Despite his precarious situation, parents Kelly, 32, and Billy, 35, believe that Chester's extraordinary fight for survival comes down to the bond he shares with Otis.
Siblings always have a special bond, just take brothers Otis and Chester Graves for instance. The identical twins were born prematurely with Otis weighing just 3lb 7oz. But it was Chester's life that hung in the balance as he was merely 1lb 1oz when he entered the world. After remaining in the hospital for six weeks, Otis gained a considerable amount of weight i.e. 6lb 3oz, and was thus discharged as for his brother, who's had to fight for his life since he was born, he only weighs 3lb 6oz now. Despite his precarious situation, parents Kelly, 32, and Billy, 35, believe that Chester's extraordinary fight for survival comes down to the bond he shares with Otis.
The family has been through a roller coaster of emotions weeks before the twins were born. During a 16-week scan, Kelly was informed about Chester's health problems. She was told that her twins were of different sizes by 25 percent and it was something that really concerned the doctors, according to Mirror. The massive difference in size between twins happens due to a condition called Selective Intrauterine Growth Restriction. Per Hopkins Medicine, the Selective intrauterine growth restriction (sIUGR) is a condition that occurs in some identical twin pregnancies which are known as monochorionic, meaning "the twins share a placenta (afterbirth) and a network of blood vessels."
The condition happens "when the placenta is not evenly apportioned between the twins. The placenta provides nourishment necessary for growth and development in the womb. Therefore, if an imbalance is present, one twin may become malnourished." sIUGR reportedly complicates "10 percent to 15 percent of monochorionic twin pregnancies." Now that Chester was not receiving the required nutrients from the placenta for his growth, something had to be done. Thus, at 19 weeks the 32-year-old mother was admitted to the Kings College Hospital in London for laser surgical treatment.
Parents reveal how baby born weighing just 1lb has 'kept fighting' thanks to cuddles from twin brother https://t.co/JfbqAasWq4— Daily Mail U.K. (@DailyMailUK) October 6, 2021
"They informed us that there was absent flow of nutrients to Chester was the reason why he wasn't really growing," recalled Kelly. "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." Following the surgery, Chester was only growing 25g a week, whereas Otis, was growing around 100g every week. "I was being told at every scan that he may not survive which was heart-breaking," explained the mom, who was not ready to give up on one of her babies. "I went away and was eating around 200g of protein per day to help him grow and was drinking around five liters of water to try and get Chester's water levels up as they were also low," she revealed.
"This was not in any way proven to help but I tried everything I could to replenish his levels and keep him fighting," she said of her efforts. Just as Chester's condition stabilized at 28 weeks, Kelly's water broke and she had to be rushed to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge for delivery. "Since the day my waters broke at 28 weeks we've lived in a whirlwind," explained the resident of Benfleet, Essex. "At this point, Chester was 485 grams which was close to being deemed viable, but we were told his heart rate kept dipping and that the chances of survival from the cesarean would be low," she explained. "We just had to hope that he would keep fighting."
Baby weighing just 1lb ‘kept fighting thanks to cuddles from twin brother’ https://t.co/9H8AIBqz5z— Sharon K. Gilbert (@sharonkgilbert) October 6, 2021
Following a C-section, Otis was immediately ventilated, meanwhile, Chester had to be stabilized as he had become extremely weak during birth. "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 he has been fighting multiple issues such as Necrotising Enterocolitis, or NEC, which is a serious condition where tissue in the bowel becomes inflamed which Chester caught after nine days," she said. "He also had a hole in his heart which was discovered afterward which has now thankfully closed and also eye surgery ."
Kelly, who is a mother to three other kids, Phoebe, 10, Florence, 8, and Albert, 8, continued, "We are so lucky that Chester is a fighter and 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." Revealing Chester's current condition, she added, "He is still being incubated and kept on high flow oxygen since being transferred back to our local hospital in Southend." Apparently, the twins also got a chance to meet each other. "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," said the mother. The family is hoping to welcome Chester into their home next month. "We cannot wait to finally get Chester home. We are hoping to bring him back in November."
Representative cover image source: Getty | Photo by Viorika