Title:  Journals of Anna Morgan (1966-1970)

Rating:  PG-13 - for difficult subject matter such as miscarriage and disturbing images.

Author: lianeviolet

Summary:  [The Ring] Anna Morgan's journals through her life before and just after her pregnancy.

Disclaimer:  All characters of The Ring owned by Gore Verbinski.

Author's Note:  I did most of my own research for this story, but I would like to give the biggest thanks to Ringworld; without their helpful timeline, this story would not have been remotely feasible. ;)

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September 22, 1966

It is in the early light of dawn that I appreciate how horses are the most glorious creatures ever to have graced the earth. They have such a majestic stance and are the embodiment of pure strength and agility; I ache from their remarkable beauty. My earliest memory is being astride a very pretty tan and gray Shire, with the sensation that I could stretch my arms above me and clutch a cotton cloud within my small fist if it was my desire to do so. My mother would walk next to the horse with one hand upon my back and the other holding my right hand to give me support so I wouldn't tumble to the ground. She was a content woman who loved horses just as much as she loved her family, which consisted of only my father, his relatives and me. Mother never spoke much about her family or what had happened to all of them and I was never sure if this was because she did not know much about them, or if it was because it caused her a great deal of pain to reminisce about the past. She died when I was seven and I cannot help but think how her silence has created a loss of history within my ancestry since there is no one alive who can tell me about my mother's background. I know she met my father away from Moesko Island because it was well known that my mother was not a native like my father and me. Father told me that he met her on one of his business trips somewhere in one of the States, but I can never remember which one. He owned a horse ranch, much like my husband Richard, and I'm sure one of the reasons I fell in love with Richard is because he reminded me some of my father.  He had all of my father's good qualities, and due to their identical professions, they got along very well before my father passed away a few years ago. It is times like now, when I am so deliriously happy, that I miss my wonderful father the most.  He would be thrilled beyond words to find out he was going to be a grandfather.

The test came back this afternoon that I am most definitely pregnant once again! I suspected it, since I have been suffering from morning sickness for the past two weeks, but I did not want to write it all down until I knew for sure. I should not be this excited so soon into this second pregnancy since the first one in 1963 caused me extreme heartache and resulted in many trips to visit Dr. Deever for counseling.  However, I just can't believe that it's really true. I know that is why my thoughts have been wandering to my mother and father so often today; I have been wondering if they were this euphoric about my birth.

There is a child growing inside me - the whole idea is just incredible. I can't keep my hands away from my stomach - I just keep rubbing my hands around and around, pondering if it is a boy or a girl. I need to travel into town and buy as many baby books as I can find; I know absolutely nothing about raising children since my mother was not here to teach me what to do. Richard has been in the stables tending to the horses much of the afternoon and I haven't had a chance to give him this great news, but I'm sure he will be just as excited. Having a child together – this is a precious gift that I have always wanted to give him; I am the most blessed woman in the world.

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December 8, 1966

Of course it depresses me very much to dwell upon this morbid subject, especially after my doctor has told me to do whatever I can to take my mind off the horrible event that has occurred, but this journal is my only solace in this time of great sorrow. It listens quietly, unlike all of the nurses and other women who have been giving me advice or telling me how sorry they are or patting me on the shoulder, wearing faces heavy with pity. This is not comfort to me, it is discomfort, and after the past few days, I have learned that I can take whatever pain my physical body might endure and I could survive it, but my heart feels as if it has been lost from my body along with the dear child I no longer carry. It all feels like some dreadful and distorted dream; I have been in a numb void for days. It began on my way back to the house from the stables, I was going back inside because I was feeling weak, and that is all I remember. Richard told me he had found me passed out at the front door and that he had never seen so much blood; he said that he was never more afraid that he might lose me than at that moment. He told me that he loved me immensely and he had terrible news that our second child was gone. His compassionate words fell upon my confused and drugged mind as he embraced me from the chair next to the hospital bed and I didn't believe him. My screams of denial reverberated through my body and bounced off the walls of the room until nurses came frantically with restraints and needles; the numbness began shortly after that.

How can I put into words all the innumerable emotions through which I am suffering? I am sitting in this sunny and bright bedroom, propped up on pillows, scribbling away in this foolish book as if I could really express all this hurt and grief through measly words! The numbness is dissipating into heated anger; I am angry with Richard for telling me he didn't think we should try again, angry towards God for allowing this to occur, angry with myself for being unable to keep this child alive. How could this be happening?  I did everything right, I did everything how I was told and the baby is gone - it's not fair. It's not fair, I did everything right and I've gone from ecstatic to the most disconsolate being on this earth. There cannot be any other experience in life that would be worse than this awful nothing.

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March 9, 1967

I finally summoned enough nerve to discuss the issue of children with Richard over breakfast this morning, and I could not be more disappointed in him. Before we were married, he talked about our having children all the time, now he just seems so indifferent to the subject.  I know part of it is because he is so frightened that I might be putting my life in danger once more, but he does not know how desperately I have wanted children since I was just a young girl. It was a big step for me to even mention the topic, since we still have not discussed the miscarriage though it happened over three months ago. However, Dr. Grasnik says everything appears to be better within me and that we could start trying again if we wished, I would just have to be monitored very closely for the duration of the pregnancy. 

Richard spends almost every waking minute of the day in the barn and stables taking care of the horses. I love the horses just as much as he, but with him, dare I say it, it's almost an obsession. If he isn't brushing them, he is cleaning out the stalls or feeding or washing them.  If I didn't know him better, I would think he was trying to avoid me, or perhaps just my discussions of wanting a child.  Oh, I know that Richard loves me very much; I can see it within his blue eyes as he steals glances at me when we are together.  I need to find a way to make him understand that I love him, but there is still an empty part of me that desires motherhood; I want to be a mother more than anything in the whole world.  Richard would be a wonderful father - could that be another thing that brings him concern perhaps, that he would not make a good parent? He is the oldest child in his family and he helped his parents raise his younger siblings, it is not as if he has never been around a child in his life.  He is being very stubborn and strange about this entire subject.

After our slight argument, I spent most of the morning down near the shoreline, allowing the sun to pour its rays over me, helping to heal all these weeks of chaos and strain. I just don't understand his reasoning, and I certainly don't want him having this child to make me happy, he could become resentful and our child would suffer in the long run.  Well, unless he is able to open his heart to it once it is born, and Richard really does have such a huge heart; he has always had a kind and gentle nature.  Perhaps it will just take less time to persuade him if I make it easier for him to accept the idea.  I just need to give him some space.

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May 16, 1967

I am taking things very carefully this third time around.  Dr. Grasnik has told me that I need to rest often during the day and not to assume any strenuous tasks and Richard has been surprisingly cheerful the last few days; I think he is finally opening up to being a father.  He has been following me like a lost puppy dog for days, making sure that I'm not doing anything that I shouldn't be doing in my condition.

