Understanding the Meaning of a Purple Butterfly Sticker Near a Newborn

Millie Smith and Lewis Cann were extremely happy when they found out they were going to be parents. Millie had a feeling she was expecting twins, like many in her family, and that feeling turned out to be right.

The doctor’s tests confirmed that she was indeed going to have twins, but they also discovered that one of the babies might not survive.

When Millie gave birth at 30 weeks pregnant, they learned that one of their daughters had a condition called anencephaly, which meant that the baby’s brain and spinal cord did not develop properly. They were also told that this baby would only live for a very short time.

Knowing this, Millie and Lewis wanted to give their baby a name before they had to say goodbye forever. They chose the name Skye. They believed that this name would always remind them of their baby, like looking up at the sky.

“We knew that Skye needed to have a name before she was born,” Millie said. “Knowing she would only survive for seconds or minutes, I wanted her to be named during that time.”

Skye lived for only three hours, but her parents cherished every moment they had with her.


After Skye passed away, the couple received support from a special midwife and a private room where they could spend time with their baby. However, once Skye was gone, people stopped talking about her, and that made Millie very upset.

“Most of the nurses knew what happened, but over time, people stopped mentioning Skye. After about four weeks, everyone acted as if nothing had happened, and the other families around me didn’t know about our situation,” Millie remembered.

While her other baby, Callie, was still in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), another mother who had twins made a comment about how lucky Millie was for not having twins herself, unaware of Millie’s loss.

“No one knew about Skye, and the comment was innocent, meant as a joke…They didn’t know I had two babies at one point. But that comment really hurt me. I ran out of the room in tears, and they didn’t understand why. I couldn’t bring myself to tell them what happened. A simple sticker could have avoided that situation.”


This is when Millie had the idea to create stickers to put on incubators to indicate the loss of one or more babies in a set of multiples. She chose a purple butterfly design because it represented babies who had passed away and the color purple is suitable for both boys and girls.

Today, her initiative has grown into a foundation called The Skye High Foundation, which supports the purple butterfly initiative. They have helped spread this idea to hospitals in many different countries.

The purple butterfly merchandise includes various gifts and accessories.

“I can’t stop this from happening, but the more support groups we can create and things like the stickers we can put in place, the better it will be. It’s the most difficult thing anyone has to deal with,” Millie said.