Premature Baby Continues To Fight In The Footsteps Of His Identical Twin
Identical twins Chester Graves and his brother Otis share an inseparable bond that has played a crucial role in Chester’s miraculous survival. Kelly Graves, 32, and her husband Billy, 35, from Benfleet, Essex, firmly believe that the hugs from Otis have contributed to Chester’s growth and resilience. Kelly expressed her certainty that cuddling with his twin has helped Chester keep fighting, and the twins’ long-awaited reunion on September 22 was an incredibly touching moment for the family.
Chester’s health issues were first noticed during Kelly’s 16-week scan when it was observed that the twins differed in size by 25 percent, a cause of concern for the doctors. The discrepancy in size between the brothers was due to a condition called Selective Intrauterine Growth Restriction, which resulted in Chester not receiving the necessary nutrients from the placenta, hindering his growth. At 19 weeks, Kelly was admitted to Kings College Hospital in London for laser surgical treatment. It was discovered that Chester had an absent flow of nutrients, which impeded his growth. He had to undergo endoscopic laser surgery to restore the blood flow by entering the umbilical cord through the side of his body and reaching the placenta. The surgery aimed to connect the blood vessels of the two babies.
Following the surgery, Kelly and Billy noticed that Chester still depended on the support of medical equipment to thrive. Kelly shared that they were informed at every scan that Chester would not survive, which was heartbreaking. However, he defied the odds and was consuming around 200g of protein per day and receiving about five liters of water to replenish his low levels. Although this approach was not scientifically proven, Kelly did everything she could to nourish him and support his fight.
Chester Graves was born prematurely at 28 weeks on July 15, 2021, weighing only 1 pound 1 ounce, while his brother Otis weighed 3 pounds 7 ounces. Chester’s birth revealed a knot in his umbilical cord, further halting his growth. Fortunately, the medical team swiftly provided incubation and ventilation for Chester. Since then, Chester has faced multiple challenges, including necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a serious condition that causes inflammation in the intestinal tissue, which he developed after nine days. Additionally, he had a hole in his heart that was later discovered and closed through surgery. He also underwent eye surgery.
After six weeks in the hospital, Otis was discharged, weighing 6 pounds 3 ounces. However, Chester continued to fight for his life and currently weighs 3 pounds 6 ounces. Despite the hardships, the Graves family is determined to bring Chester home to reunite him with his parents, Otis, and the rest of the family. Chester has tripled his birth weight, but he still needs to gain an additional 255 grams. It is likely that he will require low-flow oxygen when he finally goes home, but Kelly and Billy hope that within one or two months, he will be able to join the rest of the family and continue his journey towards recovery.