It is hard to resist helping out around here; this has been a busy season for the ranch and we have had many visitors.  There is one couple who I absolutely adore, Mitch and Roberta Klemming - they are a charming couple of newlyweds who love horses and have been staying here for a few weeks now. Roberta and I have breakfast in the morning and discuss all sorts of things, she's maybe ten years younger than me, but we have so much in common. It's good to have another woman to chat with everyday, but she leaves at around 10:30 to begin riding Chestnut, one of our Percherons, and then I scurry around trying to find some light housework that I am able to do.  I dusted off some of my riding trophies a little while ago and just holding them brings back such pleasant memories.

Being one of the owners of such a popular and busy ranch, while pregnant, is proving to be a very significant challenge.  I find I am afraid to spend a large amount of time around the horses, provided one of them should get spooked for any number of reasons and suddenly kick or rear upwards in a panic.  I've been kicked many times, inadvertently, over the course of my life, but I must be very careful now.

I have not seen much of Richard today; I believe he was supposed to give a riding lesson sometime this afternoon.  I know he will be home for dinner later on tonight, but he hasn't said a great deal to me since we found out that I am pregnant once again. Richard gets very preoccupied with working when there is something heavy weighing upon his mind, and I do realize that it is my health and well-being, but sometimes I feel like I'm going through this pregnancy all by myself and it is making me feel anxious and a bit gloomy.  I wish he would allow me to share this wonderful experience with him, but I suppose that this is just a really big adjustment.

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July 2, 1967

There is something innately relaxing about running a brush through Norris's mane (he is one of our Shires); I don't know if it's just the repetitive motion or the wispy sound that it sends through the air, but I've spent a lot of this morning talking to my favorite equine friend.  He is the most gentle horse that we have on the ranch, but I have taken absolute care to stay outside his stall with the door between us, just to be safe.  He is a biggest glutton for attention, and I can see reflected in his deep brown eyes that he understands what I've been telling him.  It is quite nice just to have someone listen to you for awhile, without interruption or judgment. My spirits have been a little low lately, of course the doctor says it could be all these new hormones floating around my body from the baby, but I know better.  I'm just frustrated with Richard for the moment - he has been so distant the last few days no matter how much I have tried to make contact.  Normally, jumping onto a horse and riding with the wind blowing all around me helps me through any unhappiness, and I cannot believe that it has been almost two months since I've been on a horse.  I miss riding very much, but this baby means more to me than a million horse rides and there is always the time after the baby is born.  I just wish I understood what the devil is wrong with Richard.

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September 8, 1967

What is wrong with me? How could this happen again? I can't understand it, I was being so careful.  Well, I hope he is happy, it almost feels as if he willed this to happen again with his miserable attitude. Can't he understand that all of this is even more difficult without his support? I have cried myself to exhaustion all morning since I returned from the hospital; Richard held and comforted me most of the time, but underneath all his concern, I could detect a sense of relief that this pregnancy was over, too.  Actually, that's probably not true, I am growing paranoid while looking for someone to blame, someone to project all this rage upon and that is not fair to Richard.  He has always been a quiet man who is uncomfortable with showing much emotion - I shouldn't punish him for that.  However, that does not change the fact that I am in a dark and empty place right now and it will take eons to dig me out. The blue sky is plummeting to the earth once again and we did not even get the chance to choose a name for this child.  Why is it so difficult for me to carry this through?  How does someone survive this devastation three times? What is wrong with me?

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October 11, 1967

My white cocktail dress is still soaking in the sink in an attempt to get out all the red wine that was spilled upon it tonight; I think I got more on my dress than inside me!  I thought, initially, that a party was a poor idea when Richard first approached me with it a few days ago, but then I realized, holing myself up in the house like a recluse was not doing me any favors and perhaps I should try to enjoy myself, if only for Richard's sake.  It felt strange putting makeup on that hollow and pale face that stares back from me in the mirror; that woman wearing my skin has not appeared human for some time now.  It amazes me how some cosmetics and clean hair can do wonders for a person.  The dress was a bit loose since I have lost some weight from the last time it was worn, but it was comfortable.  Richard invited many of our closest friends, including the Stevens, and a few that I have been ignoring unjustly since the last miscarriage; I just have not felt very sociable for the last few weeks, but I think that is understandable due to the circumstances.  He also asked some of our guests at the ranch to join us and I was introduced to a new family that had just moved in down the road from us.  Mr. and Mrs. Emile Ramirez make a very handsome couple; Mrs. Ramirez, or Josetta as she prefers to be addressed, is a very small and shy woman, but utterly wonderful.  They brought their son, Michael, who is almost seventeen, and told us how much he loves horses; Michael spoke so eloquently and seemed so wise beyond his years that Richard offered to let him work at the ranch after school so he could learn more about the profession.  I've never seen a face light up as quickly as Michael's, he was so pleased, and I think he will fit in around here very well. 

After awhile, Richard played our piano in the front room and I found that I was really enjoying myself, my senses seeming more alive than they had been in quite some time.  I even had too much to drink, believe it or not, and danced with a few of our guests.  I'm still a little tipsy as I write this, but I haven't been in such good spirits for so long that it feels invigorating, and Richard has been especially attentive tonight.  He really is most thoughtful; he put this entire event together without any help, and he told me a little while ago, when we were alone in the kitchen, that his happiness comes from my happiness and he loves me very much.  I must admit how relieved I am that everything seems to be getting back to normal around here.  Things are looking up for the time being, I just hope it stays this way for awhile longer.

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November 27, 1967

I have just come back from town with the most beautiful bouquet of peach tea roses to put on our living room table - I just love the fragrance of tea roses - they are so delicate and feminine and peach is one of my favorite colors.  They were rather expensive since we are just on the cusp of winter, but I have always felt that fresh flowers are a symbol of renewal and rebirth.  It helps my mood to see these lovely flowers living when the outside is crowded over by a lot of dead trees with poking branches.  Michael has been giving Richard a lot of assistance around the ranch, helping to repair broken latches and wooden fixtures, feeding and grooming the horses, even in the shivering dampness of morning; Michael truly loves it here.  He has been showing me all sorts of things that Richard has taught him with the eagerness of a new student, and he learns very quickly.  Richard speaks very highly of him when it is just the two of us and he is thinking of hiring him on full-time once he graduates from high school in about a year and a half. 

My finger is slightly sore where I pricked it upon a thorn a little while ago; those elusive thorns on the roses hide themselves very well.  Richard keeps asking me if I'm feeling all right, I know it is just because he is concerned, this is our fourth pregnancy after all, but I find that question is beginning to pick at my last nerve.  If I was not feeling well, I would most definitely let him know; he doesn't need to check up on me every few minutes.

