Jennifer’s secret diary, her ultra-private accounting of her unexpected pregnancy
Nov. 5, 1985
I have decided I need to keep this journal in addition to my usual daily journal. The thoughts I put here, I may never want to look at again. I may even want to burn this when I am finished with it. The others I write for introspection and, perhaps, posterity. This one is being written to chronicle the journey upon which, unbeknownst to me before today, I have already embarked upon; the one I am pretty sure Max sent me on before he left us.
Today at 2:17 P.M. I, Jennifer Edwards Hart, was informed that I am with child.
For a while now I haven’t been feeling like myself. Normally I face life with a fairly consistent positive attitude. My health is excellent, and I have a sound, logical mind. Lately; however, everything has been out of kilter. Some days I struggle to even get out of the bed.
I thought I was feeling so out of sorts because Max’s passing hit us both so hard. My menstrual periods have always been erratic, so the absence of one did not alarm me. I attributed it to my emotional state. I have been grieving for myself as well as for my beloved husband. Max was the nearest thing Jonathan had to a blood relative, and now he is gone from his life. How alone Jonathan must feel. I’m not sure that void can ever begin to be filled for him.
Jonathan still has great difficulty dealing with his darker emotions, and he tends to keep things to himself. He is not one to talk through his problems, at least not willingly do so. As a consequence of this, it isn’t always easy, even for me, to tell how he actually feels about things. Losing Max, and to some extent, Jonathan were, of course, depressing events for me, and I assumed my emotions were affecting my physical functioning. We were still in Montreal when I missed that first period, and right after that, I started going down hill.
Missing the second period did alarm me some, and my sleeping all day off and on got Jonathan’s attention, not to mention mine. That’s not something I normally do. The other day he was further disturbed because I was sleeping so deeply I didn’t hear the phone ringing right next to my head.
I thought perhaps I needed to see a psychologist for depression therapy or something, but Jonathan wanted to rule out anything medical first. So he made an appointment for me with my doctor and drug me to the appointment.
Kate confirmed the pregnancy for us today. It appears I am about three months along. That is one month shy of the time Max has been gone from us.
When this child is born, I will be on my way to forty years old and Jonathan will be forty-five. Surely we are too old, too footloose, and too set in our ways to be parents to anyone. However, I fear it is far too late to do anything about it even if Jonathan would consent to doing so. I wouldn’t have the nerve to pose that possibility to him anyway. Despite my trepidation about all of this I don’t know if I could go through with doing that myself. It would be purely selfishness on my part, and I’m not a selfish person. Normally.
After the consultation, Jonathan didn’t say very much beyond asking me how I felt. I took it he meant physically, so I told him I was fine.
Mentally, I feel so utterly trapped and helpless. Emotionally, I am a basket case.
I am being held hostage by some unseen force, and being held against my will goes against everything that is me.
So many tests have been run, but Kate says they’re all necessary to insure everything is progressing normally. After running that gamut, I feel like a lab rat. I’m tired all of the time and my food tastes funny. On the plus side, I haven’t experienced any of that morning sickness I’ve always heard about. However, certain fairly common smells are starting to turn me off.
Jonathan isn’t talking, at least not about this. He has gone inside himself and shut me out. It happens sometimes when he has something heavy on his mind and he doesn’t want to worry me about it. I understand he doesn’t realize when he does it; it’s not intentional. It’s a characteristic of his personality, most likely a defense mechanism left over from his childhood when he lived in the orphanage. Max said Jonathan has always appeared tough, but he’s actually very sensitive. I know that to be true. When we were first married and he would shut down like this, I didn’t understand what was happening, and it would hurt me terribly. I would take it personally. It doesn’t occur as often now, but this situation we’re in isn’t ordinary. Although it is unpleasant being on the outside like this, I think I can understand his doing it this time.
I wish he could let me know what he really thinks. Without Max here to balance things out, I feel so alone. I miss them both so much right now.
I woke up spotting this morning, so after Jonathan called Kate- against my wishes- I had to go into the doctor’s office to be checked. I hate seeing doctors and going to hospitals, and things like this don’t help.
It turned out there was nothing wrong. She thinks one of the tests run the other day might have been a bit invasive and caused a little residual bleeding. Jonathan insisted on staying with me while they looked to see what was going on. I wasn’t real comfortable having him there while they checked me out so intimately, but I guess it’s not like he hasn’t been there and done that… so to speak.
He looked so frightened the entire time. I wonder if his fear was for me or for his precious child?
Kate sent us back home with the order for me to stay in the bed for the rest of the day. I”m supposed to call her in the morning to let her know if the spotting continues. It’s a good thing Jonathan and I delegated our social responsibilities to others for this year. If we hadn’t, I’d be responsible for running around getting ready for the Christmas Pageant we put on with the children at the mission as a fundraiser. We hold it every year for the former Mission Street Orphanage, now St. Augustine Children’s Residence. Jonathan enjoys it so much, but when Max became so ill, we decided to forgo everything we normally take on. We needed to concentrate on him for better or for worse. It worked out. All we have to focus on right now is us and this.
As soon as he got me back home, he left me saying he had some urgent business. I notice he’s been very preoccupied ever since he found out about this. He’s getting home late most nights, always talking on the phone, or always in a meeting when I try to call him at the office. He doesn’t have much to say when he’s at home, and he seems very tired most of the time.
Things are changing between us, and it hasn’t even been a month.
I have never been pregnant. No close calls, miscarriages, no abortions, nothing. I always thought that maybe I couldn’t get pregnant. I never wanted to be, so it didn’t matter anyway. Of the lovers I’ve had in my lifetime, I find myself carrying the child of the one man who has made my life complete, the man who will most assuredly be by my side throughout all of this, the one who means everything to me; and still I’m terrified. I don’t want anyone or anything to come between what we have established together. Call me selfish; I don’t care.
I do not want this child.
On the way to the doctor earlier, I was almost hoping something was going wrong so we wouldn’t have to go through with this. I know that sounds terrible, but it’s not as terrible as carrying a child I don’t want. I do not want to be pregnant; I do not want to be a mother. I don’t know what I’m going to do.
Kate Kendall called this morning. All the tests are back and the results were all normal. She says all indications say the child should be born in early May of next year. Barring any complications, there will be three Harts in the springtime. I guess at some point in the near future, I should let my father know he’s finally going to have a grandchild since it’s obvious this isn’t going away.
I met with Marcia today in San Francisco to go over the galleys for the new book I finished writing in September. We’ve been putting off working on it because of the situation with Max. But it’s time to go forward with the project. It’s a fictional love story I’ve written under a pseudonym, Suzanne Simone, my late mother’s name. It is loosely based on my life with Jonathan. Marcia loves it. She’s been after me to write it for years. I thought it was fluff, but she said she expected I would see it that way as this is a departure from my usual research-based, non-fiction topics.
The first thing she mentioned when she saw me is how different I looked. Although we’ve talked often, she hadn’t seen me in the flesh for a few months, not since the funeral. She noticed a change right away. She said I looked prettier than usual. She commented on how long my hair had gotten and on how healthy it looked. She stopped short of saying I was glowing. I didn’t elaborate on any of it. Nobody knows about this except Jonathan, Kate, and me. I haven’t even told Pa yet. I don’t know why I’m waiting. Am I actually afraid to tell my father I’m pregnant? I’ve been married to Jonathan for going on ten years.
Marcia wanted to know if I had started on that latest idea we had. I explained to her I was experiencing a bit of a writer’s block, and I should probably just concentrate on the task at hand. She let it go at that. With Max’s death, she probably felt I had enough on my plate. She just doesn’t know.
