I jolted awake at 4:12 that morning. Before checking my phone, I prayed that there wouldn't be a text from her. There was. I hesitated for a moment before reading it, knowing that there would be no more rest after I knew. There were few words, but the message they held changed me. As the hot tears rolled down my cheeks, I lay my head on my pillow and closed my eyes. I could think of nothing to do but cry and pray.
8 months before that night, I had opened my facebook inbox to find this message from Erin.
Every conversation that E and I had started with "the question". Is there a baby yet? And so many times the answer had been no. But this time, it wasn't. This child was already so loved and wanted. I couldn't wait to meet the baby, hold the baby, spoil the baby.
The months that followed were exciting. We talked about baby names (I'm all about the baby names). They didn't find out what they were having, which was frustrating but fun. We talked about when I would visit and how she was about to be a mom. And then...
I was sitting on the couch at Danielle's house checking facebook for the thousandth time that day, hoping for news of the baby. I saw something about labor. I drafted a text, "is there a baby?!?!?!" And while I waited to hear, I noticed something on another friend's status about prayers and complications and my heart dropped. I read blogs...lots of them...about women who lose their babies. But it isn't supposed to happen to the women that I love.
I found Mandi in my phonebook quickly and called. She didn't answer. I went back to facebook, looking at everyones profile that I thought might have information. A few minutes later, Mandi called back. I couldn't possibly have been prepared for what I heard. Girl. No name. Heart stopped. Hospital. Emergency. Lots and lots of complications. As soon as I hung up with Mandi, I had a text from Erin. "Baby is here. Lots of complications. Please pray." And we did.
The next few days were so hard. I was so shaken by this turn of events, and it was so hard to think about what Erin was feeling and thinking. Baby didn't have a name until a day after she was born. Gwendolyn Hope. She was so beautiful. I cried and prayed and petitioned prayer from everyone I could think of. I asked Mandi to update me when she knew more.
And so on that night, I woke shortly after 4 in the morning to the text message that I had been praying would not come. At that moment, I could think of nothing but sweet Erin. This woman that has forever changed my life, who has loved be even (and especially) when I didn't deserve it and shown me God's love. I knew that she was broken. And I could do nothing.
Years earlier, I had woken to a call from Erin. I had asked (begged) to be the VERY FIRST PERSON that she called after Blair proposed. When my phone rang at 6 in the morning, I saw who it was and rolled back over. Whatever it was could wait. There was no way Blair had proposed since the last time I had talked to her the night before. She left a message. "Katie. You might want to call me back!" I could hear the smile in her voice. And sleep was no longer important. I called back immediately and we shrieked and celebrated and, on that morning, I could sleep no more from the excitement. My friend was getting married!
And at her wedding. It was so beautiful. And sweet little Brynn was so sick. She made it down the aisle, dropping flower petals as she walked. Soon after, she ran back and started throwing up. Poor thing. And when she threw up at the reception, I helped clean it up. And Erin knew how big of a deal that was because I HATE vomit. But I did it for her.
One night over Christmas break, my friend and I stayed up late talking and crying. I told her that I doodle her girl's name on my notes in class because she was here and she is so loved. We talked about how much it sucks. I couldn't wait to meet and hold her daughter. It feels like I've been waiting forever to hold her baby (I've wanted her to have a baby since she and Blair started dating). I love babies, you know (she does). We talked about her name and how perfect it is (I definitely approve). Whenever we talk about her daughter, we use present tense. Because Gwenny is still Erin's daughter. And Erin is still Gwen's mom.
I can't wait to get to Heaven. I would give anything to hold Gwenny on this Earth, but that wasn't God's plan. I don't understand. It doesn't make it hurt any less. But I know that Heaven will be that much sweeter because Erin will get to be with Gwen. And Gwen will get to introduce her mommy to Jesus.
In the days that followed Gwendolyn's death, my precious friend started a blog. It will make you cry. Really...don't read it without a box of kleenex. She's so real, you guys. I love her soooo much. And I can't wait to hug her neck in March.