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Ava This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     It seemed like a normal day, nothing exciting was happening. I was playing a computer game when my brother, Jared, told me that he wanted to take me on a drive so we could talk. From the look on his face, I knew something was up.

We hopped into his car and right away I asked what he wanted to talk about. There was a long pause, then he finally spit it out.

“You’re going to be an uncle,” he explained. I didn’t know what to think at first. Natasha and Jared were planning to get married, but he was only 19. I was a little mad at him because he had been planning to move out and go to college, and this would make it very difficult. The order in which he chose to do things seemed messed up.

As time passed, though, I began to feel more and more excited about having a baby around and being an uncle. For the next few months, preparing for the baby was my family’s top priority. It was all I could think about. My friends even were annoyed with me always talking about the baby on the way.

One day, Natasha came home from the doctor to announce that the baby would be a girl. When my family heard this, Mom and Natasha went shopping. I told them they could pick out all the clothes, but I wanted to choose her first shoes. I went to the shoe store to find the perfect pair and found the coolest, pink and white Allen Iverson’s, an exact replica of the pair I wore, except for the color.

The due date grew closer and closer with my excitement only increasing. One night while I was sleeping, Natasha went to the hospital because she wasn’t feeling well. My parents decided to let me sleep since I had school the next day. Then, at about three a.m., Mom came into my room and woke me up. She told me she had some bad news and I knew that it had to do with Natasha and the baby. I couldn’t have been more scared with what I heard.

My mother told me that on the way to the hospital, Natasha’s water broke. Once at the hospital, Natasha began to feel very ill. The doctors did some testing and found that the umbilical cord had looped around the baby’s neck. When Natasha’s water broke, the umbilical cord pulled tight, cutting off the oxygen to the baby and suffocating her.

My heart broke. All the excitement was instantly washed away. As I cried, I kept wondering why this had happened. Mom was going back to the hospital. Since there was no way I could sleep, I went with her.

When we arrived at the hospital, my brother came to meet us. I had never seen him look so emotionally ill. He looked like he had not slept for days. His whole body was shaky, and he stuttered when he spoke. He told us that the doctors were still testing, so we couldn’t see Natasha. As he walked away, I noticed that he was walking very slowly and shakily. As he pushed the door open, he collapsed, but was able to get up before I could get to him. It made me feel terrible even more to imagine how my brother was feeling, and to think of how it was for Natasha to lose a baby.

Time has passed, but I still think about what it would be like if we had that baby girl. Maybe she was such a perfect baby that God wanted her. Or, maybe God was trying to do Jared and Natasha a favor by taking care of her, knowing that it would be difficult to raise a baby while going to college. I will never know, but I do know that it was a good reason, and she is in a good place. I will never forget little Ava, my first niece, the girl who taught me just how precious life really is.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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