I didn’t have the heart to tell her my career is probably over and there is likely to be no more literary collaboration on our part. I will be too busy washing bottles and wiping noses and behinds.
Jonathan has been keeping his distance physically as well as emotionally. We aren’t really talking. At night he holds me, but he doesn’t even attempt to make love to me. I don’t sense he would accept any initiation of it on my part. He hasn’t said one word about the pregnancy specifically. He asks how I’m feeling, but there’s not been one word about this situation.
My clothes don’t fit. Everything is too tight. There isn’t that much to my belly, but my waist is thicker and my hips have gotten wider. I hate this so much. I feel no connection to any of this. It’s as if my body has been taken over by some alien force, and I have no say in the matter whatsoever.
I make sure to put on a happy face for Jonathan. I love him so much even though he seems so far away from me these days. We are together physically, but a million miles away otherwise. I’m afraid to ask him how he feels because then he may ask me how I feel. I don’t lie, and I don’t want him to know the truth. He would hate me for it, and that I couldn’t bear.
I guess I need to go shopping. And I still need to call my father.
Jonathan took me to dinner at L’Orangerie. He asked me where I wanted to eat and it was what I suggested. I really thought I wanted to eat, but once we got there, I found I wasn’t really hungry. All of the different scents in the air made me nauseous. I was going to stick it out since I had been the one to suggest going there. But I guess he could see I me turning green because when the waiter came to take our order, he apologized to him and we left.
We rode home without talking. I thought he was angry with me, so I didn’t say anything to him. I didn’t even apologize; I figured he didn’t want to hear it.
I was taking a shower and feeling awful about everything, like my world was caving in. I leaned against the shower wall to cry. Just as I was about to let go and give in to my feelings, the door slid open and Jonathan got in the shower with me. He put his arms around me and held me. We stood under the water and just held each other for the longest time.
But we still didn’t talk about it.
Last night was one of the most memorable nights of my life.
I was lying there and Jonathan was holding me like he always does when he first drops off to sleep. I had just about gone to sleep, too, when a funny feeling brought me back. It was like the tiniest fluttering of butterflies’ wings in my belly. I lay there, frozen stiff, trying to wake up and trying to figure out what that wierd feeling was. Had I imagined it? Dreamt it? Then I felt Jonathan move his hand lower on me so it was right there. I pressed his hand to me with my own to see if he could feel it too. He whispered in my ear, “Is our baby is moving?” I could feel it fluttering around inside me, and I wanted him to feel it too. I wasn’t sure if he could, but I let him know that was what was going on.
It’s in there. There’s a baby inside me. This is real.
I wanted to see Jonathan’s face, so I turned on the lamp. He had the most serene look on his face. He said he loved me and he loved our baby. He said “Our baby”. We are doing this thing together, he and I. His words answered my most pressing questions, but his actions still puzzled me. We finally talked.
I asked him why he hadn’t made love to me. I had to work on him a bit, but he finally admitted he was afraid of hurting me or hurting the baby. He said he’s never made love to a pregnant woman, and he wasn’t sure if we should since things tend to get a little intense between us at those times. It was left up to me to show him there was no damage to be done. After all, men have been making love to their pregnant wives for centuries.
It was marvelous to feel him inside me, to hold him there again. I needed to be close to him in that way, and I think he needed to feel that too. He wanted to be over me most of time because he says soon he won’t be able to be. I hadn’t thought about it, but that is so true. We made love until daybreak. Wonderful.
It feels good to have his invisible shield come down. He says he as been nervous for me. He knows it has all been a shock to me in addition to everything else that’s happened- the house burning down, us moving out here to Malibu, Max passing away- and he didn’t know how to help me. He thought I blamed him for getting me in this predicament. I reminded him it took two to get us where we are. Then I told him it will all work out if he doesn’t change on me and or shut me out of his feelings.
He has no idea that I’m not playing by the same rules.
I love that man so much. He is my entire life. When I think about it, really think about it, I am sure this is how our life together was meant to be. Jonathan and I have not used any type of birth control for over five years, but this is the first time I have ever been pregnant. A miracle in itself. I’m forty, for all intents and purposes, with what appears to be a textbook pregnancy. This baby was in the cards for us all the time.
I wonder how I’m ever going to find enough love for his daughter. Look at me, I’ve made it a girl. After the night we had, it’s apparent to me she’s in there to stay. This has to be one heck of a child. She either knows how to duck and dodge, or she’s mighty tough. She’s his kid. Why should I be surprised?
I hope Jonathan understands his only child, yes his only, is a girl. I am not going through all this to have a boy for Jonathan Hart. My husband is far too much a risk-taker to be father to a boy. I can see the two of them now, up in that plane, sneaking off for junk food, the boy’s little rambunctious friends everywhere; wires, transistors, and boy’s toys all over the house, Jonathan teaching him to play cards and shoot craps. I am having a little girl. She will love tea parties, ballet lessons, playing the piano, dolls, and playing dress-up.
And I am going around the bend.
Jonathan and I delivered presents to the children at Mission Street and he played Santa Claus for the little ones as he does every year. He is marvelous with children. They just love him, and I just love watching him with them. His rapport with them defies description. It is truly something one has to be eyewitness to in order to understand what I am having so much difficulty trying to describe. His tenderness, his reactions to their wonder, it’s simply a beautiful thing to behold because it’s natural with him. However, his Santa does not have a Mrs. Claus. That’s not in me. I get my joy fr om watching him interact with the children.
He is going to be a fantastic daddy to his own child.
It is our first Christmas together without Max. It’s also another Christmas away from our real home, which burned to the ground almost two years ago. We have been living here at the beach in a rental. It is a beautiful place in a lovely location. I’ve gotten used to the sound of the surf at night, but it’s not Willow Pond. We left some mighty special times, memories, and emotions at our home.
We decided for this year the child was gift enough for both of us. I didn’t feel like much shopping, decorating, or putting up a tree. Jonathan must feel down too. This year he used a personal shopper for the first time for his executive staff. I felt badly, being so out of the loop, but that’s how it is. He said he understood and that he didn’t want me doing very much anyway.
Today started out as just another day. Jonathan fixed breakfast in bed for us. Freeway Jr. hung around, so he got most of mine. I’m having trouble eating the first thing in the morning. Not sick or anything. I just don’t want it. Kate says I can’t have coffee at all; the caffeine does something to the baby’s nervous system in the early months of a pregnancy. I really don’t want to do anything to hurt her. I would like for her to have the best opportunities to develop properly, so I have been really trying to adhere to what Kate says I should do. I’m a little nervous about things I might have done when I didn’t know I was pregnant. I always eat right, and I don’t have many vices, but I did drink alcohol and coffee like I normally do.
We made love after we ate tonight, which is truly a fantastic experience here at the beach with the ocean and all. Then we got a shower. While I was toweling off, I stopped to look at myself in the full length mirror.
My belly, which is usually as flat as a board- I was really proud of that- is now noticeably rounded. I stood to the side to see it, and that was when I caught sight of Jonathan watching me in the mirror. He had a strange look on his face. It was like happiness and concern at the same time. He came and held me. We’ve been together so long I sometimes think he can read my mind. He knows how vain I can be about my figure and my weight. I need to get over it. I’m going to be a blimp, and that’s all there is to it. I wanted to cry, but I didn’t. He has to be torn himself, happy at becoming the father I’ve always known he’s wanted to be and worried about me at the same time.
He told me to get dressed; he had a surprise for me that he hadn’t planned on revealing to me so soon, but he could see that I needed uplifting.
