My Love. My Baby. My Heart. All the clichés are true: when you were born, I recognized you. Knowing you, immediately, viscerally, was a surprise. I was so distracted throughout your birth that it was like it was something that was happening to me rather than I something I doing. It was like I was in the other room, waiting for you, and you were placed in my arms, wrapped and clean and warm and you. Not like it was: an intense mess where I thought I might die, and you too, but all I could think about was your father’s eyes filling with tears while things were done to me. You know, baby, that he grew up a place where babies die. Women die. Women die having babies. His mother did, when he was younger than you are now. And so, Baby, you were born only forty minutes after we arrived at the hospital and in those forty minutes your father watched me with tears in his eyes and was sure he was watching my last minutes. All I could think to do was look in his eyes and tell him it was okay. Out loud, and silently, and continually. I held his hand and looked in his eyes while a long needle dug through my skin and into my spine. When I was lying down, with a short curtain strung across my belly, separating what I could feel from what I couldn’t, I turned my head to look in his eyes. When I heard a baby crying, far away, and realized it was you, cut free of me, I told him to go to you. He did. He has been with you ever since.