It is always a joyous occasion when you get to visit a new-born baby of someone dear to you – be it a family member, or a friend. However, if you have noticed lately a purple butterfly on some of the cribs – there is a meaning behind it and it is a sad one.
Millie Smith broke down because of one seemingly innocent sentence uttered by a tired mother who gave birth to twins and it was in the same room with Millie. She said to her looking at Millie’s peacefully sleeping daughter while trying to calm down her twins that she is lucky she hasn’t got twins.
This sentence broke Millie’s heart because she herself gave birth to twins, but only one of them survived. It was no surprise for Millie and her partner Lewis Cann when they found out that she is pregnant with twins because twins had run in her family.
However, that excitement was followed by fear and extreme caution because there wasn’t a set of twins in her family in which both babies had survived. So, in a way she was prepared for the worst from the beginning.
Unfortunately, her fear became her reality. When she was 12 weeks pregnant, she found that one of her identical baby girls, that she was to name Skye, was diagnosed with anencephaly (an absence of a major part of the brain due to which the brain never develops) and she won’t live longer than a few hours after the birth.
Millie and Lewis made a decision to continue the pregnancy for the sake of her other twin daughter that they decided to name Callie. However, her whole pregnancy was filled with deep emotions.
“We were both devastated”, she explains. “Knowing I had to carry both babies full term then say goodbye shortly after was very tough. Dealing with it and preparing for it was hard. But the more we talked about it the more ready we were. I spoke about Callie and Skye on a daily basis at work and ensured that no one felt awkward talking about my pregnancy. I got to enjoy my pregnancy and got to look forward to meeting them.”
The couple also decided to donate Skye’s organs after her death, but unfortunately, Millie was 30 weeks pregnant when she went into labor, and the requirement for organ donation is 36 weeks.
When Millie went into labor with an emergency C-section, she was prepared for what was about to happen. Namely, she was told that Skye would live only for few minutes and won’t make a noise. But, little Skye started crying the moment she was born and started moving her arms like a normal baby. That was one of the most surreal moments of her mother’s life.
“Lewis and I laid and cuddled Skye for the three hours and at that time everything was perfect. Lewis took Skye to see Callie (who was in the intensive care unit) and put them together in the incubator just before she passed away. I wasn’t able to go as I’d had an emergency C-section and was bed-bound. This is the one moment I wish I had seen”, says Millie.
When Millie heard the comment from the stranger, she decided to do something in order to help hers and other families that went through the same. She chose a simple sticker of a purple butterfly to honor her dead child and to let the butterfly tell the sad story to everyone who sees it without having to tell it herself and being reminded of the immense pain time and time again.
Therefore, together with her partner, she started raising funds and awareness of what she hopes would become a charity in her daughter’s honor.
Even though some would think of the stickers as a simple choice, Millie believes that they are of huge help to other families as well because not only visitors become aware of the loss, but also the stickers alert the staff in the hospital too – which comes in handy because many doctors and nurses come and go very often making it that much harder to explain every time that the baby has lost its sibling.
Millie also believes that these purple butterfly stickers can help in raising donations for additional forming of support groups and counseling because this is one of the hardest things that can happen to a family.
If you want to donate to Skye’s charity for bereaved families, you can do it here.