I suppose the truth is that I am still feeling very sensitive about this pregnancy and my mortal fear of having another miscarriage - I almost hesitated to write down that word in case the power it wields might cause it to happen once again.  Dr. Grasnik has been very sensitive to my apprehension and has been supervising this pregnancy very closely; it gives me the confidence that this time may be different than the other three.  After the last one, I have to admit that I was really frightened that I would never be able to carry a child to full-term, but this pregnancy is giving me much hope for the future.  Richard appears to be warming up to the idea of being a father, I think - I don't want to believe that he's behaving this way just to keep me content.  He seemed earnest the night we made love after the party, he just held me and kept repeating how much he loved me and never wanted to let me go; he can be quite the romantic when the mood overtakes him.  We even discussed a few names (I really like the name Stephen if it's a boy, but he likes Charles - hmmm…perhaps Stephen Charles or Charles Stephen?), but we could not agree on a name for a girl at the moment.  Well, there is still plenty of time to decide, I just hope I can get through all these months without this terrible trepidation hovering over my head.

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January 8, 1968

Rain is sliding down the windowpane in rivulets as I watch, so relieved to be home once again; I was afraid they were going to keep me in that horrid hospital forever and never let me go home.  Dr. Grasnik insisted that I spend more time there than necessary because she fears for my mental condition, which is completely reasonable, but I caught her whispering to Richard in the hallway yesterday and that just annoyed me to no end. What does she have to say to Richard that she cannot say in my presence, I wonder? Why do I have to defend my feelings of utter worthlessness to anyone?  I am a complete failure - there is no other way to express it.  I have lost four children that did not even get the chance to see the light of day and I hate myself - everything about myself.  After the whole ordeal in the emergency room was over, I thought the restraints put upon me after my angered outburst were completely unnecessary - I wasn't going to do anything to myself.  I just threw the pocket mirror from my purse across the room - I didn't hurl it at anyone; I think their protective behavior was just ridiculous.  One of the nurses actually reported that I was behaving hysterically, but it was my pocket mirror that was broken, and no one was hurt so they should have just left me alone. And if Richard comes into this room one more time to pat my hand and ask me if I'm all right, I'm going to just haul off and deck him.  He actually had the gall to suggest that perhaps we should just adopt a child, after the complete hell that I've been through in the past year and a half, why does he feel the need to rub salt in my wounds?  Why doesn't he just come right out and say it: "You're too defective to have a child of your own, Anna; let's just get one that's readymade!" Bastard!  I'm so furious, I just want to make him suffer firsthand - make him suffer as badly as I have all these months.  I want to scratch him and hit him and beat him blue until he understands; he has never gone through the physical horror of losing a precious baby from out of a womb, how could he possibly know how I feel? God, why am I still allowed to live after all of this?  Why can't everyone just leave me the hell alone?

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March 25, 1968

It is a strange sensation of floating that I am experiencing everyday since Dr. Grasnik has maintained that I must be medicated and I should consider seeing Dr. Deever once again, just until I can get over this dreadful morose phase, which I have been suffering through for the past two months.  I loathe taking this drug - my thoughts are as filmy as ghosts and I feel like I am in a constant state of disorientation.  I cannot climb upon a horse in this condition, for I fear I will fall and do further damage to myself; I am suffering from great frustration because riding horses has always been a therapeutic outlet for me and I am a confined prisoner to this damned house all day.  Richard has been making himself scarce the past few weeks, he cannot deal with my black mood anymore and I am sure this last miscarriage will eventually cause the end of our marriage.  Perhaps I should just leave - I am completely useless here.  I cannot tend to the horses or even cook dinner due to the fatigue from the medication and if I don't take the medication, the anxiety is enough to choke and kill. Every night is full of bittersweet dreams about the babies that were lost and what they might have become had they lived. How could I have arrived at this point of desperation?  I was such a joyous woman not long ago, and now my entire life is a den of destruction.  Now, I spend almost every morning sobbing, which does not make me great company, and I am fully aware that the healthiest thing I could do is just abandon this desire to have my own child. Richard has insisted that I be put on birth control before we can continue with our marital relations; he does not want to take the chance that I might become pregnant again.  During the small bits of time that I feel lucid, I have been thinking that perhaps Richard is right, maybe we should adopt - there are so many wonderful children that need loving parents and I think there is still enough love between us to sustain a child.  I just hope there is still enough love between Richard and I; these have been the most trying times of my life.

I am writing this entry from the beach, where I am sitting in the sand with a lovely and peaceful view of the lighthouse.  I just keep staring at that lighthouse, wishing there were some kind of benevolent beacon to help lead me to a peaceful resolution.

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April 3, 1968

The long, scenic ferry rides to the mainland, in order visit the Eola County Psychiatric Hospital once a week, have assisted in relaxing me before I speak to Dr. Scott (Dr. Deever is no longer there); it is interesting to watch as Moesko Island gets smaller and smaller. Michael has been driving me to the ferry the past few times since business has been picking up at the ranch and Richard has been working twice as hard.  Michael is truly a very considerate young man and it has made the ranch a very pleasant place - the guests also think he is wonderful.  He has done very well with the horses, most of them trust him completely, well, of course, except Tahra. She has always been rather skittish and it takes her longer to warm up to an unfamiliar person, but I know she will like him in time.

Originally, I was afraid that these therapy sessions would just drag out these miserable emotions that I have been wading through the last few months, but Dr. Scott has a very agreeable personality and is very gentle during our sessions. He never pressures me to discuss more than I feel comfortable to that day, but he is still able to guide me through the rough spots.  He has also decreased my medication, for which I am forever grateful - those slivers of numbness during the day were overtaking my rational mind.  I feel more in control of my emotions and am beginning to understand that the miscarriages were not my fault and not a reflection upon my abilities as a woman.  I am finally able to recognize that I should not let being a mother affect my sexual identity - I am still a woman with a purpose whether or not I am ever able to have a baby. He has told me that it is perfectly normal to grieve for my children and that keeping my journal is a very healthy outlet for helping me through all of this. Our talks have really given me the emotional strength that I was lacking in for what seems like forever and I am starting to feel like my true self once again.  Richard seems to notice the change in my behavior and has been responding positively.  We talk more and spend quality time together when he can get away from work for awhile.  I was afraid that taking the birth control pills would have adverse affects, but everything seems to be fine for the moment. 

Barbara Stevens called me the other day to see if I might be able to help with the renovation of the Moesko Island Lighthouse, it is one of the oldest landmarks on the island, and I told her I would be delighted, since I am feeling much healthier. I cannot wait to attend the next meeting to see how they intend to restore it. I am so thankful that this period of utter darkness is almost done; I think that things can only get better.

