Chester Graves, a ᴘʀᴇᴍᴀᴛᴜʀᴇ baby who weighed just 1lb at birth, is thriving with the help of his identical twin brother Otis. The twins share an inseparable bond that has been crucial in Chester’s miraculous fight for sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴀʟ. Parents Kelly and Billy Graves believe that cuddling with his twin has helped Chester keep fighting. The emotional moment when the twins met for the first time since their birth was captured in touching photos. Despite Otis being asleep during the meeting, Chester was ᴏʙsᴇssᴇᴅ with him and couldn’t take his eyes away from his brother. The family visits Chester at the ɴᴇᴏɴᴀᴛᴀʟ unit in Southend Hospital, where he will likely remain for another two months.
During Kelly’s 16-week scan, doctors noticed that Chester was 25% smaller than his brother, indicating a condition called Selective Intrauterine Growth Restriction. This condition prevented Chester from receiving the necessary nutrients from the placenta, which was hindering his growth.
At 19 weeks, Kelly was admitted to King’s College Hospital in London for laser surgical treatment. Doctors informed her that there was an absent flow of nutrients to Chester, and she underwent endoscopic laser surgery. The surgery involved entering the womb through the side of the body to reach the placenta and kill off the blood vessels connecting the two babies.
The surgery was performed to separate the babies in the womb so that if Chester had not survived, it would have protected Otis from dying or being left with lasting brain damage.
After the surgery, Kelly and Billy received the news that Chester was only growing at a rate of 25 grams per week, while Otis was growing at approximately 100 grams per week. Kelly shared that during her pregnancy, she was constantly told that Chester may not survive, which was heart-wrenching. In an effort to help him grow, she increased her protein intake to 200 grams per day and drank around five liters of water daily to replenish Chester’s low water levels. Although this was not proven to be effective, Kelly did everything she could to keep Chester fighting. Fortunately, Chester’s condition stabilized, but at 28 weeks, Kelly’s waters broke, and she had to be rushed to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.
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. During delivery, a knot was found in Chester’s umbilical cord, which halted his growth and required urgent incubation to improve his chances of survival. The medical team was able to ventilate him successfully, but he has since been facing multiple health challenges, including necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a serious condition in which the tissue in the bowel becomes inflamed, which he contracted after nine days. Additionally, Chester had a hole in his heart that was later discovered and has now thankfully been closed, and he has also undergone eye surgery.
Otis and Chester Graves were born prematurely on July 15, 2021. Otis, who weighed 3 pounds 7 ounces, was put into an incubator shortly after birth, while Chester, who weighed only 1 pound 1 ounce, was struggling to survive due to a knot in his cord that halted his growth. Despite being ventilated, Chester has faced multiple health challenges, including necrotizing enterocolitis and heart surgery.
After six weeks in the hospital, Otis was discharged and now weighs 6 pounds 3 ounces, while Chester has tripled his birth weight to 3 pounds 6 ounces. Although the family is thrilled to have Otis home, they are still waiting for Chester to come home and complete their family. Currently, Chester still needs to gain another 255 grams and will most likely require low flow oxygen once he’s home. The family is hoping he will be able to join them in a month or two.