Vim & Vigor - Winter 2020 - UVA - 55

55

When her coach's pregnancy
turned into a time of mourning,
a UVA student was inspired to help
others facing a similar situation
BY AMY PREDDY HUGHES

2018

was a good year for Ashley Hale.
She was making the most of her
last year of high school in a
Boston suburb. She was a leader
on a competitive cheerleading team and was preparing to attend the
University of Virginia.
As a senior, Hale was one of the most experienced cheerleaders on
the team. She took on a role as a leader and mentor and grew close
to her coach, Ashleigh. At the beginning of the season, Ashleigh
announced she was pregnant. The team was elated. They bonded over
the excitement and anticipation, and they were looking forward to
throwing their coach a party and helping her decide on baby names.
"We were all so happy for her," Hale says.
The first 32 weeks of Ashleigh's pregnancy were routine. Everything
was going as planned, until one afternoon. Hale returned home from
school and learned of news that would change her life forever. "Before
leaving for practice that night, I saw an email that said, 'Please read right
now,' " Hale says. "I read it and found out Ashleigh's baby passed away."

PHOTOS BY KAY TAYLOR, UVA HEALTH

JOY TURNS TO TEARS

Hale was in shock. The baby they were all waiting for-and excited to
meet-had died. The next day, Hale was scheduled to present a project
to her high school class, and she couldn't hold back her emotions.
"I wanted to tell my teacher, 'I cannot stand on my feet today, I'm so
upset,' and I tried to say that, but instead of saying it, I just started
crying," Hale says. "I struggled a lot after this happened. I cried every
day for a week, and I didn't know how to deal."
No one did. All of those around Ashleigh felt the suffocating, dark
emptiness. Instead of snuggling their newborn, Ashleigh and her
husband were making funeral arrangements for their stillborn daughter,
Mallory, and trying to explain to their 3-year-old daughter what happened to her little sister.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines stillbirth
as the death of a baby before or during delivery at 20 weeks of pregnancy or later. Stillbirth is pervasive: 1 in 100 pregnancies in the U.S.
results in a stillbirth. More babies die from stillbirth than sudden
infant death syndrome (better known as SIDS), but lack of awareness
leaves many families suffering in silence. Mothers frequently experience deep, long-lasting effects for years, such as grief, shame, guilt,
anxiety and depression.
VIM & VIGOR WINTER 2020

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Vim & Vigor - Winter 2020 - UVA

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vim & Vigor - Winter 2020 - UVA

Contents
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2020 - UVA - Cover1
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2020 - UVA - Cover2
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2020 - UVA - Contents
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2020 - UVA - 2
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2020 - UVA - 3
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2020 - UVA - 4
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2020 - UVA - 5
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Vim & Vigor - Winter 2020 - UVA - 55
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2020 - UVA - 56
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2020 - UVA - Cover3
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2020 - UVA - Cover4
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