Having a child is a miracle. But it can definitely come with its difficulties.
After living through an unthinkable tragedy, one new mom is changing the way premature babies are talked about and helping everyone become more sensitive to the issues that some new families face.
When parents-to-be Millie Smith and Lewis Cann learned they were having twins, they were thrilled.
via: BBCBut shortly thereafter, they were heartbroken and devastated to learn that one of the twins suffered from a very serious ailment.
Millie said, "During the scan, the doctor didn't say anything. I was very excited and loved seeing the little babies, but she was silent. Both Lewis and I immediately knew there must be a problem."They learned that stricken child suffered from anencephaly and would likely survive only seconds or minutes after birth.
On April 30, 2016, 10 weeks early, Millie gave birth to two beautiful girls, Callie and Skye.
via: Life BuzzShe delivered both of her children and had a bereavement midwife in the room for the inevitable tragedy that would follow.
Defying the odds, the sick child, Skye, lived for three hours following birth.
via: Life BuzzThe time they spent with the child was a gift, but the moments after the baby's passing were beyond description.
The living twin, Callie, remained in the hospital for a month due to the premature birth.
via: Life BuzzDuring that time, the parents spent almost every minute at the hospital, waiting to see how their daughter would respond to treatment.
via: Life BuzzOther parents weren't aware of the ordeal that Millie and Lewis had to endure, making for some painful, awkward conversations...
Below, Millie mentions an offhand comment that was completely innocent, but nonetheless devastating.
via: Life Buzz
To let other parents and staff know of the unique circumstances surrounding the bittersweet birth of their child, Millie designed a purple butterfly to be displayed on the incubator.
via: Life BuzzIt was a design meant to honor Skye, the twin that passed. Her intent was to let all involved know that Callie, the other child, was one of a multiple birth, at least one of which didn't survive.
"I chose butterflies, as I felt it was fitting to remember the babies that flew away, the color purple because it is suitable for both boys or girls," Smith said.
via: Life BuzzThe simple gesture protects the parents from emotional harm that might come about from innocent comments made by unwitting people.
While Skye may have passed away, Callie fought hard to survive, and eventually, her health stabilized enough to not need the incubator.
via: TodayShe was even able to go home with her parents after what must have seemed like forever in the hospital, but her story didn't end there.
Here is Callie at eight weeks old, a happy and healthy child.Her survival alone is a miracle, and she's already done more work than most adults have by helping spread awareness for the "purple butterfly project."
The hospital she was born at set up this sign and made the purple butterfly logo a standard practice in the maternity wing.
via: Life BuzzHer parents also established the Skye High Foundation to provide bereavement counselors to parents who lost a child during pregnancy or shortly after birth.
Even with seven months to prepare for the reality of her situation, Smith said it was an unbelievable hardship.
via: Life Buzz"After going through this myself I feel there is a lot more that could be done to help parents cope with the loss. Support groups, counselling, even things like the planning of the funeral, additional daisy room (special room allowing you time with your baby away from the labour ward) and much much more. All these things cost money that no family should have to pay for," she explained.