A mother who lost one of her twin girls after they were both born prematurely has spearheaded an initiative to alert visitors about the loss of a sibling. Millie Smith gave birth to her girls, Skye and Callie, at Kingston Hospital on 30 April, and was told Skye had “no chance of survival”. She lived for a few hours before she died.
“You’re so lucky you don’t have twins,” said a mom of two crying babies to another NICU mother who was watching her sleeping daughter. That mother was Millie Smith. And that comment nearly broke her. “I ran out of the room in tears and they had no idea why,” she told Babble.
You see, Millie actually was a mama of twins, Callie and Skye. Unfortunately, Skye didn’t make it. She died just a few short hours after she was born. However, Millie was too distraught to set the woman’s comment straight, so she just cried her heart out instead.
She had been dealing with the struggle of potentially losing Skye since she was just 12 weeks pregnant. Doctors told Millie that Skye had anencephaly, which severely affects the development of the brain. With no known treatment or cure, they warned her that infants with her condition rarely lived long after birth.
“I didn’t have the heart to tell them what had happened,” she said. “A simple sticker would have avoided that entire situation.” From that point forward, she was determined to make sure that other mothers would not have to experience that same heart-wrenching feeling.
It’s hard enough losing a child, and having the added grief of a stranger mistakenly assume that child never even existed only deepens the wound.
So Millie came up with an idea that is now helping other grieving moms in her situation. She created a crowdfunding page called “Skye’s Wish” in order to raise money for purple butterfly stickers to be placed next to NICU newborns who lost a brother or sister.
The stickers are now being used at Kingston Hospital in the UK where Millie delivered, and they are accompanied by a sign that reads, “When visiting this Neonatal unit as either a partner, relative or friend please be aware of the butterfly logo on each cot. This represents a baby that was part of a multiple pregnancy but sadly all of the babies did not survive.”
Millie hopes to use the additional money raised through Skye’s Wish to provide bereavement midwives and special delivery rooms for mothers going through infant loss.
“Ultimately I will never be able to stop this from happening but the more support groups we can set up and put things in place like the stickers the better it will be,” she said. “It’s the hardest thing anyone has to deal with.”
Praise God for moms like Millie who are turning their tragedy into hope for other struggling mothers. Please share her story to raise awareness about the bittersweet symbol of the purple butterfly. May her sweet Skye rest in peace.
Images source: scooplify.com