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July 17, 1968

Photographs can be as deceptive as they can be painful.  I had one of my scrapbooks out earlier, glancing through the pictures of the past when I was deliriously happy - pictures of me with the horses, holding my trophy for riding (I had much fun that day); I appeared so carefree at that point.  There is one of Richard standing by one of the fences looking so rugged and masculine, but with eyes so gentle.  I had no idea just how volatile Richard could become until tonight; he has never raised his voice to me - ever.  I've been curled up in this bed by myself in desolation since Richard has gone into one of the guest bedrooms to sleep for tonight after our catastrophic argument.  The guests situated nearby must think we are both insane, but I'm so devastated that I cannot even feel embarrassed by our behavior. How could Richard talk to me like that? How could he accuse me of skipping birth control pills and causing this pregnancy on purpose?  That is not what happened; what Richard does not seem to understand is that no form of contraceptive is protective one-hundred percent of the time. The only complete protection one can have against pregnancy is abstinence, but when he is being stubborn or self-righteous, there is just no explaining anything to that man.  I am so hurt by that thoughtless comment - I would never trick him into getting me pregnant, how dare he say such a thing!  I feel like our entire marriage has been a farce and that I never really knew Richard at all.  I am just as upset about this as he is - I have to worry again that something could happen and he has to conduct himself like a complete ass.  I never could have imagined in a million years that Richard would not be supportive about something so important to me.  He called me "stupid" for not terminating this pregnancy and he also made the remark that if I wanted to keep this baby, I would go through it alone because he couldn't experience anymore heartache than he already had. Richard has never threatened abandonment before tonight - how could he say such a thing to me?  I have stood by him through many unfortunate things, is it really too much to expect some consideration in return? I never thought getting pregnant would be the end of my marriage.

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November 8, 1968

Cervical incompetence: I finally have a name for my affliction. Dr. Grasnik, in her soothing way, bestowed that title upon me this morning before I was discharged from the hospital.  She also said that I should not attempt another pregnancy and should seriously consider a hysterectomy due to much scar tissue or at least have a tubal ligation to ensure that this will not happen again.  She is being adamant in her advice because this miscarriage was a severe one; I have been told that I almost perished several times in the ambulance before I had even arrived at the hospital.  She insisted that, either I have the surgery, or Richard should have a vasectomy - we should not hesitate in our decision. I don't know if I can cope with the knowledge that I will be completely barren if they perform a hysterectomy, not to mention that I will have to take artificial hormones. I don't know what to do, surgery seems so extreme, but I know Richard cannot go through another dramatic event like a week and a half earlier; we both just do not have the strength for these repetitive incidents.  I have found that when Richard is frightened, he is more affectionate and protective of me, which just proves that he does love me, he just has a difficult time expressing his emotions sometimes. I asked Richard point blank yesterday afternoon if he really wanted children and not to give me the answer that I would like to hear; I just wanted him to be honest and he said that he did want children, even if that meant adopting one. Richard explained to me that he did want children, but that he was afraid he wouldn't be able to perform his duties as a father well due to all the work involved on the ranch, but he also did not want me in anymore danger with another pregnancy. In his opinion, adoption was not out of the question since he was sympathetic to the fact that there were many wonderful children in need of loving homes, he just thought that perhaps we should wait a bit longer and that I should continue seeing Dr. Scott.  I am feeling very relieved that he finally opened up to me and I know it will help me during my process of healing.  I have another appointment with Dr. Scott in a few days, but, perhaps I should just get some rest for right now.

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December 20, 1968

I received a phone call from one of my closest friends this morning and I was quite glad that Richard was not around to hear our topic of conversation. Shirley is one of the women who I worked with on the lighthouse restoration, and over time, we found we had much in common.  She has such a refreshing and unconventional view of the world and we have had many candid discussions about my problems with conception and repeated miscarriages.  Bless her dear heart - she really believed that she was doing something helpful by phoning me with this bit of information that she thought I could utilize and I have been unable to think about anything else since then.

I haven't told Richard about the phone call since our relationship has been so pleasant for the past few months. We don't argue much anymore and Richard has been more considerate of my feelings.  I am afraid if I broach this particular subject once more, it will cause a catastrophic fracture in the foundation of our marriage.  I still do not believe that our delicate bond is strong enough to withstand another tumultuous discussion about having children, and to be quite truthful, I had already long abandoned any hope of a healthy pregnancy after the last miscarriage.  I cannot put Richard or I through another set of traumas like we have suffered the past few years, but there is still an obstinate sliver within me that is wondering if it could really be possible to have my own baby someday. Shirley informed me that she had heard through an acquaintance about a fertility clinic somewhere in Europe that has had very successful pregnancies, even in cases where a woman has been told she could never conceive or carry a child full-term.  In fact, this clinic specializes in difficult pregnancies; they use some advanced techniques that have been developed by their doctors and they have had very positive results.  Dare I dream that Richard might agree to such an insane expedition?  I don't even know if he would do it anymore, even for me - he does not want to desert the horses, and of course he does not want me to be risking my life for such foolishness.  I must face the reality: five instances of absolute heartbreak are enough - I just cannot go through all of this once again.  For me to suffer this burden once more might kill me in more ways than just one.

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January 13, 1969

I never noticed how often the skies on this dreary island are dim mists of gray.  How vibrant birds could soar through such thick slabs of granite air, I will never understand.  My soul feels as heavy as that stone sky and I can hardly lift myself out of bed most mornings since Richard stopped speaking to me a few nights ago; he cursed dear Shirley's name and announced that he is tired of my incessant pestering and "my grand delusions of an impossible motherhood" and went to go sleep down the hall.  I am finding less solace with Dr. Scott also; he is becoming just as much the naysayer as Richard is and has mentioned to me that it is possible my overwhelming desire to bear children is crossing over into the realm of obsession. I have been reviewing all my terrible experiences during the last six years and I have come to the conclusion that, even if it meant my certain death, I want to try this just one more time.  How can I make them understand that it is my body and if it means taking chances with my life, I should have the permission to do so?  I have tried everything to convince Richard that this clinic might be exactly what we need in order for this next pregnancy to be successful; they have years of experience and everyone knows that Europe has always been prolific in medical advancements.  Why won't he just give it one chance, even if it's only for my benefit?  I am reaching a level of desperation that I would have never thought possible - I just need to make Richard understand somehow.

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February 3, 1969

The suitcases have all been packed and I've been going over my list repeatedly since about five o'clock this morning to make certain that we are not forgetting to take care of anything; traveling has always made me rush around frantic with stress. We have closed the ranch for an indefinite period of time, but Michael is going to stay to take care of the horses and we have compensated him accordingly; such a wonderful young man - we have been blessed to have him in our lives. 

Richard finally broke his hesitation toward this European trip about two weeks ago. He said he could not stand this abyss between us for another moment, and even though he thought I made this decision against my better judgment, he loves me with all of his heart and he will go through this procedure with me if it makes me truly happy. However, he was still very frightened something could go fatally wrong and had insisted on doing some research about this fertility clinic. I showed him plenty of the brochures with very impressive statistics on their success rates that I had obtained, but it appears that the clinic's work is very clandestine since they did not discuss much about the treatments I would be receiving or what to expect during my stay there.