We got dressed, put the dog in the car and started driving. After a while, I realized he was taking me to the house on Willow Pond Drive. I have been unable to go there on my own since the fire. I just couldn’t bear to see it. I’ve been avoiding the entire Bel Air area as much as I can since the fire. Jonathan has been taking care of the business of maintaining the grounds and the outbuildings of the estate.
We pulled up to the gates, and I immediately thought of Max and how he wouldn’t be up there at the house waiting for us in his apron with brandies and tales of his latest win or loss experienced at the track. The house wouldn’t even be up there. I got a little agitated and told Jonathan I didn’t think I wanted to go inside, but he assured me it would be fine.
That beautiful, marvelous, thoughtful man has been working night and day on restoring the house to its original specifications. That’s why he’s been so preoccupied lately. He said he started on it right after the fire in an attempt to get Max and me back home. But then Max became so ill, and it sidetracked him.
He and I can, and usually do, live anywhere, but he wants our child raised at Willow Pond. Right after the initial doctor’s visit, where Kate confirmed the preganancy, he got the wheels turning again. The exterior is pretty much completed. He took me inside. There is still plenty of interior work to be done, but I was flabbergasted at the amount of money and time he has to have put into doing this. I’m sure insurance covered a lot of it, but knowing Jonathan, he also has plenty of his own funds in this project to expedite the completion. He says people are on the grounds working 24/7. Since this was Christmas, he shut it down, but after the first of the year, the workmen will be there full time once again. He wants his child to come home to that house in May.
And all I have to do is carry and deliver a baby while Hercules is running around moving heaven and earth for both of us. I need to stop whining and get with the program. We were on our way back when I heard Max saying to me, “You can do this Mrs. H. You can do anything.” His last words to me were that Jonathan was going to take me somewhere I never thought I would go, but it would be somewhere I needed to go.
Max, I sure hope you’re right. I would hate to mess up somebody’s life.
When we got back, even though we had already sent him something as a Christmas gift, I called my father and gave him his real present. When he picked up, I said to him, “Merry Christmas Pa, you’re finally going to be a grandfather.”
Jan. 2, 1986
We are just recovering from the New Year’s celebrations. We have been to parties all over Los Angeles over a three-day period and we gave a small one ourselves on New Year’s eve night. Both of us are exhausted. We slept all day yesterday. For the first time in our lives together, there is no one to whom we have to be accountable except each other.
It won’t be that way next year for sure.
It was strange not having Max bringing us tomato juice to fix up our New Year’s hangovers. It was equally strange for me to not have a hangover this year. I’ve had a New Year’s hangover every year for the past nine years, and for a lot of the years before then, going back to the year I turned 21. I couldn’t drink this time; not even champagne. I thought one wouldn’t hurt. At the stroke of midnight I had the glass to my lips, but Jonathan took mine and drank it himself. He said I could taste the distilled version on his lips and his tongue, then I did. My husband is such a romantic, sexy man.
We celebrated the New Year last night here at our house at the beach with our closest friends. Jonathan took the time during the celebrations at midnight to announce our addition to our family to them. Everyone toasted us. Reverend Lassiter, a close friend of Jonathan’s was here and he blessed our baby. I get the feeling from our friends’ reactions that an awful lot of people have wanted and been waiting for this for us.
I’m still unsure about my abilities to do this. To be honest, I just don’t feel any real connection to this person moving inside me. I just know the baby is a girl and she’s Jonathan’s child.
It dawned on me that I hadn’t even told my best friend, Pat. She still lives in Manhattan in that big, old apartment that used to be mine when I lived there. It was the greatest place, and next to living anywhere with Jonathan, it was the most exciting place in which to be. I loved and still enjoy New York.
Pat and I have been friends since Prep school. We’ve nursed each other through homework, cramps, boy troubles, detentions, our fathers, Pat’s failed marriage, my crazy relationships, and on and on. Twice we got suspended from school together. The first time we were thirteen and got caught smoking Camels in our room. We got sent home to our fathers for three days. I was just lucky that time; Pa happened to be in the states when that happened.
The second time was when we blew up the chemistry lab in the tenth grade. When they suspended us, for a week that time, Pa was in Paris and he had to fly to Boston. I thought he was going to kill me. They made him and Pat’s father pay for the damage to the lab. Pa made me work with him the entire summer to pay him back and he told me I couldn’t be friends with Pat any more. Some work. I was all over the world with him that summer working in art galleries and meeting all of his interesting friends.
As soon as school started back in the fall, the first person I went looking for was Pat and she was looking for me. We ran into each other on the quad. The party started all over again and it hasn’t stopped since then with us.
She’s now an editor and owns her own publishing company, Hamilton House Publishers. A lot of my work goes through her and through our other friend, Marcia in San Francisco. We met Marcia at Vassar and became a trio. At one time, the three of us reigned supreme on the party scene in New York.
Pat has the worst case of potty mouth I’ve ever experienced in a woman, but it was always like that with her. From the time that we met when we were twelve, she could curse like a longshoreman.
After Pa, she was the first person I called when I decided to marry Jonathan. When she realized I had only known Jonathan for two days, and had accepted his marriage proposal, all she wanted to know was, “Two days? You? Damn Jen, just how good was the sex?”
I told her today that I was pregnant. Her first words were, of course, “Well I’ll be damned.” Then she asked me what took me so long. She knows my feelings about having children, and I told her I was worried about it. She told me to grow up; that I had to be the only woman on earth she knew who would be worried about being “knocked up” by Jonathan Hart. Since I was his wife, and not his mistress, she couldn’t figure out what the hell my problem was.
She didn’t stop there. She went on to ask me if I knew how many tramps were lined up with their panties down around one ankle waiting for me to turn my back? She informed me that if she were in my shoes she would have had six or seven of Jonathan’s babies and be pregnant again; she said she could look at him and tell that he can f—. Now that’s something only your best friend could say to you about your man without offending you. I don’t know how we ever got to be such good friends with a mouth like hers, but she is my rock.
She let me know she was coming to LA to kick my a– if we didn’t make her the godmother. So I guess that issue has been settled. Jonathan loves Pat, so he couldn’t have been more pleased.
I haven’t laughed so hard since before Max passed away. It felt so good. There is nothing in the world like a good girlfriend to lift your spirits when the chips are down.
I called Marcia right after that and told her too. She said she had been wondering how long it was going to take me to call her and tell her. She said she knew that I was pregnant when I was in San Francisco with her the last time for the book. I had that ‘glow’, she said.
I had my monthly checkup today. I’ve gained ten pounds in these five months. Kate says that isn’t bad, but I could just die when I stop to think this is just the beginning. I’ve read that the most weight during a pregnancy is gained in the last three months. Dieting is out. Kate says dieting might harm the baby. On the positive side, everything else connected with this is progressing well.
My appetite has returned with a vengeance and luckily my cravings lean to things that have iron in them: salads, green, leafy vegetables, and the things I like to eat anyway. It’s just that I eat them all the time, day and night. It’s as if I don’t have any control over it. This little entity sucking its life from me has possessed me. I do what she wants me to do.
Kate conducted an ultrasound today. She showed us what she said was the baby. It didn’t look like much to me, but I could see the little appendages she said were the legs and arms and the pulsing where she said the heart was beating. But then, she let us listen to the little heartbeat through her stethoscope. That was really something. There really is a person down there. Jonathan stopped at the pharmacy on the way back to the house and purchased a stethoscope of his own to listen to her whenever he feels like it. What am I supposed to be doing while he’s down there playing around?
At this point, Kate saidshe could tell us the sex of the baby. She asked us if we wanted to know. We decided we don’t want to be told. I already know even though I haven’t said anything to Jonathan about it. I don’t want him to be disappointed. He hasn’t voiced a preference, but I’m sure he’s hoping for a boy to carry his name. Eat your heart out, Buster. It’s dresses, lace panties, ballet shoes, barrettes, and talcum powder.
