Parents of identical tᴡɪɴs 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 tʜʀᴇᴇ tɪᴍᴇs the size at 3 pounds 7 ounces (1.56 kg). After six weeks at the ʜᴏsᴘɪtᴀʟ, Otis was ᴅɪsᴄʜᴀʀɢᴇᴅ and now weighs 6 pounds 3 ounces (2.81 kg), but tiny Chester ꜰᴏᴜɢʜt ꜰᴏʀ ʜɪs ʟɪꜰᴇ sɪɴᴄᴇ ʜɪs ʙɪʀtʜ and only weighs 3 pounds 6 ounces (1.53 kg).
Kelly said: “I have no doubt that cuddles with his tᴡɪɴ has helped him keep ꜰɪɢʜtɪɴɢ.” The tᴡɪɴs, said their mother, met for the first time on Sept. 22 since being ʙᴏʀɴ in July. The moment was “ɪɴᴄʀᴇᴅɪʙʟʏ ᴇᴍᴏtɪᴏɴᴀʟ.” 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 ᴡᴀtᴇʀs ʙʀᴏᴋᴇ at 28 weeks, the family’s life has been a “ᴡʜɪʀʟᴡɪɴᴅ.” Chester’s ʜᴇᴀʟtʜ 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 ᴅᴏᴄtᴏʀs. The difference in size between the two brothers was due to a condition called sᴇʟᴇᴄtɪᴠᴇ ɪɴtʀᴀᴜtᴇʀɪɴᴇ ɢʀᴏᴡtʜ ʀᴇstʀɪᴄtɪᴏɴ, which resulted in Chester not receiving the required nutrients from the ᴘʟᴀᴄᴇɴtᴀ, ʜᴀʟtɪɴɢ ʜɪs ɢʀᴏᴡtʜ.
Kelly said: “They informed us that there was ᴀʙsᴇɴt ꜰʟᴏᴡ ᴏꜰ ɴᴜtʀɪᴇɴts to Chester, [which] was the reason why he ᴡᴀsɴ’t ʀᴇᴀʟʟʏ ɢʀᴏᴡɪɴɢ.” At 19 weeks of ɢᴇstᴀtɪᴏɴ, Kelly was admitted to the Kings College ʜᴏsᴘɪtᴀʟ in London for ʟᴀsᴇʀ sᴜʀɢɪᴄᴀʟ tʀᴇᴀtᴍᴇɴt. She said: “I had to have ᴇɴᴅᴏsᴄᴏᴘɪᴄ ʟᴀsᴇʀ sᴜʀɢᴇʀʏ whereby tʜᴇʏ ᴇɴtᴇʀ tʜᴇ ᴡᴏᴍʙ tʜʀᴏᴜɢʜ tʜᴇ sɪᴅᴇ ᴏꜰ ʏᴏᴜʀ ʙᴏᴅʏ ɪɴ ᴏʀᴅᴇʀ tᴏ ʀᴇᴀᴄʜ tʜᴇ ᴘʟᴀᴄᴇɴtᴀ, ᴋɪʟʟ ᴏꜰꜰ tʜᴇ ʙʟᴏᴏᴅ ᴠᴇssᴇʟs ᴄᴏɴɴᴇᴄtɪɴɢ tʜᴇ tᴡᴏ ʙᴀʙɪᴇs. The sᴜʀɢᴇʀʏ was performed to sᴇᴘᴀʀᴀtᴇ tʜᴇ ʙᴀʙɪᴇs ɪɴ tʜᴇ ᴡᴏᴍʙ so that if Chester hadn’t sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴇᴅ, it would have protected Otis from ᴅʏɪɴɢ ᴏʀ ʙᴇɪɴɢ ʟᴇꜰt ᴡɪtʜ ʟᴀstɪɴɢ ʙʀᴀɪɴ ᴅᴀᴍᴀɢᴇ.”
Chester’s condition stabilized but at 28 weeks, as Kelly’s ᴡᴀtᴇʀs ʙʀᴏᴋᴇ, she was blue lighted to go to Addenbrooke’s ʜᴏsᴘɪtᴀʟ 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-sᴇᴄtɪᴏɴ was performed, and Otis was immediately ᴠᴇɴtɪʟᴀtᴇᴅ, but Chester had to first be stabilized as he had become very ᴡᴇᴀᴋ ᴅᴜʀɪɴɢ tʜᴇ ʙɪʀtʜ. 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 ʜᴏsᴘɪtᴀʟ and their local ʜᴏsᴘɪtᴀʟ of Southend, but Chester has had to stᴀʏ ᴘᴜt ᴏɴ ʜɪɢʜ-ꜰʟᴏᴡ ᴏxʏɢᴇɴ ᴀɴᴅ ɪɴᴄᴜʙᴀtɪᴏɴ. 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 ʜᴏsᴘɪtᴀʟs, 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 ꜰɪɢʜtɪɴɢ 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.”