I was in the operating room that April 6, 1994, when my baby cried for the first time and a nurse carried her from the bloody body of my wife, Melinda, to a pan.
I first got a good look at my daughter in that pan, tiny, naked, streaked with greenish-gray meconium (fetal feces). She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, and have ever seen. From the instant I first studied her little face I loved her, loved her in a way that differed from all other loves. Other loves are learned over time and a period of acquaintance, and require reciprocal exchange of benefits. But I loved Martha Corey-Ochoa—as we had decided to call her when we learned, a few months back, that she was a girl—from the moment I saw her, a strong and profound love that required her to give me nothing, that was unconditional, and that I could sense would never end. Even now that she is dead, my love for her has not ended still, and I doubt it ever will.