I cannot begin to describe this whirlwind of emotions that I am experiencing in anticipation of this trip.  I have mountains of fear and anxiety mixed with happiness and excitement; Richard keeps telling me not to get my hopes up, but I cannot help it.  I am aware that he is concerned for me, mostly, but I really believe this will be successful.  I have never been to Europe before, so that will be another interesting part of this trip.  I'm bringing my camera so I can take some pictures of some of the sights. Can you believe, dear journal, that my next entry will be made from overseas?  I am crossing my fingers and I hope everyone says a prayer for me - please let this be a worthwhile visit.

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February 25, 1969

Oh, this place is just lovely! What a quaint and peaceful atmosphere!  My favorite spot on the grounds is the lush and fertile garden, where they have placed stone benches so one may relax and take in its tranquility.  Everyone that I have met so far has been so kind and helpful - the nurses dote on you all day long. On the day we arrived, I didn't get to see much of the area since we had mounds of paperwork to fill out in the office, the typical "legal" things. Richard read most of the documents and I just signed where they had placed the "x". I have to admit how surprised I was at how much this institution seems more like a home than a hospital - I expected everything to be clinical, sterile and white, but it makes you feel so comfortable.  Our room has bright and cheerful yellow walls and a huge window with a view of the garden. Richard mentioned to me yesterday what a glow I have about me since we've come here.  He hasn't seen me this joyful in a long time and he'd almost forgotten how wonderful my smile of sincerity looked. 

I spent most of this morning having tests done upon me; I feel as if I've been pricked and poked with a million needles. They took vials upon vials of my blood and asked me to drink a thick concoction of what was probably barium in order to take some x-rays.  We met the doctor, Dr. Mundue - he is a shorter man with the bluest eyes, in fact, his eyes are the first feature you notice upon meeting him. He assuaged our fears about the whole procedure and he explained some of the mechanics of artificial insemination. Sperm would be taken from Richard and inserted with a long thin tube through my cervix and into my womb where the egg should become fertilized and implant itself to my uterus.  He mentioned that they will be monitoring me very carefully, and things might seem a bit different from my previous pregnancies, but I should not worry since everything will be under control.  Each morning will start with me eating a healthy breakfast with the addition of a nutrient shake, Dr. Mundue explained, and that I will be receiving hormone injections in the later morning hours.  The rest of the day is to be spent however we wish, but I should be sure to take plenty of time to rest during the day.  I'm so thankful that our doctor has such a pleasant nature - it has definitely made me feel much more relaxed and expectant that everything should go well.

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March 6, 1969

The walls and ceiling of the operation room were mint green and they brought to my mind thoughts of malted candies that I despised as a child.  I attempted to keep my attention elsewhere while my insides were prodded and poked with the long plastic instrument used to deliver Richard's sperm to my womb. I probably shouldn't write this down, due to Richard's great embarrassment, but the expression on his face when the nurses handed him that plastic container to collect his sperm, was so comical that I almost burst out giggling like a young schoolgirl.  I think he was mortified that the nurses were aware what he had to "perform" in order to obtain the sample. I tried to explain that these women were professionals and were by no means judging him or anything like that.  I am sure they have dealt with many clients doing the same thing on a daily basis, but Richard is ever the prudish and private one - I suppose I can understand that.  Dr. Mundue told us that we would not know if fertilization had occurred for a few days, but blood tests would give us an answer at that time.  If there wasn't an embryo implanted in my uterus, we would have to try this entire procedure again in a month's time.  I was given some sort of muscle relaxants beforehand to keep me tranquil and to minimize any pain that I might experience.  Richard held my hand through the worst of it, whispering words of love and encouragement.  I'm not exactly sure why we must go through artificial means in order to gain fertilization - I tried to ask Dr. Mundue, but he gave an indecipherable medical explanation and left it at that.  I slept much of the afternoon and I must take things very easy the next few days so as not to disturb everything that was done.  I really hope that this process has been successful and I will be pregnant in a few days!

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March 10, 1969

We received the news this morning that I am not pregnant after the insemination, and of course I am a little disappointed, but one of the girls, her name is Cynthia, told us that she has seen many unsuccessful first attempts and that we should not be discouraged.  She is a sweet girl; she visits me often between her duties and has only worked here two months, but she has a very kind and agreeable temperament.  Poor dear, she has a lot of troubles in her home life - her mother is a rampant alcoholic and her father is a very strict authoritarian. I could tell by her anxious mannerisms and shy demeanor that something might be bothering her.  I listen very well and she must have picked up on my concern for her well-being.  Cynthia is not really a nurse, she is what we would consider a "candy striper" in the States; she is barely seventeen and has said on many occasions that she cannot wait until she is able to move out of her parents' home upon her eighteenth birthday.  She is such a compassionate and intelligent young lady - she wants to go to college eventually and become a journalist.  She likes her job here at the hospital very much, although a few of the older nurses pick on her somewhat since she's new and the youngest member of the staff.  However, she always makes time to see me each day and I look forward to our time together.

Richard, on the other hand, is such a remarkable trouper; he has suffered from massive amounts of "cabin fever", but, thankfully, there is a small farm down the road from the clinic and the people there have welcomed his expertise whenever he comes by.  Dr. Mundue has insisted that I maintain my eating habits, but has increased the number of vitamin pills that I take everyday.  I told him that I have been feeling a little nauseated shortly after taking them, but he has informed me that I should be sure to eat a little more in advance since I shouldn't take these tablets on an empty stomach.  I am feeling somewhat worn out after today, I cried some this morning when I found out I was not pregnant yet, but I still cling to that hope like a drowning person clings to a life raft.  I truly want to believe that this trip was not just another waste of time and money.

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April 7, 1969

There is a huge, black raven perched curiously in the tree directly outside my window and I have been surveying him for awhile now, waiting for these sick sensations to pass.  I have been vomiting forcefully since I awoke after the second insemination. Dr. Mundue did a slightly different technique this time around; he kept me on an intravenous drip through the entire procedure.  I tried to ask him what fluid it contained, but I was so groggy, I could hardly lift my head from the table.  He smiled at me and patted my arm, explaining that my dazed and sluggish feelings were common and I should not be concerned.  I hardly remember Richard being there - I can recall pressure on my left hand for most of the time, which I am quite sure was from Richard.  He would never leave me alone for something so important and disconcerting. 

Cynthia brought me a pot of peppermint tea to help with my nausea since, by doctor's orders, I am not allowed to take any other medications besides the injections they give me.  She is such a thoughtful girl; I asked her to stay awhile, but she insisted that I try to get as much rest as I can.  Richard came in just a few minutes ago from being out awhile and told me that he had called Michael to see how things were going on the ranch and Michael said that everything is fine, which made me feel a little homesick - I miss the horses.

