Michelle Butcher gave birth to a beautiful, premature baby girl on April 29, 2016. Her daughter, Kilynn Marie, was born at just 30 weeks and 6 days weighing in at a tiny 3 pounds, 8 ounces, 16.5 inches long. And while Kilynn tragically passed away after seven short days, Michelle continues to look for ways to keep her daughter’s memory alive.
“It is important for me to honor her because I want to keep her name alive,” Michelle shares. “She was here. She was alive. She is my daughter.”
In honor of what would be Kilynn’s sixth birthday, last week Michelle went to donate soother and sleep companions to our Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital NICU, the NICU where Kilynn passed away.
These companions, called Lulla Owls, were designed to be safely secured to a bassinet and imitate being close to a caregiver with the soothing sounds of breathing and a rhythmic heartbeat. Both of these offer continuous comfort and support to new babies.
“I decided on donating the Lulla Owl because when my daughter was in the NICU, she wasn’t able to be held,” Michelle adds. “I think the owl will help babies feel like they are still near their mothers … I’m hoping it will help the babies not feel alone. I felt like my daughter may have felt alone and I hate that.”
Michelle initially held a fundraiser in the hopes of having enough funds to donated 10 owls. However, she was completely blown away when she surpassed her goal and was able to donate 28 owls.
Michelle wanted to share the following message for parents who are grieving.
“Take your time! Grief has no limit. It has been six years since I had to say goodbye to Kilynn and I still have my moments. Ask for help if you need it: house cleaning, laundry, dinner. Grief is tiring. Some things that helped me were SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society), MEND (Mommies Enduring Neonatal Death), infant loss Facebook groups and Molly Bears.”
Michelle also wants to share a message about compassion for your spouse, because fathers don’t often grieve in the same way that mothers do.
“Some men hide their feelings and don’t look like they are grieving but they are. Don’t give up on each other in this time of need – support each other.”
And regarding her time at the hospital while Kilynn was in the NICU, Michelle says that she felt so much support. In fact, it meant so much to her that she wants other families who are going through this to know they are not alone and that they are family.
Learn more about the neonatology services we offer at Bon Secours.