He’s getting his baby like he wanted. I’m going to at least get a little girl out of the deal.
We have to attend a dinner party this evening at the home of one of Jonathan’s clients. I have always disliked business dinners, making small talk with people I don’t know; it’s all so boring most of the time. But I know they are essential in Jonathan’s position and as a corporate wife, accompanying him is a part of my ‘job description”. There’s usually at least one guy at these functions who tries to put the moves on me. I guess I won’t have that problem at this one. I think I’m going to particularly hate these gatherings now that it’s obvious I’m pregnant. With us being so well known, everyone wants to talk about it. People are excited for us and I understand they mean well, but I find myself keeping to myself a lot more these days. I prefer my privacy in this matter, but that’s not always going to be possible being the wife of the CEO of a major corporation like Hart Industries. I always have to be on, and these days that’s just a little harder to do.
I found a lovely outfit for tonight. It’s red, loose and flowing. I am steering clear of the maternity shops for now. I’m pregnant, but I haven’t advertised it. I step into one of those shops and it will be all over Los Angeles and beyond. I’ll improvise as long as I can. Hopefully I won’t be so huge that it will necessitate my having to shop at one.
I have a hair appointment for this afternoon. Jonathan saw it on my calendar while he was at my desk using the telephone. Although he never says too much to me about what I choose to do with my hair, he did ask me today to not have it cut. It’s longer and thicker than it has ever been and he loves it. I feel like there’s a lion’s mane on top of my head. My stylist, Barry, has been having a ball and making a mint. It does look good, though.
One positive thing that I will say about being pregnant; I have never been so horny in my life. It must be the added hormones or something, but the sex is great: two or three times a day. It’s a good thing I have a more than willing partner. All we have to do is look at each other and we are there. With it just being the two of us now, it’s anything goes, anywhere, any time.
I’m beginning to think my husband is lot kinkier than I ever suspected. My condition seems to turn him on even more as the months progress, rather the other way around as I thought it might . He’s fallen completely in love my hair and my breasts. He calls it all my “Rueben’s look”. He takes pictures constantly.
Last night, Allen Baker, of Baker Financial made a pass at me. I could not believe it.
I was on the way back from one of my numerous trips to the restroom and he caught me alone in the hall. He started telling me how beautiful I was, especially with the ‘glow of motherhood’ about me. Then he tried to kiss me. I pushed him off and told him if he ever tried that again, I would let Jonathan know how he had tried to take advantage of the ‘mother of his child’ and then let nature take its course. Allen knew I was serious and that Jonathan would take his head off if he got wind of it. He apologized all over himself saying he didn’t know what had gotten into him. I told him two slugs would be into him if he ever tried that again and I left him there blubbering all over himself. Just plain sick.
Other than that, the dinner wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. I’ve mostly gotten past that stage where smells bother me. Now I have the horror stories with which I have to contend. Other women seem to feel compelled to regale each other with stories of their pregnancies and labor when there’s a pregnant woman present. I’ve seen it done in the past, and I have always felt that it was in poor taste. I never thought I would be the one on the receiving end of it. I did what Kate advised me to do when this happened as she knew it would; I tuned them out. I’ve always been good at that. My work as a reporter has trained me well. I hear what I need to hear.
Jonathan and I were able to use the excuse that I tire easily to get out of there early. We went home to be with the people in whose company we prefer to be these days, our own.
Being out on the secluded beach like we are, we have complete freedom to do whatever we want to do. We talked, and then we made love in front of the roaring fireplace. I fell asleep afterward and when I woke up, Jonathan had covered me with a blanket and he was just lying there next to me staring at me. He said that I’ve always been gorgeous but that he had never seen me look as beautiful as I did being pregnant. He doesn’t have a clue how much I need to hear him say those things, even if he doesn’t really mean them.
I wonder what it feels like to be a man and to know that the woman you love is carrying the child that you put inside of her. It has to be a worrying thing indeed when your woman is someone who has let you know more than once that she never really wanted a child, and suddenly she is full of your child- one that you want desperately, but you can’t be sure how she feels about the situation.
I took a nap this afternoon and I dreamt about Max. Nothing specific. I just woke up knowing that he had been in my dream. I wish so much that he was here with us for this. I miss him and his ‘mothering’. I think that I would be handling this much better if he were here with me during the days.
I went to Willow Pond on my own today to see how the work is progressing. I went while Jonathan was at the office. Most of the downstairs and major rough work upstairs is done. I was able to go to where our room was and will be. Even in its unfinished state, it felt like home. It dawned on me that one of the bedrooms will need to be a nursery. I hadn’t even thought about it. I’m still not very connected to any of this although this little girl seems connected to me. When I sleep, she sleeps. When I’m up, she’s active. She doesn’t disturb me. I’ve taken to reading aloud when I sit down to read. When I do, she becomes very still as if she’s listening to my voice.
I think that the first room on the other side of the hall will be best. It is far enough away from us to give us to give us our privacy, but close enough for us to get to her easily and quickly. We’ve always had an intercom system in the house that went into our room. I’ll just remind Jonathan to have them connect it to that room also. As she gets older, she will need to be able to use the system also.
One day I am going to have a daughter summoning me via intercom.
I got a call from Marcia last Tuesday. She was asking me to meet with someone that she needed to interview on that following Friday. She couldn’t get to the appointment because of a scheduling conflict that would not allow her to get to LA in time. She wanted me to conduct the interview for her.
I could not believe that she was asking me to do that. I really didn’t feel like it and I told her as much. I’ve been concentrating on selecting and ordering things for the house, scheduling deliveries, etc. I’m also working on closing this house down. Jonathan has come to really like it here and he is considering approaching the owner about selling it to him as a getaway. How ever that situation goes, we’re going to be moving soon, and getting us ready to go is my responsibility.
Marcia insisted that I go and meet with this person egging me on by saying that I must be losing my edge if I wasn’t interested in interviewing a fellow conservation advocate. Oh yes, she hits real low. I reluctantly agreed to do it and, she sent over the questions that she wanted me to ask. I was to meet a Ms. J. Martricia in the lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel. I am so far removed from everything these days that I didn’t even pick up on the name.
There they were in the lobby to meet Jennifer: Marcia and Patricia, both of them carrying bunches of balloons and screaming at me. It startled and delighted me at the same time. The penthouse suite had been reserved for the three of us for the entire weekend. Jonathan came down and brought a bag that he had packed for me. They were all in on it. They told him that they wanted to spend a “girlfriends” weekend with me. He flew them in and put us all up in the suite.
He dropped off the bag, greeted the girls, got ogled by Pat, and then left us to ourselves. Almost before she had him all the way out of the door, Pat turned around to me and said, “You must have g——-d sugar down there to have kept that good-looking, nice man for this long. You snared a man that fine and that nice and it took you ten damned years to finally squeeze out one for him?”
I politely informed her that mine was sugar. Refined sugar, not that cane that she had. I told her too that anything that Jonathan and I put together comes out special; this one baby would be tantamount to five ordinary kids, and like fine wine, that takes time. She and Marcia had to agree with me.
We all laughed until we cried. It was so good to be together in one place again.
Later, while Marcia was on a conference call in the suite, Pat and I went alone together down in the hotel shops . We were between the racks and she patted my belly to ask me how I was really feeling about all of it. Until now, neither of us had children. Pat underwent a hysterectomy at 25 which contributed to the break up of her marriage. She wanted children. I didn’t, and there we were. It seemed so unfair. I couldn’t find the words to tell her, so I just stood there looking at her.
