Baby Weighing Just 1lb ‘Kept Fighting Thanks To Cuddles From Twin Brother’

Parents have hailed the unbreakable bond between their identical baby twins, saying that cuddles from his brother are helping their premature son who was born weighing 1lb to thrive.

Chester Graves was born prematurely at 28 weeks on 15 July, 2021 weighing just 1lb 1oz, alongisde his brother Otis who was three times the size at 3lb 7oz.

Otis was released from the hospital after six weeks and now weighs 6 lbs 3 ounces, but tiny Chester has battled for his life from birth and only now weighs 3 lbs 6 ounces.

The devoted parents of Chester, Kelly Graves, 32, and Billy Graves, 35, of Benfleet, Essex, claim they have no doubt that Chester’s remarkable struggle to survive is due to the connection he has with his identical twin, Otis.

“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 obsessed with him and couldn’t take his eyes away from his brother.”

Touching photos show the pair lying side by side during family visits to Chester in the neonatal unit at Southend Hospital.

Chester’s health problems first became apparent at Kelly’s 16-week scan, where she was informed the babies differed in size by 25 per cent – something that concerned the doctors.

Due to a disease known as selective intrauterine growth restriction, which prevents Chester from absorbing the necessary nutrients from the placenta and stunts his growth, the two brothers were different sizes.

At 19 weeks, she was admitted to the Kings College Hospital in London for laser surgical treatment.

The surgery was performed to separate the babies in the womb so that if Chester hadn’t survived it would have protected Otis from dying or being left with lasting brain damage.

After the surgery, Kelly and Billy were told Chester was still only growing around 25g a week, whereas Otis was gaining roughly 100g a week.

Chester’s condition stabilised but at 28 weeks, Kelly’s Waters broke, and she was blue lighted to go to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, with Chester weighing 485g.

His mum said: “(The weight) was close to being deemed viable, but we were told his heart rate kept dipping and that the chances of survival from the caesarean would be low.”

After a successful C-section, Otis was delivered first and started breathing on his own. Chester, however, needed stabilization because he had grown quite weak.

Kelly added: “Otis came out first and he was put into the incubator.

“When Chester came out, they found a knot in his cord which also halted his growth, and the consultant was desperate to get him incubated as soon as possible to help him survive.

“Thankfully, they were able to ventilate him, and ever since then he has been dealing with a variety of problems, including necrotizing enterocolitis, or NEC, which Chester contracted after nine days and is a serious disorder where the gut tissue gets inflamed.

“He also had a hole in his heart which was discovered afterwards which has now thankfully closed and also eye surgery.”

After 46 days of traveling between Addenbrooke Hospital and their local hospital in Southend, Kelly and Billy were able to bring Otis home, but Chester had to stay in the hospital on high flow oxygen and incubation.

The couple are also parents to Phoebe, 10, Florence, 8 and Albert, five, who the couple have said all been incredibly supportive.

Kelly added: “The kids have been incredible, they are so young but are just as desperate to get Chester home as they haven’t been able to even really meet him yet.”

Chester was able to be transferred to Southend Hospital, where Kelly visits him every day.

She said: “It is very bittersweet because we have Otis at home now and everyone says how nice it must be, but it’s also horrible because we can’t feel complete until both babies are back together.”

With Chester now reaching 3 lbs 6 oz, he has tripled from his birth weight, and Kelly and Billy are anxious to bring him home.

She added: “He has to gain a further 255 grams still and will most likely be on low flow oxygen when he’s home, but we are hoping in around a month or two he can finally meet the rest of the family.”

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