5 November 2021

Born prematurely in July 2021, twins Chester and Otis met outside the womb for the first time ever in September and enjoyed their first cuddle together.

Chester weighed just 1lb1 at birth, whilst brother Otis was three times the size at 3lb7.

Chester and Otis

Their prematurity and low births weights were because of the condition Selective Intrauterine Growth Restriction which was picked up at the 16-week scan.

Mum Kelly and husband Billy from Essex are now home with Otis whilst Chester remains in hospital.

“It was a lovely moment when we were able to put them together in a cot. Chester couldn’t take his eyes off Otis, it was an emotional moment,” said Kelly.

The twins have now met three times and Kelly is desperate for them to be back together. “I can’t wait to watch their bond grow, I can already tell they will be the best of friends.”

Otis was discharged from hospital after six weeks and now weighs 8lb but tiny Chester, who has fought for his life since his birth, remains on high-flow oxygen in the neonatal unit at Southend hospital. His weight has increased to 5lb 7.

Kelly said: “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.”

Chester's health problems 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.

The difference in size between the two brothers was due sIGR, which resulted in Chester not receiving the required nutrients from the placenta, halting his growth.

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

She said: “I had to have endoscopic laser surgery whereby they enter the womb through the side of your body in order 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 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 growing roughly 100g a week.

She added: “I was being told at every scan that he may not survive which was heart-breaking.”

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.

She explained: “We were told Chester’s heart rate kept dipping and that the chances of survival from the caesarean would be low.

We just had to hope that he would keep fighting.

A C-section was performed, and Otis was immediately ventilated, but Chester had to first be stabilised as he had become very weak during the birth.

Kelly said: “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.

“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.

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

Kelly and Billy were able to bring Otis home after 46 days spent between Addenbrooke Hospital and their local hospital in Southend, but Chester has had to stay put on high-flow oxygen and incubation.

She explained: “At first, every day we were driving from Cambridge to Southend to visit both babies, and then back to home to visit my other kids which took around three and a half hours.

People kept asking how we did it, but we had no choice, we went into survival mode and just kept going.

“The worst thing was that this was all happening over the school holidays, so we were barely able to spend any time with the kids who had to stay with other family members.”

The couple are also parents to Phoebe, 10, Florence, 8 and Albert, five.

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 due to Covid-19.”

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

Otis has also recently been back in hospital for 10 days with a zinc deficiency that was making him poorly.

Kelly said: “It’s tough at the moment but we’ll get through it, you have to keep going.”

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