I guess she could read it in my eyes. She shrugged her shoulders and then she hugged me saying, “Well, it’s not like you have much of a choice at this point anyway. Don’t worry, you have Jonathan. He’ll see you through this.”
That took the place of all the words that we could have spoken. Then she asked if I had given any thought to what I wanted to name her. I asked her what made her refer to the baby as a girl’. She shrugged her shoulders again and said, ‘What the hell could WE do with a boy?”
Those were my sentiments exactly. That’s why we’re friends; we know each other so well.
For various reasons I tend to keep people at a distance. There are a select few who get to come inside of my space, a precious few. Pat is one of them. Outside of my mother and my father, she’s probably the first person I ever let in. I told her that I had been toying with the name ‘Stefanie’. She asked me if I was spelling it with an ‘f ‘or a ‘ph’. I said that I liked ‘f’ because it was different. She liked my choice as well as the spelling. Then she suggested that her middle name be Suzanne after my mother. I liked that. I think that my father would like it too.
The weekend turned out to be a marathon baby shower of sorts. Pat and Marcia had brought suitcases full of baby things with them. Pat’s were all things for a girl; she’s that sure too. Marcia chided her for it, but Pat told her that she knew what she was doing. She says that she has connections everywhere and her bid was in.
The entire time that we were at the hotel, our girlfriends from all over dropped in on us all day and all night with wine and presents. I don’t think that we got any sleep. At one point, the suite was full, the wine was flowing, the music was playing and somebody suggested sending out for a male dancer. But Marcia nixed the idea saying that a nearly naked, young, hard-bodied dancer might send me into labor. They just don’t know that I’m past that. I have the real thing waiting for me to come home to him. If Jonathan Hart hasn’t sent me into labor with the things that he does to and with me, just watching a dancer perform wouldn’t have been be a problem.
They made me go to bed, but even with that, there were always three or four people on it or in it with me. We even had a group who flew in from as far away as Rhode Island. Several of the girls stayed overnight in the hotel. At breakfast and dinner time, we took over the dining room. I know that the hotel staff were eager to see us all go.
Now that it’s all over, everything has been packed in boxes and is waiting for us to move back to Willow Pond and for Stefanie Suzanne to get home. I hope she loves her father. I certainly do. I always have and I always will.
The jury is still out on her mother.
Early this morning, I was making love with my beautiful husband. As usual, it was hot and marvelous. Right as he reached his peak and was about to let it go, he whispered wickedly to me, “It really is g——-d sugar, Red”.
Where and from whom could he have heard that? And he knows that I hate to be called “Red”. He got away with it this time because I was in no real ‘position’ to protest it at that moment. All I could do was laugh at him and he knew it.
I know that this poor baby wonders what in the world she has gotten herself into with the two of us.
Pa called me this afternoon.
He said that I had been on his mind, and he asked if I had been keeping up with my writing. I thought that was a strange question for him to ask of me out of the blue like that as if I was still a young school girl who hadn’t done her homework. I told him that I hadn’t written anything recently. I explained that I had been far too busy with the upcoming move and with getting things ready for the changes that were coming with the baby to focus on my career.
He asked me why I felt that I couldn’t do what I was doing and write too. I didn’t really have an answer for that. I’ve always been able to handle more than one thing at a time. Most of the time, I write two or three pieces concurrently. That last book was written while in the middle of planning a major ball for Mission Street, and continuing to write for the magazines. I have finished pieces while putting on my makeup to go out with Jonathan. Since high school, I’ve never put my writing completely aside until now. There really was no reasonable answer to his question.
Pa told me that children are meant to blend into your life; they are not supposed to take it over. They should instead become a part of the life that you have going before they got there. I immediately thought of him and me. After my mother died, he didn’t stop doing what he had to do as an art dealer. He had to travel, so he sent me to boarding school, but when I wasn’t in school I was right with him in galleries all over the world. He never stopped. I blended into his life and he into mine. I learned so much from being with him; I learned about the world, about people, and about myself.
Then he told me that he loved me and that he had to switch over to take another call, but that I should expect a package that he was sending to me.
I don’t know how he knew it, but those were words I really needed to hear at that time. He made a lot of sense.
I love my father. He is a very wise man.
I had my monthly checkup today. I have gained almost twenty pounds so far. That’s another ten pounds in one month. I can’t stop eating. What in the world am I going to look like when this is all said and done? How much will Jonathan want me then? Right now the weight gain doesn’t seem to be causing him any real problems. That much is consistent and still very good. Very good.
We’ll be back home in two days. The movers have been packing up this house for a week now. The new furniture that we’ve ordered has been being delivered to Willow Pond daily, and Jonathon goes there to see to it being placed in the right rooms and in roughly the right places. We’ll have things arranged more to our liking later.
Outside of Jonathan’s arms, I am overwhelmed by it all. As long as he’s with me, I can deal with it. But the minute he leaves for work…
I’m not doing very well with this at all as the time grows closer, but nobody knows that except me. I’m very good at wearing masks when I have to do so. I did it for years after my mother died.
I am so afraid.
I’ve never been anybody’s mother. I didn’t even baby-sit as a kid.
Pa’s package arrived yesterday. He had it sent to Jonathan’s office because he didn’t know where we would be when it got to us. Jonathan brought it home to me when he came in from the office. We opened it together.
Pa sent us all of my baby pictures. He had a note inside saying that he had been holding on to these until we had our own child. He wrote that he had almost given up hope of ever getting rid of them.
We sat in bed and looked at them. My mother was in many of them. She was such a beautiful woman, not because she was my mother, but because she was just that. She was tall and elegant with a full head of thick, long, red hair and she had wonderful hazel eyes. I do remember her eyes. I look like my mother, but there was something in her carriage that I lack. She looked strong. I am strong, but I don’t think that my appearance conveys that like my mother’s did. I don’t realize how much I miss her until I look at pictures of her.
In my head, I can’t see my mother’s face any more. When I looked at those pictures, I could hear her voice. She always called me “Cherie” or “Jenny”. She has been dead for twenty-eight years, and although I don’t see her clearly any more, I can still remember her sending me to school that morning, and Pa coming for me that afternoon to tell me that she was gone. I never even got to say good-bye to her; I told her as I was leaving that I would see her later.
My mother was the only person in life that I’ve ever allowed to call me “Jenny”. Pat sometimes calls me “Jen”, but I quickly correct anyone who attempts “Jenny”. It hurts too much to be called by that name, even after all this time. To Pa, I have always been Jennifer. Jonathan, who has always insisted upon being called by his full name, has always referred to me as Jennifer. I love to hear him say my name when he’s making love to me.
God, I’m horny.
Valentines Day. We woke up in our bed, in our room, in our home again.
There are no words. Yes there are. There are four words that wrap up this day.
I love you, Jonathan.
And three more.
You too, Max.
Max was a remarkable man in many ways, and he continues to be.
Today I was in what will be the nursery . The room itself is finished. It’s been painted white and I’ve had the curtains and the blinds hung. I was just wondering where to begin or what to do next as far as furnishing the room when the telephone rang. It was Marie, the housekeeper on the Thornton estate which is next door to us. She wanted to come over and see us.
I wasn’t really in the mood for company, but she was such a good friend to Max and she’s really a nice woman; I told her to come on over figuring that she just wanted to welcome us home. Jonathan hadn’t yet left for the office, so I let him know that she was coming.
We met with her in the great room where she did welcome us back, but then she went on to explain to us that she, Max, and the Thorntons had entered into an agreement. Before he passed, Max asked her if she would enter into service with us as our housekeeper and estate manager, much like Max was to us once I became pregnant. The Thorntons spend much of the year in another home in Palm Beach, so her services were not no much needed with them as Max felt that they would be with us. She brought with her a letter of recommendation from the Thorntons and one from Max, himself. We were astounded. How did Max know about the baby? How did Max know that Jonathan would rebuild this house and that we would return to it?
