The Heartbreaking Story Behind These Purple Butterfly Stickers


A couple having twins is usually a happy occasion — double the diapers and double the love. Unfortunately, sometimes one of the twins doesn’t make it. Such was the case with Milli Smith and her partner Lewis Cann, reports Babble.

Twins had run in Smith’s family, though there had never been a set where both had survived. Suffice it to say, Smith and Cann were prepared for the worst.

Three months in, they learned that one of their twin daughters, who they’d named Skye, had anencephaly—a condition when part of the brain is not developed normally, and the newborn would only live a few hours or days after being born. The other, Callie, would be born without complications.

Milli Smith

Smith still carried both girls full-term. “Knowing I had to carry both babies full term then say goodbye shortly after was very tough,” Smith told Babble.

“…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.”

At just 30 weeks, Smith went into labor and had to have an emergency C-section. (She had planned on later donating Skye’s organs, but 36 weeks is needed for organ donation.)

Smith and Cann had been told Skye would only survive for minutes, and she wouldn’t move or make any noise. “But the moment she was born, she cried,” Smith said.

“That was the most surreal moment of my life. She was crying and moving her arms and was just like a normal baby. It was thousands times better than I had expected.”

Milli Smith

The couple was given a special room, the Daisy Room, to stay with Skye. Cann also took Skye to see her sister in the NICU and the two were in the same incubator shortly before Skye passed away.

twin butterfly
Milli Smith

Since Callie was in the NICU, Smith and Cann didn’t have a private room. “A parent of twins turned to me, when their babies were crying, and said, “You are so lucky you just have one,’” Smith said. “…The comment nearly broke me. I ran out [of] the room in tears and they had no idea why. I didn’t have the heart to tell them what had happened. A simple sticker would have avoided that entire situation.”

Hence, purple butterfly stickers were born and Smith made it her mission to campaign and fundraise for them. Then, everyone—from hospital staff to visitors—would know what they represented.

In addition, Smith would like to raise money for more bereavement resources, as well, such as support groups and more Daisy Rooms.

“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,” Smith said. “It’s the hardest thing anyone has to deal with.”

To donate to Skye’s charity for bereaved families, simply click here.

Disease & Illness, Family & Parenting, Health

About the Author
Natalia Lusinski
In addition to Simplemost, Natalia is an ongoing writer for Bustle (sex, dating, relationships, and money), HelloGiggles (pop culture and news), The Delite (feel-good stories), and Don’t Waste Your Money (yep, money issues!). You can also find her writing in the L.A. Times, the Chicago Tribune's RedEye, xoJane, Elite Daily, Scary Mommy, Elephant Journal, and Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, among other publications. She has a Ph.D. in couch-surfing, having spent four years sleeping on over 200 L.A.-area love seats and sectionals, all in an effort to whittle down her student loan debt. She still loves couch-surfing in other cities, too (hint, hint).

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