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Owlet's mission is to empower parents to give care at home. Owlet Cares supports our overall mission through advocacy, charitable and research initiatives that support families and communities. We partner with nonprofits all over the world who share our mission. These groups participate in our 2:1 match program. When they purchase one Owlet product, we match it with two meaning three families are reached.
Each month, we shine a spotlight on one of our foundation partners and the important work they are doing. This month, we’d like to introduce you to the Butterflies & Birdies Foundation of Texas. In one of the co-founder’s own words, here is their story.
By: Kelli Arce
Hi friends, my name is Kelli Arce. I am a mom to an angel baby named Ava and I have 5-year-old twins, named Cooper and Kamden. My passion for Owlet came shortly after myself and my family suffered back-to-back tragedies that shifted the trajectory of our lives.
While my husband and I were pregnant with our first child, my brother and sister-in-law were knee deep raising their adorable twins, Beckham and Jordan. The first unexpected tragedy occurred when Jordan and Beckham went down for a nap and Jordan woke up in the arms of Jesus. An autopsy later confirmed that Jordan passed away due to SIDS. Watching my brother and sister-in-law lay their precious and perfect baby girl to rest was something that truly rocked me to my core. I was pregnant at the Celebration of Life and remember thinking, “I just can’t imagine losing a child.”
Little did I know, just 4 short months later, my husband and I would be living this nightmare too. We lost Ava 3 days before we were scheduled to deliver a perfectly healthy 38-week-old baby. During her delivery, we discovered she passed in the womb due to a true knot in the umbilical cord. The pain of burying your own child is the most debilitating, helpless, hopeless, gut-wrenching feeling that most probably can’t imagine (thankfully).
My husband and I went on to get pregnant later that same year. We were overwhelmed with excitement to find out we were pregnant with twins! The excitement was shortly taken over by the anxiety and nervousness of the possibility of losing another child. I spent the entire pregnancy anxious and worried. But my worries didn’t just stop after a healthy delivery. I knew I would be a wreck once they were here too because of what happened to Jordan.
I immediately began researching baby monitors and stumbled on the Owlet. It didn’t take me long before I realized that one way or another, I was getting Owlets for our twins. When I was pregnant, I relied on an at home Doppler to check the twins’ heartbeats. This significantly decreased my anxiety during the pregnancy. I expected that the Owlet would give me the same type of peace of mind once the twins got here.
Cooper and Kamden were delivered at 33 weeks and stayed in the NICU for several weeks after delivery. When it was time for Cooper to come home, we were nervous, but we also felt prepared. We had our Owlets all hooked up and ready to go the second we got home. Sure enough, the second night of having Cooper home, we got a red alert! My husband and I flew out of bed and were able to wake Cooper from his deep sleep. Both Cooper and Kamden experienced “Brady spells” while in the NICU. Essentially it just means that the babies can sleep so hard they “forget” to take a breath. That was exactly what happened on the second night. I have never been so grateful for the Owlet until that moment.
Once Kamden came home about a week later, I was even more nervous. She not only experienced the Brady Spells, but she also had Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC), which is a very serious intestinal disease. While she was healthy when she came home, I could not help but think of worst-case scenarios. Kamden ended up also having one Brady Spell the first week she was home. But again, we were alerted and able to intervene immediately.
After the first couple of months home, any family members who kept or watched our babies were trained on the Owlet. Their Owlets were on them 21 hours a day for about 6 months. Once they became more mobile, we only kept the Owlets on them when they were sleeping. As a working mom, the Owlet gave me a huge peace of mind while I wasn’t home with them. At any point, I could open the app on my phone and check to make sure they were ok. After a while, we became so familiar with their normal levels, we could tell if they were asleep or playing without looking at the video monitors. In fact, at about 4 months old, before I went to sleep, I checked the Owlet App for Kamden and noticed her heart rate was higher than her normal sleeping heart rate. I glanced at the video monitor to make sure she was sleeping, and she was. I was a bit puzzled by this, so I went ahead and went to check on her in her crib. When I put my hand on her cheek, I realized she was warm to touch. Sure enough, Kamden had a 103.6 fever. Eventually, Kamden probably would have woken up crying, but I was able to intervene much sooner because of the Owlet.
Shortly after the loss of our daughter Ava and my niece Jordan, our family wanted to do something that would help others who had suffered the loss of a child. We had our first charity golf tournament in October of 2017. We donated the funds to a charity that supported families who lost children. We did a tournament every year honoring our girls for the next three years. In 2020, we realized that we wanted to be able to do more so we started our own foundation called the Butterflies and Birdies Foundation. Our mission was to help as many families as possible who have been directly or indirectly affected by the loss of a child. We donate Owlet Dream Socks to families and we also donate CuddleCots (cooling cots that allow families of stillborns more time to say goodbye) to labor and delivery units in hospitals.
Once we started our foundation, we got in contact with multiple people on the Owlet team. We were all blown away by Owlet as a company. We knew how much we believed in their products but once we started working with their team, we gained an understanding of the passion behind the vision at Owlet. Not only does Owlet (from the CEO down) cheer us on and support us, they also donate two Owlet Dream Socks for every one we purchase from them.
To date, we have donated 609 Owlet Dream Socks to families who have been affected by the loss of a child. Our foundation is run solely by volunteers. Every dollar that comes to our foundation, goes back to our cause. We do what we do because of two little girls that gave our life more purpose than we ever could have imagined had they not existed. While losing them was the most traumatic and heart-breaking experience of our lives, we have been able to bless so many others.
I want to end with speaking to the parents of loss… First, I am so sorry for your loss. It is not fair. The pain will never go away but you will get stronger and because of that, carrying the weight of that grief won’t feel as heavy, eventually. Something that I have always told myself is that I will never blame anything bad that happens in my life on Ava. What I mean by that is, it would have been easier for me to just give up because my daughter died. But I could not and would not blame “giving up” in any area of my life, on Ava. That would not be fair to her. She would not want that. Instead, I have chosen to live each day so that she would be proud of me. She gave me the courage to fight through the awful and dark days. I can tell you, once I made that decision, my life changed for the better. I love deeper, have more compassion for people and want to do more for others because of Ava. Ava made me the best version of myself. A version I didn't even know existed. She gave me that. So, if you are in (what I called) the dark scary space of grief right now, hang on and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Let your loss transform you into the best version of yourself. I know it’s awful. It is the worst. But you can do this. I believe in you!
Disclaimer: The quotes, stories, and experiences included here are those of the individuals and are not representative of Owlet's views or claims about our product. Individuals were not paid and did not submit their information as part of any paid promotion by Owlet.