I asked Marie about it, but she just shrugged her shoulders and said she guessed he had a hunch.
Jonathan said that Max always was one to go for the long shot.
We readily accepted her offer. Jonathan took the letters from her and filed them. We didn’t need the Thorntons’ letter and I guess he just couldn’t read the one from Max right now. I wrote the Thorntons a letter to thank them for their generosity.
Marie had her things packed at the Thorntons and Jonathan had the movers that were still on site here to go over and get them. While they were moving her in, she began assessing what was going on and talking with me about what needed to be done for the house and about my personal needs. I let her know that outside of cooking, Jonathan and I mainly see to ourselves. She has been managing the movers, arranging furniture, cooking, and trying to see to me all day. She respectfully let me know that she had been left specific instructions about taking care of me until this baby arrives and that I was not to argue with her.
From the tone of that “no arguments” directive, I recognized the source of those instructions. Watching Marie work, she is amazing.
I feel a lot better about things all of a sudden. At least there isn’t the house to have to worry about. Max is still looking out for us, I guess.
I woke during the night last night and found that Jonathan wasn’t in the bed with me.
I got up to go look for him. Although the hall was dark when I stepped out there, I didn’t need the light. I knew exactly where he was. Crossing over to the nursery, I could see his silhouette in the moonlight as he stared out of the window. When I called his name, I startled him.
I offered him a penny for his thoughts, the way that he does me when I’m deep in reverie about something. He reached for me, pulling me to his side. He was so quiet and it took him so long to say anything, he made me nervous; I thought something was wrong. I wondered what woke him in the night and called him in there.
He told me that he woke overwhelmed by it all. He held me to him and told me that he always wanted a baby with me and that the room we were standing in was one that he always wanted to be a part of this home. He had never pursued it because he knew and respected my feelings on the subject. He said that he loved me enough to forgo all of that.
Then, two years ago, he lost this home. Last year, he lost his oldest friend, Max. But there was still the two of us, and that was all that mattered to him. Now this year, although he doesn’t have Max, he has his home back and his fondest dream is about to come true. He said that he wakes sometimes and sees me sleeping, and the thought that I am the woman with whom he is about to have a child just takes his breath away. His only fear he says is for me.
He turned to face me so that I was pressed against him and we could both feel our child moving between us. She seems to love Jonathan’s voice. Whenever he’s about and he’s talking she becomes so active it’s almost as if she wants to get his attention. He wants me to be happy, and he isn’t sure that I am. I told him that as long as we were together, I’m fine with whatever life brings.
That much is true. I just don’t know if raising a baby is something that is within me. I’d like to be good at it, I just don’t know if I will be able to do it successfully.
But it is really something when you think about it.
When Jonathan and I met, we had both been around the block more than once or twice with other people. Neither of us were anywhere near children, and we had both been involved in our share of serious relationships. But it wasn’t until we got together that a baby resulted from it. It didn’t happen with anyone else; it was just with us. And even with us, it didn’t occur right away. It almost seems to defy explanation. She really must be someone special because truly she was created from love.
Without a doubt, she will adore her father. It’s with me that I fear she’ll run into problems.
I mentioned to Kate when I saw her today that I would like to go and see my father in Maryland. She said that I could go within the next two weeks, but she’s grounding me after that. I have gained thirty-two pounds and I feel like one of those balloons in the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade. I told Jonathan that I would like to go this weekend if he could get away. He didn’t see a problem with it.
I had to have another test today. It was called an amniocentesis. They inserted a needle into my abdomen to check the fluids around the baby. Jonathan stayed for this test as he has for all of them, but this time he averted his eyes to look into mine as they inserted the needle. I was happy that he was there, but for once I don’t think that he was so pleased about being present. He has a thing about needles. I’ll be so glad when all of this is over. I’m sick of the classes, the doctor’s appointments, being fat, all of it.
Speaking of the classes, we are probably the oldest couple in ours, but I think that we have the most fun. Jonathan is such a clown, he puts everyone else at ease. The other night they showed us the movie of a baby being born and he had the instructor rewinding parts claiming that he didn’t quite understand what was going on and asking her to show them again. Being the charmer that he is, she does whatever he wants. He had the young fathers in there moaning and groaning and almost fainting. He was in tears watching them squirm. The girls, as pregnant as they are, flirt shamelessly with him, right in front of their significant others, not to mention me.
He is going to be some Daddy to a little girl. She’ll probably run all over him while he grins like an idiot about it.
The instructor told us that there is a period of the labor called transition. It’s the point where the contractions become stronger and the baby starts to move down the birth canal. She said that at that time the woman may become angry with her husband or partner. I told him that I was looking forward to that. He turned to me and said, “Give me all you got, Red. I can take it.”
Oh, he’s got it coming; he has no idea.
I am so afraid. I didn’t tell him that, but I really am.
I don’t think I can do this.
I don’t think that Jonathan has ever been as angry with me as he was this afternoon. He and Pa had gone for a ride on the horses and I got bored. He wouldn’t let me ride out with them. Pa wouldn’t have minded, I know, but he didn’t want to go against Jonathan. After they left, I got one of the horses out and rode him out to my place. I didn’t take him any faster than a walk, but Jonathan was furious that I would ride at any pace, especially alone. He thought that it was too much jostling or that I might have fallen since, according to him, my center of gravity is different now.
He returned from his ride with Pa and found that I was gone and so was the other horse. He walked way out there to come and find me. He gave me hell, and I just let him vent. I know that I probably scared him, but he doesn’t understand that I’ve been riding all of my life. There is no way that I’m going to fall off, and my center of gravity isn’t ever going to change so much that I can’t ride a horse. Riding is as natural to me as walking.
My mother was an accomplished horsewoman. Pa told me that she rode up to the day that I was born. She rode out that morning and I was born that evening. I know that I am every bit the woman that my mother was. I just hope that I live longer so that I can be there to help my daughter grow up.
When Jonathan got finished fussing at me, he sat with me under my tree and put his head in my lap. He has this thing that he does now where he lays in my lap and talks to my belly. He gets a kick out of how active the baby gets at the sound of his voice. I think the child realizes that he is going to be the good-time parent- the one with whom she can be a little clown and get away with it. His nature is so easy and sweet, she won’t be able to do anything but love him. I don’t know what she’ll make of me, especially since I probably won’t know what to make of her.
I hope that she at least likes her name: Miss Stefanie Suzanne Hart. That sounds so nice, so feminine.
We will be going back home in the morning. Pa called me into his den after dinner. He wanted to talk with me. I sat next to him like I always do. He usually smokes his cigar or his pipe, but tonight he didn’t do either. When I asked him why, he said that he didn’t want me inhaling the smoke. I would be upset if someone else smoked around me, but it never occurred to me that my father’s smoke would be a problem. I guess that Pa is always going to be my Pa to me.
He’s never been very demonstrative when it comes to displays or words of affection, but tonight he touched my face and told me that I had never been more beautiful than I was on this visit. His expectations of me have always been high, he said, and he knew that he had been hard on me. At that point, I tried to make him stop; I don’t like when he talks about those days. He did the best that he could do. But he asked me to please let him finish. He said that even though I was a challenge to him at times, I had always made him proud and that I had made a good choice in a husband. He knew that having this baby had not been my idea.
