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Identical twins have an ɪɴsᴇᴘᴀʀᴀʙʟᴇ relationship. That ᴡᴀs confirmed by twins Chester Graves and brother Otis. That cuddles from his brother are helping ᴘʀᴇᴍᴀᴛᴜʀᴇ son who ᴡᴀs 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 ғɪɢʜᴛ for sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴀʟ is down to the bond he shares with his identical twin, Otis. Mom Kelly said :”I have no doubt that cuddles with his twin has helped him keep fighting. The twins finally met for the first time since being born on September 22, which ᴡᴀs incredibly emotional. It ᴡᴀs everything I ᴡᴀs waiting for, and although Otis ᴡᴀs asleep, Chester ᴡᴀs ᴏʙsᴇssᴇᴅ with him and ᴄᴏᴜʟᴅɴ’ᴛ take his eyes a way from his brother.” Tᴏᴜᴄʜɪɴɢ photos show the ᴘᴀɪʀ ʟʏɪɴɢ side by side during family visits to Chester in the ɴᴇᴏɴᴀᴛᴀʟ unit at southend Hᴏsᴘɪᴛᴀʟ, where he will likely remain for another two months.
Chester’s health problems first became apparent at Kelly’s 16-week sᴄᴀɴ, where she ᴡᴀs informed the babies ᴅɪғғᴇʀᴇᴅ in size by 25 per cent – something that ᴄᴏɴᴄᴇʀɴᴇᴅ the ᴅᴏᴄᴛᴏʀs . The ᴅɪғғᴇʀᴇɴᴄᴇ in size between the two brothers ᴡᴀs 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 kings 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 ᴡᴀs sᴛɪʟʟ ᴏɴʟʏ ɢʀᴏᴡɪɴɢ ᴀʀᴏᴜɴᴅ 25ɢ a week, whereas Otis ᴡᴀs ɢʀᴏᴡɪɴɢ ʀᴏᴜɢʜʟʏ 100ɢ a week. Kelly added:” I ᴡᴀs being told at every sᴄᴀɴ that he may ɴᴏᴛ sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴇ which ᴡᴀs ʜᴇᴀʀᴛ-ʙʀᴇᴀᴋɪɴɢ. I ᴡᴇɴᴛ ᴀᴡᴀʏ and ᴡᴀs eating around 200g of ᴘʀᴏᴛᴇɪɴ per day to help him ɢʀᴏᴡ and ᴡᴀs drinking around five litres of water to try and get Chester’s water levels up because they were also ʟᴏᴡ. This ᴡᴀs ɴᴏᴛ in any way proven to help, but I tried everything I could to ʀᴇᴘʟᴇɴɪsʜ ʜɪs ʟᴇᴠᴇʟs and keep him ғɪɢʜᴛɪɴɢ.” Chester’s ᴄᴏɴᴅɪᴛɪᴏɴ stabilised but at 28 weeks, Kelly’s Waters ʙʀᴏᴋᴇ, and she was ʀᴜsʜ to go to Addenbrooke’s Hᴏsᴘɪᴛᴀʟ 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 ғɪɢʜᴛɪɴɢ ᴍᴜʟᴛɪᴘʟᴇ ɪssᴜᴇs such as ɴᴇᴄʀᴏᴛɪsɪɴɢ ᴇɴᴛᴇʀᴏᴄᴏʟɪᴛɪs, or ⓃⒺⒸ, which is a sᴇʀɪᴏᴜs ᴄᴏɴᴅɪᴛɪᴏɴ where ᴛɪssᴜᴇ in the ʙᴏᴡᴇʟ ʙᴇᴄᴏᴍᴇs 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 ʜᴏsᴘɪᴛᴀʟ, Otis ᴡᴀsᴅɪsᴄʜᴀʀɢᴇᴅ and now weighs 6 pounds 3 ounces , but ᴛɪɴʏ Chester ғᴏᴜɢʜᴛ for his ʟɪғᴇ since his birth and ᴏɴʟʏ ᴡᴇɪɢʜs 3 pounds 6 ounces . Despite everything he has been through, he is sᴛɪʟʟ ғɪɢʜᴛɪɴɢ 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 ᴀʟsᴏ ʜᴏʀʀɪʙʟᴇ 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.”