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Abilene couple shines light on stillbirth, honors daughter by giving back

Every eight seconds, a baby is born in the United States and every eleven seconds, a person in the United States dies.

Sadly, stillbirth caused an Abilene couple to experience both birth and death within just minutes of each other.

For years, Tim and Ashley Wood had dreamed about having a family of their own and after three years of fertility treatments, their wish came true when doctors told the Abilene couple that they were going to have fraternal twins.

“When we found out it was twins, that was an exciting day,” said Ashley Wood. “We were both stoked to be able to have twins and then when we found out it was a boy and a girl, that put me over the moon. I always wanted at least one of each."

The stars began aligning as the Woods got ready to welcome Brylex and Alonna into the world in April of 2016, but that dream turned into a nightmare just seven weeks before Ashley’s due date.

"At our 30-week checkup, she no longer had a heartbeat," Ashley Wood said.

"I got home and immediately, we just both fell apart," Tim Wood said.

“I just kept telling myself that I had to do everything I could to make sure that he made it safe," Ashley Wood said.

Brylex was born two minutes before Alonna on April 14, 2016.

The chances of having a stillborn baby are rare, affecting just 1 percent of all pregnancies, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Last year out of more than 1,600 live births, we had 15 that we would consider a stillbirth and that's really in line for the rest of the country, 1 percent is about normal," said Wendi Rice, a Certified Nurse.

From the day that Tim and Ashley got married, they have had to deal with the loss of multiple family members, which made hearing that they were going to lose their own daughter even more devastating.

"I think I was a little bit more prepared because [of] our wedding night,” Tim Wood said.

“His grandpa passed of cancer on our wedding night," Ashley Wood said. "The weekend that we did the IVF, retrieval for the eggs, his grandmother also passed that weekend, so we've had a lot of loss in the last five years."

Now they are moving forward and honoring the memory of their daughter each year on the anniversary of when they found out that Alonna’s heart had stopped beating.

"We decided to pick a newborn outfit and donate it to the first girl born on March 1 at Abilene Regional [Medical Center] because that’s where we had them," Ashley Wood said.

The drive to honor Alonna's memory does not stop there as Tim and Ashley have purchased a star in Alonna's name so that she is always looking down on her family, especially her big brother.

The Wood family also plans to buy a cuddle cot to donate to the Abilene Regional Medical Center, which is a device that cools a stillborn baby's body so that they can remain in a hospital room for up to five days, which would give the stillborn baby's parents more time to grieve over their loss.

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