If you see a purple butterfly sticker near a newborn, you need to know what it means

Only weeks after Millie Smith and Lewis Cann learned they were having twin baby girls, they learned that only one would survive.

On April 30, after 30 weeks of a high-risk pregnancy, Smith delivered identical twins, Callie and Skye, the latter who lived only three hours.

Later in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), Callie slept without her sister in the incubator, with her loving and grieving parents watching over her. In the unit with other babies, an overwhelmed mom of healthy newborn twins innocently told Smith that she was “so lucky” to not have two babies.

Crushed by the words, the new mom couldn’t find the words to explain her loss. Then, she realized that Skye’s legacy was to help other families who had lost a child, and it came in the form of a purple butterfly.

In November 2015 Millie Smith and partner Lewis Cann found out they were having their first Child. Smith, who has twins in the family, said she had a “gut feeling” about having a duo, and 10 weeks later, doctors confirmed she was expecting identical twin girls.

Less than two weeks after the excitement of knowing they would double the children in their home, the British couple were devastated to learn that one of their babies had a fatal condition and wouldn’t survive after birth.

“During the scan, the doctor didn’t say anything. I was very excited and loved seeing the babies, but she was silent. Both Lewis and I immediately knew there must be a problem,” Smith said.

Doctors shared the news that one of the babies had anencephaly, which according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) affects about one in 4,600 babies across the U.S. It’s a serious birth defect where a baby is born without parts of the brain and skull, and “almost all babies born with anencephaly will die shortly after birth.”

Knowing that one baby would die soon after birth and that there were risks involved for their other baby, the couple decided to move forward with the extremely high-risk pregnancy.

Over the next several months, Smith and Cann named their twins Skye and Callie. “We knew that Skye needed to have a name before she was born,” Smith said. “Knowing she would only survive for seconds or minutes, I wanted her to be named during that time.”

The meaning behind “Skye,” she explained “was somewhere we knew she would always be, that we could look up at the sky and remember our baby.”

When Smith went into labor after only 30 weeks on April 30, she needed an emergency C-section. To help navigate the loss, the couple had a “bereavement midwife” during the birth, and they were put in a special room called the “Daisy Room,” where families can spend time with a baby before and after she/he passes.

“When the girls were born, they both cried. This was a huge moment, as we were told that Skye would not make a noise or move,” said Smith, who was thankful to have three hours with Skye before she died. “We were cuddling Skye when she passed away. This was the worst moment in our lives. I have never felt heartbreak like that before. But I am proud that she fought for so long to spend time with us.”

Born premature, Callie had to stay in NICU while she gained some strength and also in the unit were three other sets of twins.

“Most of the nurses were aware of what had happened, but as time passed, people stopped talking about Skye. After about four weeks, everyone acted as though nothing had happened, meaning the families around me had no idea about our situation,” Smith recalled.

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