But, he said, that with Jonathan not having any other family he deserved to have at least one blood heir. He had worked too hard with his hands and his wits to build Hart Industries to not have a descendent to whom he could leave it. He also said that Jonathan and I shared too much love between us to take it to our graves without leaving a living testimony to what was, just as he and my mother had done in having me. He informed me that it was going to be my responsibility to make sure that Jonathan’s heir was someone worthy of our legacy.
“Jennifer,” he said, “you mustn’t let what happened with you and your mother make you afraid to be a mother yourself. And you mustn’t be afraid that your love for Jonathan won’t leave enough for that baby. You will be a good mother to that child and you’ll have enough love for it because you have such a good heart.”
Then my father kissed me.
I cried and he let me. I cried for him having lost my mother so early in their lives together, I cried for my mother losing us, and I cried for my baby getting me for her mother. I’m not sure that I’m up to the task that my father has laid out for me. Jonathan is one hell of a man. Maybe this should be a boy after all… The heck with that; she’s going to just have to be one hell of a girl.
And her mother is going to have to be one hell of a mother to her.
Jonathan asked me when I was going to start interviewing nannies. A nanny? I thought for a moment that he was joking. The confused look on his face at my shocked reaction told me that he was serious. Why would I go through all the trouble of carrying and having a baby only to have someone else to raise her? I think not. I can mess up my own kid; I don’t need help for that. I informed him that he and I- alone- would be raising this child. Marie was all the help that I needed and she would be in charge of the house. We would be in charge of the child. He got the widest grin on his face and then he kissed me. I asked him what that kiss was for, but he didn’t answer me. He just went on and left for work. What in the world was he thinking about? A nanny. I think not.
Georgette Singleton, and old friend of mine, stopped by today with her youngest boy. She and I did our undergraduate studies together at Vassar. She married right out of college and moved here to California with her husband. They now live here in Bel Air. She has two older boys who were in school today while she was here with the baby.
Wesley is two and will be three in November. With him, she has her hands full. He was everywhere, touching, patting, pulling, crawling, fussing, running. The entire time that she was here, she was chasing him. I got tired from just watching them. Either this behavior is due to him being a boy, or it is the result of a lack of basic training. She has a nanny for her children. If this is the outcome, I know that my decision to do it myself is the right one.
Whatever the case, I’m not having it. My baby is not going to be a boy, and my little girl will be raised to know how to act in public. That much I do know.
Jonathan has been in Chicago for two days. I wanted to go with him, but Kate advised against it. Since it was urgent, he had to go without me. His life goes on, but mine has stopped. I was despairing that this was an indication of things to come.
I thought about what my father had said to me, I called Marcia to see if she had some work for me. She was overjoyed to hear from me. She was swamped with pieces that need editing. Two of her people are out with the flu and she’s way behind. I was willing to drive to her, but she said that she would get a quick connector flight from San Francisco and bring the things to me this evening. I’ve been away from my writing too long.
I just finished a first person piece on being pregnant for the first time at forty. I sent it over to Marcia two days ago and she got it today. She read it right away and she said that she loved it. She’s sending it in to Parents’ Magazine. Jennifer Edwards Hart may be published in Parents magazine. Who would have ever thought that?
I went for my weekly appointment today. I have gained 38.5 pounds and Kate says that the baby is changing position. She says that it won’t be very long now, maybe a couple of weeks. All I know is that my bladder is getting the best workout these days. I almost don’t want anything to drink. I can save myself the trip by just standing at the bathroom sink, filling my glass, walking to the water closet and pouring it over in the bowl. That’s about how much time liquids stay with me these days.
It is so good to be here at Willow Pond. I love this house and these grounds. I missed it while we were gone, but I didn’t realize how much I missed it until we got back. It’s springtime, and this time of the year was always the best here.
Jonathan had the house itself reconstructed according to the original plans and it is almost as it was before the fire. Of course, the kitchen and some fixtures in the house have been updated to meet current building code regulations, but he did put the fireplaces back in where they were. Those were a must, especially the one in the kitchen. His loft is as it was before and we have been scouring the antique shops and book stores to replace some of the pieces and the books that were lost. It took us ten years to put it together before the fire. Hopefully we’ll have the rest of our lives to do it this time.
I walked out on the rear grounds after breakfast this morning. Max’s garden is just as he left it. The Jennifer Hart rose bushes are being tended by Marie and myself. We decided that the two of us would take care of this part of the garden. The gardeners take care of the rest of the grounds. Max’s roses are special to the three of us, excuse me, the four of us.
My back has been bothering me lately. I guess it’s because the baby has changed position. I feel better sometimes after I’ve walked. Starting Monday, Jonathan is taking a leave from Hart Industries. Lately we have been getting calls from the press wanting to know the baby’s due date. That bothers him. He doesn’t want the publicity. He has never liked it for himself too much, but I can tell that for him this child is definitely going to be off-limits to the press. I want it that way also. During the time that I’ve been pregnant we have been careful to stay out of the things that we used to tend to get into.
The last time was when we were in Montreal. We were on the trip that Max set up for us before his final surgery. He sent us a sort of scavenger hunt. We ran into some trouble involving a clock that his niece and her fiancée made for us. That trouble led to a girl losing her life, and one of our old acquaintances, an actress, being arrested for murdering her husband. I don’t how we did it, but it seemed that we were always backing into something. I hope that changes for us. I can’t see us getting into those kinds of episodes with a baby to keep out of harm’s way. Max said that life was an exciting business, but I don’t think I want that kind of excitement around a child.
I am so tired. I have done all that I can do to get ready for this baby. Her room is ready. My bag is packed. Marie has the house in order. Marcia and I have gotten through all of her work. She sent me a dozen roses to thank me. I sent her a dozen to thank her for getting me back in the loop. I told her that as soon as I see how my life is going to go after the baby, we would sit down and talk about that idea that we had.
My love story is selling well, she said. They have several orders from bookstores and the reviews have been good. I’m still glad that I wrote it under a that assumed name. It keeps me from having to do any horn blowing. I hate signings and all of that. I just want to write it and for people to read it. The other business is unpleasant to me.
I wonder if my daughter will be a writer. Maybe one day she’ll sit in her father’s chair in the boardroom. I know that she’s going to be a special girl. After all, her father is Jonathan Hart, a very special man.
I am in labor.
I have been in labor all morning, but I know it isn’t near time. The pain is not that severe and it occurs about every thirty minutes or so, but it’s a kind of pain I haven’t ever experienced before. It starts in my back and radiates down into my pelvis and my thighs. I haven’t said anything to Jonathan yet. If I do, he’ll be hovering over me even more than he already is. As much as I love him, he can be nerve-wrecking in this pregnancy, imininent labor thing. You’d think he was having the baby; he’s so nervous.
I took a bath. I told Jonathan it was to ease the increased tension in my back. He helped me in and out of the tub, and afterward gave me a back and shoulder massage. Of course, he wanted to do more, but, as much as I hated to, I turned him down this time. First of all, I’m in labor and secondly, I’m not going to be talked about in the delivery room. There will be too much going on down there and too many people in and out of my most personal business.
So, I’m just going to sit here on this couch in this bedroom and let nature take its course.
Or my life.
Mama, please keep your eye on your Jenny. I really wish you were here with me now.
Jesus, I’m scared.
May 2, 1986 9:15 P.M.
Our daughter was born at 8:57 a.m. today, and she is the most precious thing anyone has ever given me in my entire life. A girl. A sweet little girl with my red hair and Jonathan’s blue eyes. They’re grayish now, but they are going to be just as blue as her daddy’s.
I was fascinated by her tiny hands with those long fingers like mine, my mother’s, and Sabrina’s. When I touched one of her hands, she opened it and then closed it again right away to hold tightly to my finger. When they had her cleaned up and handed her to me, I held her close to better see her, and she turned her face in to me wanting my breast. Instinct is really something.
