Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Jen's History

This is an excerpt of my sister's "YOU.S. History" paper. It was split into chapters to tell her life story, in the third person. She is such an awesome girl and I know she will go far in the future with whatever she decides to pursue. 

Chapter 6: And I was like, baby, baby, baby, ohhhh.

    In February of 2011, Jen received the greatest news of her life. Her oldest sister Shanna who had been married 4 years at this point, was expecting a beautiful baby boy in September. Jen and her family's lives were consumed with the unborn infant, and every conversation seemed to involve baby names, future things to do with the baby, and not to mention the endless marathons of TLC's "A Baby Story" or Lifetime's "One Born Every Minute" meant to prepare my anxious sister for the miracle of life. Jen was her sister's self-appointed "baby manager", which included the duties of watching way too many birthing videos, shopping for the most fashionable baby clothes, and attending all of the doctor's appointments. Jen's sister, Shanna, is a type-1 diabetic and also suffers from Crohn's disease, another chronic illness, so Jen was often in attendance at appointments with her high-risk doctors who gave her the job of monitoring her sister's diet and helping her when she was too tired. Shanna's poor husband probably felt left out as Jen took of the role of all things baby but he saw how excited she was for her big sister and let her have free reign. Now amongst all this baby talk, there was also talk of a wedding as Jen's other sister, Stephanie, was engaged to be married on July 8th. It was definitely an adventurous year for the Gauger family and Jen imagined that this year's Christmas card would practically write itself with all the hooplah going on. But there was one thing Jen didn't imagine and that no one in the family expected. On July 7, 2011, Jen drove her ever-expanding sister to a routine check-up with the high risk doctor. The two were their normal, or rather, abnormal, silly selves throughout the whole car ride and the waiting room. When they arrived, Shanna's blood pressure was measured and found to be at sky-rocketing levels and they were sent to the triage center. Jen sat down by the window next to her sister's purse and tried not to worry as her sister lay in the hospital bed, just 5 feet away, in one of those hideous beige gowns and waited for the doctor to enter the room. The nurse came in to check the baby's heart rate...unsuccessfully. She grabbed the doctor and he came in with the ultrasound machine. Jen watched as the doctor moved the machine up, down, and all around, seeing her beautiful nephew but hearing an absolute deafening silence. The doctor explained that at some point between Shanna's ultrasound the previous day and that moment, the baby's heart had merely stopped beating. The words the doctor spoke came on unusual sound waves, waves that seemed to take entire minutes to crash upon her ear drums and even longer to be processed by the brain. Here, Jen sat and stared at her oldest sister, the one she had always admired and idolized, refusing to believe that this was happening. She rationalized that the God she had faithfully believed in her whole life would not and could not let this happen. She had witnessed her sister in the hospital so many times that she could not accept this, she tried to argue that the doctor wasn't fully trained, that the machine was malfunctioning, that this was all one horrible nightmare. But it wasn't. That day will remain as clear as the ocean on a Hawaii beach for the rest of Jen's life. She will never forget the way her sister was absolutely still until her husband arrived, nor the sounds of the cries she made as her husband came to her side, the memories of the tiny casket and the unworn baby clothes will never fade but will remain forever etched in her mind. But as life tends to do, it continued on, Stephanie's wedding was the next morning and it was too late to postpone it all. Shanna would remain in the hospital and deliver her unblinking child two days later while the rest of the family would be posing for pictures with the bride and groom, trying so hard to get just one honest smile, trying so hard to be happy at a time where it just wasn't possible. 

Chapter 7: I get knocked down, but I get up again, you ain't ever gonna keep me down.

    In the past year alone, Jen has felt the bitter sting of pain and the immense joy of blessings and realizes how much these recent events have shaped her present and will shape her future. Currently Jen spends her days at Antelope High School, her nights at home watching the Game Show Network, and her weekends with her siblings. She happily lists her two older sisters as her best friends with her brothers-in-law at a close second. She has come to realize the truth in the master cliché, life truly is unpredictable. Sometimes, your friends change, sometimes, you change, and sometimes, things just plain suck. But Jen has adopted a new theme song by Chumbawamba as well as the mantra that while every day may not be good, there is something good in every day. She looks forward to the rest of high school and then college in the fall of twenty-thirteen with the memories and scars of her history leading her to a bright future knowing that if she gets knocked down, she will get up again, because there ain't nothing gonna keep her down.