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April 13, 1969

I was dreaming of our horses and was riding without a saddle upon Chestnut's back, along the seashore with the furious wind blowing through my hair; I felt liberated and limitless for the first time in forever.  It was so real that I could smell the fragrant salt air and feel the heat of exertion coming up from the horse beneath me when Richard woke me up gently to tell me that Dr. Mundue had received the results of the last insemination.  He let me know that I am still without child and he pulled me to him, rocking me softly in his arms as I sobbed from complete frustration.  I have gone through such pain and discomfort all this time and it has all been for naught.  I cannot keep having my expectations dashed in this manner; it is putting me in a very bad place mentally. I really wish that I could talk to Dr. Scott; he would help put things into perspective for me, but I just can't believe this second procedure didn't work. Richard mentioned to me that perhaps we should just leave here and go home, that us having our own child is just not meant to be, but I can't give up yet!  I did not go through all of this to just surrender when things get a little rough, however I need Richard's full support if I am going to survive everything that this endeavor has required thus far.  It will be so hard to keep going if Richard's heart is not in this; I cannot do this alone.

The raven has returned again; I can hear him squawking in that inhuman shriek and now he has taken to pecking at the window to gain attention, as if the screeching wasn't enough of a siren.  I can see him preening his shiny, onyx feathers but he keeps peeking over at me, hitting the glass repeatedly, attempting to drive me mad from the noise.  I wish he would just leave me alone with my dismal thoughts for the time being.

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May 6, 1969

Richard is growing more irritated with me in his insistence that we go home.  I am exhausted and don't want to fight with him anymore; we had the third insemination this morning and I have been weak and in a cold sweat since they wheeled me back to my room.  Why does he have to pick this precise second to have an argument?  In my feeble state, I made an agreement with him: if this last procedure is not fruitful, then we will finally go home.  That seems to have satisfied him for awhile and he is growing more attentive towards my queasy physical condition.  I don't even remember much about this last operation except a vague memory of Cynthia patting my damp forehead with a cold cloth and smiling at me with reassurance.  Was Richard there?  I cannot recollect him being there with me.  Is he that spiteful that he would leave me to suffer alone through this last procedure?  No, I cannot be sure that he wasn't there, so I can't run around accusing him of anything.  I could ask Cynthia, but it isn't fair to involve her in our business.  I shouldn't even bother having these thoughts right now; I feel so miserable that it is taking all of my energy to lie here ruminating over such unimportant issues.  It seems that each insemination has caused me to feel worse and worse, but Dr. Mundue says this is normal and I should not worry.  Cynthia has brought me more tea but had a strange look upon her face during our visit; it seemed as if she wanted to tell me something urgently, but was unable to do so.  To tell the truth, I cannot be sure of anything that has happened in the last few hours, I keep drifting in and out of a fitful sleep.  Richard just left to go visit the farm once again; I told him to go, it would be good for me to be by myself for awhile.  I checked the window for my little raven companion, but he has not been there for a few days now.  As annoyed as I was with him tapping at my window, I actually feel concerned for his welfare and I hope he comes back, if only once to let me know he is all right.

I am so depressed - I thought all those months after the miscarriages were terrible, but it is getting worse - I suppose I am just not meant to give birth.  I wish I knew if my mother had such a hard time conceiving, I am aware that I was her only child; could she have had a similar medical condition with cervical dysfunction? I suppose I'll never know the answer to that question - even my father's side of the family does not know much about my mother's health.  She died of breast cancer when I was seven; that is all the medical information that I have about my mother or her side of the family. I can remember once, when I was around five, I was running through a field, holding daisies that I had picked for my mother when I tripped over a rock that was protruding from the ground.  I cut open my leg, (in fact, I still have the two-inch scar below my knee) and hobbled home to my mother, who saw the blood trickling down my calf and quickly picked me up, whispering soothingly and hugging me tight, telling me all would be just fine.  How I wish she was here now to tell me everything will work out fine.  I miss my mother's comfort more than anything in the world.

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May 10, 1969

I can hardly believe that it's true, my hand is shaking as I write this - the implantation was successful!  Dr. Mundue came in this morning with a huge grin on his face and he actually gave me a hug, he was so excited!  I am trying very hard not to become too thrilled with this wonderful news - I have known the pain of loss far too much these past few years.  However, I am so glad that they are watching me so carefully through this. They check on me every day - I'm still receiving injections, Dr. Mundue has explained that these injections will continue throughout the pregnancy; they mostly consist of super vitamins and other things to keep my hormone levels where they should be.  I am still drinking the shakes every morning and the doctor has instructed me to eat more food every day since I am now eating for two - I should gain about twenty pounds slowly over the next eight months.  This will mean that the baby will be gaining its weight properly.  I just realized, I should stop referring to this miracle inside me as a "baby"; that will just cause me to hurt more if anything terrible should happen to this one, too. 

Richard seemed enthusiastic about the pregnancy, but did I detect a different sentiment in his eyes?  Good grief, I am so paranoid these days!  I must have been driving him crazy with my erratic behavior these past few weeks.  I know that he really wanted to go home, but now I have to stay here so they can monitor everything correctly.  I am a nervous wreck about this pregnancy and Dr. Mundue explained that I need to do some relaxing techniques, such as controlled breathing, during the day when I am feeling particularly anxious.  Stress is not good for the baby and I already have enough odds against me here.  I cannot believe that this might really be the child I've wanted so desperately!

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July 30, 1969

I awoke with a strong craving for a cup of coffee this morning, but Dr. Mundue will not allow me to drink anything with caffeine since it could interfere with the intricate techniques that have been performed thus far.  I am growing very sore from these repeated shots every day; I cannot find one section of my hip or thigh that does not ache and sting from tiny puncture marks.  Richard hobbled in miserably before lunch with his foot bandaged - he had fallen off one of the horses on the farm and sprained his ankle, so he has been grousing all afternoon.  Thankfully, Cynthia dropped by for awhile to play some card games after my nap today but she seemed unusually quiet.  I am afraid that something serious might have happened at home and I did not want to pry into her personal affairs if she wasn't comfortable sharing them with me.  I hope everything turns out all right with her, she is such a gentle and sweet girl.

My raven returned yesterday, chattering on frenetically, telling me all about his adventures high and low, then he picked at his feathers for awhile.  I am in much better spirits now, though still a little anxious, but everything has just come together so well.  I am feeling more at peace and I am aware that no matter what circumstances may come, I'll be all right.  I have found a renewed inner-strength and I have this overwhelming sensation of fortitude. Only the future will tell if I will need to rely on this new found strength; there are less than seven months left to go and I am counting down.

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August 8, 1969

I have not been able to stop shuddering violently since I woke up, having leapt out of my bed at a dead run, blinded with fear until I felt warm and comforting arms grab hold of me and restrain me from going any farther.  It was Richard holding me and whispering soothing words.  Oh, God. . .the dream I had; no, it wasn't a dream.  Dreams consist of fluffy bunnies and cerulean skies and happy things - this was a dreadful nightmare straight from the depths of utter darkness. 

