size by 25 percent—something that concerned the ᴅᴏᴄᴛᴏʀs. The difference in size between the two brothers was due to a condition called sᴇʟᴇᴄᴛɪᴠᴇ ɪɴᴛʀᴀᴜᴛᴇʀɪɴᴇ ɢʀᴏᴡᴛʜ ʀᴇsᴛʀɪᴄᴛɪᴏɴ, which resulted in Chester not receiving the required nutrients from the ᴘʟᴀᴄᴇɴᴛᴀ, ʜᴀʟᴛɪɴɢ ʜɪs ɢʀᴏᴡᴛʜ.
Kelly said: “They informed us that there was ᴀʙsᴇɴᴛ ꜰʟᴏᴡ ᴏꜰ ɴᴜᴛʀɪᴇɴᴛs to Chester, [which] was the reason why he ᴡᴀsɴ’ᴛ ʀᴇᴀʟʟʏ ɢʀᴏᴡɪɴɢ.” At 19 weeks of ɢᴇsᴛᴀᴛɪᴏɴ, Kelly was admitted to the Kings College ʜᴏsᴘɪᴛᴀʟ in London for ʟᴀsᴇʀ sᴜʀɢɪᴄᴀʟ ᴛʀᴇᴀᴛᴍᴇɴᴛ. She said: “I had to have ᴇɴᴅᴏsᴄᴏᴘɪᴄ ʟᴀsᴇʀ sᴜʀɢᴇʀʏ whereby ᴛʜᴇʏ ᴇɴᴛᴇʀ ᴛʜᴇ ᴡᴏᴍʙ ᴛʜʀᴏᴜɢʜ ᴛʜᴇ sɪᴅᴇ ᴏꜰ ʏᴏᴜʀ ʙᴏᴅʏ ɪɴ ᴏʀᴅᴇʀ ᴛᴏ ʀᴇᴀᴄʜ ᴛʜᴇ ᴘʟᴀᴄᴇɴᴛᴀ, ᴋɪʟʟ ᴏꜰꜰ ᴛʜᴇ ʙʟᴏᴏᴅ ᴠᴇssᴇʟs ᴄᴏɴɴᴇᴄᴛɪɴɢ ᴛʜᴇ ᴛᴡᴏ ʙᴀʙɪᴇs. The sᴜʀɢᴇʀʏ was performed to sᴇᴘᴀʀᴀᴛᴇ ᴛʜᴇ ʙᴀʙɪᴇs ɪɴ ᴛʜᴇ ᴡᴏᴍʙ so that if Chester hadn’t sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴇᴅ, it would have protected Otis from ᴅʏɪɴɢ ᴏʀ ʙᴇɪɴɢ ʟᴇꜰᴛ ᴡɪᴛʜ ʟᴀsᴛɪɴɢ ʙʀᴀɪɴ ᴅᴀᴍᴀɢᴇ.”
Chester’s condition stabilized but at 28 weeks, as Kelly’s ᴡᴀᴛᴇʀs ʙʀᴏᴋᴇ, she was blue lighted to go to Addenbrooke’s ʜᴏsᴘɪᴛᴀʟ in Cambridge as she was likely to ᴅᴇʟɪᴠᴇʀ. Kelly recalls that at this point, Chester was 485 grams, which was close to being deemed viable. A C-sᴇᴄᴛɪᴏɴ was performed, and Otis was immediately ᴠᴇɴᴛɪʟᴀᴛᴇᴅ, but Chester had to first be stabilized as he had become very ᴡᴇᴀᴋ ᴅᴜʀɪɴɢ ᴛʜᴇ ʙɪʀᴛʜ. Otis came out first and he was put into the incubator.
Kelly and Billy were able to bring Otis home after 46 days spent between Addenbrooke ʜᴏsᴘɪᴛᴀʟ and their local ʜᴏsᴘɪᴛᴀʟ of Southend, but Chester has had to sᴛᴀʏ ᴘᴜᴛ ᴏɴ ʜɪɢʜ-ꜰʟᴏᴡ ᴏxʏɢᴇɴ ᴀɴᴅ ɪɴᴄᴜʙᴀᴛɪᴏɴ. During this period, the parents didn’t get time to spend with their three other kids, Phoebe, 10, Florence, 8, and Albert, 5, who were on school holidays. As their parents were busy juggling between the two ʜᴏsᴘɪᴛᴀʟs, the children had to stay with other family members.
Kelly said: “We are so lucky that Chester is a fighter and despite everything he has been through, he is still ꜰɪɢʜᴛɪɴɢ in order to come home and be with his parents, Otis, and the rest of the family. Everyone says how nice it must be, but it’s also ʜᴏʀʀɪʙʟᴇ because we can’t feel complete until both babies are back together.”