Millie Smith and Lewis Cann were filled with joy at the prospect of becoming parents. With a family history of twins, Millie’s intuition led her to believe she was carrying two babies, a feeling that proved correct during the ultrasound. However, early on in the pregnancy, doctors delivered the devastating news that one of the twins had a life-limiting condition called anencephaly, with only minutes to hours of expected life.
With a heavy heart, Millie and Lewis decided to name their daughter Skye, recognizing the limited time they would have with her. Skye, symbolizing a place they could always remember by looking up at the sky, brought moments of both heartbreak and pride for her parents.
Despite Skye’s brief three-hour life, Millie and Lewis cherished every moment, admiring her beauty and presence in their lives. Following her passing, the couple received support from a bereavement midwife and access to a “Daisy Room,” offering a space to cope with their grief.
However, as time passed, Millie felt a painful void as Skye’s memory faded away in the eyes of others. Struggling with the lack of acknowledgment, Millie, while her other baby, Callie, was still at the NICU, encountered a comment from another mother that stung deeply. Unaware of Millie’s loss, the mother humorously remarked on the perceived luck of not having twins, leading Millie to tears and a realization about the need for awareness.
Motivated by this experience, Millie conceived the idea of placing stickers on incubators to indicate the loss of one or more babies in a set of multiples. Choosing butterflies in purple, representing babies that “flew away,” Millie’s initiative grew into The Skye High Foundation, advocating for the purple butterfly initiative. The foundation has successfully expanded the use of these stickers to hospitals worldwide.
The foundation offers purple butterfly merchandise, including various gifts and accessories. Millie acknowledges that while she cannot eliminate such heartbreaking situations, support groups and awareness initiatives like the stickers can provide comfort and understanding.
Today, Millie’s other daughter, Callie, is seven years old. Millie’s journey, from personal loss to a foundation promoting awareness, exemplifies the resilience of the human spirit in the face of heartache. Let us share this story to foster understanding and support for those dealing with similar challenges.