There were millions and millions of needles - sharp, glinting bits silver stabbing every inch of me and I was in agony.  I managed to get away from them and found myself in a dark room with what looked like a dilapidated baby crib in the corner.  I could barely see through the shadows, but I could hear an infant crying from across the macabre nursery.  I stumbled to the small crib, picked up the tiny bundle and turned it over carefully while murmuring softly to it, when I realized, with great horror, that it was not a baby. It was a ghastly, old porcelain doll with cracked features and smudges of brown dirt and dried blood.  I began to scream and dropped the horrid thing from pure shock; I tried to escape from the room, but my feet were frozen in place.  Everything around me melted away and I was in a cemetery with miles and miles of marble tombstones covered by an overcast sky.  There was booming thunder, the sky grew even darker and it was raining torrents of crimson water; I found I could finally move my legs and I ran and ran before I found myself shaking in Richard's arms.  I am still shivering and I cannot imagine what could have caused such horrible visions. The nurse on duty ran to get Dr. Mundue immediately and he came in right away.  He and the nurse had to pry me from out of Richard's grasp; Dr. Mundue kept telling me over and over that it had just been a dream and everything was all right now.  I noticed an odd glance between him and the nurse, but he quickly smiled that beaming smile and spent some time with me, listening attentively to the details of the nightmare. He explained that he could not prescribe any medications for my nerves due to the baby, but I should practice my controlled breathing, which should help me a great deal.  Cynthia came into the room and he asked her to bring me some tea to help me relax.  I looked over at Richard and was guilty at what I saw in his face; I could tell I had scared him terribly.  He came over to me on the bed and kept one hand rubbing my back while the other arm was draped across my shoulders.  Dr. Mundue said I should not do anything strenuous today and just try to keep my mind on pleasant things; that is by far easier said than done.

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September 14, 1969

Dr. Mundue told me that the baby has a very healthy heartbeat after he listened through the stethoscope this morning.  He was unable to tell me if it is a girl or a boy, but he did mention that he is very pleased with my progress at this point.  I told him that I am still having strange dreams, but he does not seem to be very concerned about them - he said that all the hormones running rampantly through my body can cause such things.  I have been spending my time thinking of different names for the baby and I have decided it shall be "Stephen Charles" if it is a boy, but I am still wondering about a girl's name. This indecision sparked an unanticipated argument with Richard this afternoon; he told me that I was foolish to be deciding on a name for this child right now since it is too early to tell if it will survive the pregnancy.  He said that I was "asking for my heart to be broken" by giving it a name so soon.  Well, so be it - I have no idea what has made him so miserable the past few days.  He has been so irritable and easily annoyed; perhaps he is just growing tired of being cooped up in this room with me.  Richard needs to go back to the farm for a visit, and at this precise moment, I would like to tell him where else he can go, but I am holding my tongue to prevent another argument.

Dear Cynthia had a terrible day. While she was spending a few minutes with me this afternoon, Dr. Mundue snapped at her for hovering around the patients and neglecting her duties; I thought the poor girl was going to burst into tears right in front of me.  To be completely honest, I was surprised by his tone - he has always been kind and patient with me and she was not ignoring her job, she had just stopped by to say "hello."  I am concerned about her welfare because she has enough problems at home without having this stress at work. I wish she could come back to speak to me later so I could give her a little bit of comfort. I am sure she does not receive any consolation at home.

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October 8, 1969

I spent most of the morning in bed completely exhausted from a tumultuous night; the nightmares are getting worse.   I wish Cynthia would come by so that I would know that she is all right.  I have not seen her for a few days, and after the awful dream I had last night, seeing her friendly face would help relieve my terrible unease. 

In the dream, I had found a large wooden box and had started to open it when scores and scores of black widow spiders crawled out, their menacing black and corpulent bodies climbing up my hands and arms.  I threw the box down and brushed myself off frantically, shrieking in fear and dashing away from them.  The atmosphere around me disappeared and I found myself in a white room where a small young girl was being beaten violently with a brush from the hand of some unknown person.  I could not see his face because his back was to me, but I was so angered by what he was doing, I yelled out for him to stop immediately.  He turned to me and I saw, to my horror, that he had no face, just mounds of skin with no features and I backed away in terror.  The marbled floor went out beneath me and I was falling through empty, ebony space until I landed in an unfamiliar graveyard.  Cynthia was there, lying on the ground in a white dress, and this was the most unspeakable part of the nightmare: she was covered in dirt and I just knew she was dead.  It was so horrible to view her prone body with withered flowers clutched within her fair fingers that I started sobbing and refused to believe it was true.  Her bruised eyes opened slowly and fixated on me before she sat up; maggots fell from her mouth as she started to speak to me.  I recoiled from her, but listened as she said I should beware of the evil within this place and should leave as soon as I could.  She knew things - appalling things - that were going on at this hospital and had not been allowed to tell me, but worst of all, she said that there was something wrong with the baby.  I leapt out of the way as she propelled a broken baby carriage toward me and watched as it smashed to bits against one of the tombstones.  Richard woke me then, saying that I had been crying in my sleep and he held me for awhile, rocking me and telling me it wasn't true.  I asked him to run and find Cynthia; it was of the utmost importance that I speak to her straight away, but he could not find her anywhere on the floor.  I had calmed down by the time he returned, realizing how ridiculous it was for me to get this distraught about a nightmare.  The fact that I had eaten a large meal before going to sleep last night, combined with all the hormones in my body, was enough of an explanation as to why I am having such terrible visions.  I spent much of the afternoon gathering my thoughts together, staring out of my window - I have not seen my raven companion for a few days, either.  

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October 15, 1969

After my daily round of injections, Dr. Mundue told me that it is very important I not exert myself under any circumstances.  He has diagnosed me with toxemia (high blood pressure caused by pregnancy) and he explained that this problem is not necessarily permanent; it could get better after the baby is born.  He does not want to give me any medication due to possible complications with the pregnancy, so he has instructed a nurse to take my blood pressure twice a day, and if it is elevated, I must rest immediately. Richard asked Dr. Mundue a million questions about my condition; he has become very worried about me, especially because of the nightmares, but I have found this has brought us closer.  Richard has always been very strange that way; he drifts between overbearing concern and distant apathy. I'll never understand the odd nature of that man.

I also received sad news this morning; I have been told that Cynthia is no longer working at the hospital.  I was surprised that she should depart so suddenly without even telling me goodbye. I suppose I thought we were closer than we really had been.  I wanted to tell her that we have decided on a name if the baby turns out to be a girl.  We have chosen the lovely name, "Samara". 

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November 8, 1969

I was standing at the top of the Moesko Island lighthouse, gazing out across the aggressive ocean to the shoreline, where there were masses of decaying animals - cows, seagulls, dogs and cats and other things - surrounded by ravenous vultures. I tried so hard to look away for fear that I might recognize some of the creatures as my own when the lighthouse began to fill rapidly with burgundy water.  I recognized, by the strong smell of iron, that the water was red because it was filled with blood and suddenly it had risen to my throat, choking me and filling my nostrils with that acrid scent.  I struggled for breath and felt the tide ascend to above my head when I opened my eyes and found myself tangled within my sheets.  Richard has taken to sleeping on the sofa in our room due to the many nights I have pummeled him inadvertently with my flailing arms during one of my dreams.  I don't know how I am going to survive the next three and a half months until I have this child.