I could not believe she was hungry as soon as she got here. Kate said she recognized I was her mother. I hadn’t planned to breastfeed her, but as little as she is, she recognized I was her mother. It seemed the natural order of things, so I gave her what she needed from me. She is my daughter. I am her mother. Along with my breast this morning, she took my heart.
She is my daughter. Jennifer Edwards Hart has a daughter. When I put her to my breast, Jonathan cried. I think he was relieved it is finally over; she’s here in one piece, and I didn’t reject her, drop her, or do anything silly like I feared I might. How could I? She has his beautiful blue eyes.
When they gave him to her to hold, it was my turn to cry. I have never seen anything so touching as the sight of my husband so gently cradling that delicate, tiny bit of feminine humanity. When he kissed her for the first time, I just lost it. I wish I had my camera for that moment.
But she’s a greedy little thing. Kate said that it’s good to let her nurse. My milk isn’t down yet, but Kate says that her suckling will stimulate that function, and it’s good for her sucking reflexes. I see nothing wrong with her reflexes in that area, she never gets tired. I have to make her stop.
Jonathan named the baby this morning, and her name is not going to be Stefanie Suzanne, after all.
They brought the paperwork around to us to complete for her birth certificate, and the woman handed it to Jonathan to fill out. He said he had been thinking of a name for her, and he asked me if I minded if he named her. I was a bit disappointed at first, having a name picked out for her and all, but Jonathan never asks anything of me while he has literally given me everything. So I put to the side the name I had been using all these months for her and said I didn’t mind.
It surprised me completely when he said he was naming her for me. It flattered me, his wanting to do that. I would have wanted that for him if we had a boy, but I asked him to to reverse the names to allow her to have her individuality. So this morning, “Baby Girl Hart” became Justine Jennifer Hart. She is our child together; Jonathan’s and mine. We now have a baby to raise.
Max sent her to us, I’m sure of that. He didn’t want us to be lonely for him.
We are going home as soon as hospital transportation gets here with the wheelchair for me. They won’t let us just walk out; it’s hospital policy they say. I am ready to go.
Would you believe there are people from the press outside the hospital wanting to see this baby? They tell me the papers and tabloids have been calling the hospital switchboard since I arrived wanting to know the birth time, the sex, the weight, the name, whatever information they can get. When did we get to be such celebrities? Jonathan says he bets there are pools going all over the city and that money is being wagered like crazy. According to him, this is the kind of thing that gets bets going. He said he wouldn’t be surprised if Max wasn’t in heaven taking action on her statistics since he seemed to have the inside track on it all.
I wouldn’t put it too far past Jonathan Hart to have money down somewhere with some bookie, himself.
I wish we could simply wrap her up and slip quietly out of a back door of this place. But my husband, like always, has rolled out the red carpet for me and now for his daughter. There is a stretch limousine awaiting us downstairs. He is going to try to spoil her rotten. I can see it coming. I’m not having it.
As I was dressing her to leave, Jonathan mentioned she was going to need something on her head. I told him I planned to cover her head with the blankets; it’s warm outside. He said that wouldn’t be enough. Then from his inside jacket pocket, he produced a minature LA Dodgers baseball cap he had commissioned for her. It’s white with pink lettering. He told me he had a friend do it for him months ago. Evidently, he has had his bid in for a girl too, and like Pat, he seems to be pretty well-connected. As I’m writing this, he has that baseball cap on my little girl’s head and he’s talking to her.
“Now you look like your Daddy’s girl.”
I’m pretty sure I’m in for it with these two.
August 3, 1985
Dearest Jonathan and Jennifer,
If you are reading this, I know my long shot has paid off. Congratulations to both of you. That is going to be one great kid.
I hate I’m not going to be there for you three, but I’m sending Marie to you with my highest recommendations. It’s what she wants to do, and we have agreed it is what is best for you. She can take over my job and that will give the two of you all the time you need to devote to that little girl.
Mr. H., don’t you be spoiling her too much, and stay out of Mrs. H’s way. She’s got her hands full what with trying to raise you and your kid on her own.
Mrs. H., I know you didn’t plan for this, but it was planned for you. You’ll be the best at it, trust me.
My fondest wishes I send to you three Harts, and as I said before, I’ll be waiting to buzz all you guys in the gate.
Jennifer folded the letter and placed it back between the pages of the journal with a quiet smile. She closed the book and held it in her lap for a moment recalling with great fondness, their friend Max.
How could he have known?
She rose from her spot on the bed and carried the journal back into her dressing room where she placed it back inside her lingerie drawer, sliding it under her things, way to the back where it had been. With Jonathan in D.C., and restless in his absence, she had pulled it out to read when she ran into it while rummaging for some item about which she had since forgotten.
It had been a while since she had even thought about that book and that time in her life.
Returned to the bedroom, she decided to make one last check before turning in for the night. She crossed the hall and went into the first bedroom on the other side.
The night light there cast a warm glow on the small figure under the covers. She picked up the two toy airplanes and the tractor from the middle of the floor and placed them all on the dresser. Going to the bed, she stood over it looking down on the three-year-old sleeping there. Loose, curly red hair fanned out over the pillow and a plump hand rested upon an open book. Attached to the pages of the book was that missing book light she hadn’t been able to locate, its glow illuminating the small sleeping face so much like her own.
Shaking her head in amusement, she moved the hand to take up the book. In doing so the girl awoke, looking up at her.
“Hi Mommy. What are you doing in here with me?”
“I came to see about you, to see if you needed anything.”
“I just have to potty, Mommy.”
Jennifer watched as the child slipped from the bed and padded barefoot into her bathroom.
“J.J., baby do you want me to come and help you?” she called. She switched off the book light, placing it and the book on the night table, then she fluffed the bed pillows and straightened the covers.
“No, thank you,” was the answer from inside. “I can do it by myself.”
There was tinkling, a flush, the sound of water running in the sink, and then she reappeared, stretching her arms above her head with the long yawn.
“Is Daddy home yet?” she asked.
“No cherie, not until in the morning.”
J.J. climbed back into bed and took her mother’s hand to bring her with her. “If Daddy’s still gone, then you can stay with me so you won’t be lonely.”
Jennifer got into the bed behind her and pulled the covers over both of them.
“Do you want me to stay with you until you go to sleep?”
The little girl nodded and snuggled back into the protective curve of her mother’s body.
“Good night, cherie,” Jennifer whispered to her as she wrapped her in her arms.
“Good night, mommy. I love you.”
“I love you too, my sweet girl. Go back to sleep.”
They lay together until Jennifer felt the child relax in her return to slumber. She released her, eased from the bed, and pulled the covers back over her. Smoothing curls back from her face, she marveled at that fascinating person, her daughter.
As she closed the door, she whispered to him, “Thanks, Max.”
I think Jennifer’s reaction to discovering she is pregnant for the first time at almost 40 is normal.
I imagine she is scared of the unknown and has doubts in her abilities like most of us. While Stefanie Powers did an outstanding job as Jennifer Hart, it was a scripted show. In this series of stories, they are portrayed more as “real” relatable characters.
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I just stumbled upon these stories. I think they are pretty good. Ironically, I am friends with Stefanie, and the way Jennifer is acting in the story is more Stef than Jennifer. Very creative.
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i don’t like how you make Jennifer seem like such a bitch about, caring Jonathan’s baby. Thats not the character that Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers, portrayed, Jennifer to be.
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I loved the letter, it seemed it was something Max would have written, I could even hear the gravely sounding voice as I read it.
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Thank you. I appreciate your taking the time read the story and to leave a comment.