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November 24, 1969

I have had dizziness almost daily and I have to spend much of the day in bed, which is incredibly frustrating.  Dr. Mundue has been visiting me every day and has said that, even though I may feel terrible physically, everything is going along well and the baby's heartbeat is still very strong.  I asked him why the baby has not moved; I have never felt a kick or even a flutter.  He said that not all babies are active in the womb and I should be glad that my insides aren't being knocked around since one of his most common complaints from his patients is that the baby is being too lively in there.  I am trying to enjoy this pregnancy, especially since it has lasted longer than any of the others, but I am so uncomfortable from all the weight gain.  One of the benefits, however, is that Richard has been doting on me incessantly.  He brings me a lot of my favorite foods and rubs my aching legs and ankles at night; I am amazed what a transformation there has been in his behavior towards me and the baby.  He has been telling me he wants the baby to be healthy first, but if he had a choice, he would like to have a little girl.  We have had many long talks about what this child will be like or which one of us it will look like the most.  I hope if it is a girl, that she has long brown hair like mine. I imagine spending hours brushing through it and putting her hair in cute little braids or pony tails.  I have some memories of spending time like that with my mother, which brings me to mention something that I have been dwelling upon lately.  My mother died of breast cancer when I was so young - I could not bear that happening to our child, growing up without me there to guide them and enjoy every moment as he or she gets older.  I am so scared of dying young, and that is a secret that I have not even shared with Richard.  Please just let me live long enough to see my child grow up into a wonderful young man or woman. 

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November 28, 1969

Dr. Mundue has been reassuring Richard and I all morning that this happens sometimes during pregnancy, but I have never heard of such a thing and I am so frightened something might be really wrong. I had climbed into the shower with the help of one of the nurses when I had a strange sensation in the back of my throat like an obstruction rising upward.  I started coughing and choking as I watched this long, intestine-like rope coming out of my mouth and falling onto the floor of the bathroom.  It just kept emerging as if it was a million miles long and when it was over, I collapsed screaming and crying into the bathtub - it took three nurses to restrain me and wheel me back to my room.  I could not stop shivering and shrieking as Richard demanded to speak to the doctor right away. Dr. Mundue rushed in trying to calm me down while simultaneously giving us an explanation, but Richard was not having any of that.  He wanted to know what that thing was and why did it come out of me in such a manner?  In my gasping and horrified state, I caught bits and pieces of some clinical justification, but I didn't understand completely.  I was just too terrified, and I have to be honest, I want out of this place. I am beginning to loathe it here, the atmosphere is crawling with something indecipherably malevolent; I cannot elaborate on that, I just know that I want to get out of here soon.

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December 8, 1969

Richard called Michael in a panic this afternoon after my intense urging, only to find out that everything at the ranch was perfectly all right.  I felt like a complete fool having upset him so after telling him about the nightmare from the previous night; I should not allow these intangible visions rule my behavior - they are just bad dreams, nothing more.  It was because of the horses that I was alarmed - I saw Norris, my poor beloved darling, oh, God. . . he was just skeletal, lying there in his stall.  I could not tell if he was dead, but there were flies all around him and I was crying my heart out.  A gigantic centipede crawled out from a mirror, but I'm not sure where I was then.  I watched as a lofty man in an ominous, black cloak tied a noose to a lifeless tree during a lightning storm, but he was standing upon piles and piles of human skulls. Those hideous things with maniacal grins, staring back at me became one rotted visage with deranged eyes peeking out behind parted black hair.  I cannot stand much more - there are only two months left to go, but I fear my nerves are fraying more and more each day.  I have become terrified of falling asleep. I don't think I'm going to make it. 

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January 3, 1970

I have not had a chance to write for awhile, everything at the clinic happened in such a whirlwind, there wasn't any time to do so.  Richard and I arrived in King County safely and have been staying with Richard's cousin and his family.  The fertility clinic was closed suddenly and is currently under investigation for "indecent and improper medical practices" - whatever that means, but I cannot tell you how much those words cause my soul to tremble.  I have strived to forget that dream about Cynthia, but there are times I ponder what she told me.  What terrible things could they have done to the baby within my womb?  Richard's family does not know that we were in Europe all this time, and I would prefer to keep it a secret.  I just want to put the last few months behind me and concentrate on delivering a healthy and normal baby.  I want us to go back home to our wonderful horses and prosperous ranch.

I am emotionally exhausted after all this time, but I have found the nightmares are diminishing since I have left the clinic, which has led to me sleeping much better.  Richard seems happier now that he is around familiar people, but he is still concerned for me - I have my blood pressure monitored every day since Dana, the wife of Richard's cousin, is a retired nurse and keeps after me.  The baby still has not moved within me, but my health has improved greatly, even the hypertension seems to have declined.  I cannot believe there is only a month left until I meet this little person inside me.  It was quite difficult trying to get an obstetrician since I am in such a late stage of pregnancy, but Dana worked in a gynecologist's office and took me to see her former employer.  I am thankful that he is a kindly, older gentleman who has been a doctor for over forty years.  Dr. Kendrick has made me very comfortable, but I am still unable to open up to him completely about all these months of my pregnancy.  He is not aware of the injections and all of the procedures performed at the clinic, and I know that can be a hindrance to my proper care, but I just do not want to relive all of that anguish once again.  Dana talks to me a lot about her birth experiences - she has three children - and she told me that it was normal to feel anxious about going into labor. She also admitted to me, honestly, that there had been quite a lot of pain with her first son, but in all her years of working in an OB/GYN office, she had learned that all women are different and it was impossible to predict how each delivery would be.  I am glad to know she will be there for this birth - she gives me a great feeling of security.

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February 15, 1970

I am so thrilled to announce that I am the proud mother of a beautiful little girl:  Samara Morgan was born at 6:15 in the morning on February 8. One of the nurses that had been in the delivery room, commented to me what a lovely daughter I had and how unusual it was that Samara did not cry - she said I was quite the lucky woman that she was so quiet and I must agree. It has taken me a week to recover enough strength to focus and write in this journal, and I am fortunate to be alive after the entire ordeal in the delivery room.  I remember that the labor pains were terrible and they gave me something to help me relax, after that, I was in and out of consciousness.  Richard told me that I had hemorrhaged severely on the operating table after Samara emerged and it took emergency surgery to save my life.  I woke up in the recovery room to a little, swathed bundle in Richard's arms, and although I was very drugged, I do believe there were tears in his eyes while he examined our little girl.  My God, Richard is a father and I am a mother; after this long, difficult journey that we have traveled, the whole idea is just incredible.  I have responsibility over a tiny little being that is my child.  I have been thanking God, the moon, the stars, the universe for this wonderful gift - I am truly the most blessed woman in the world.