Nothing chokes all the blood from your spirit like a little baby, your little baby, your one and only newborn daughter, crying her eyes out - tears pooling in her eyes and dripping down her little, chubby cheeks. Her eyes shimmering in the fluorescent lighting of the hospital lab - lucidly staring into yours as if begging for help. As she bawls, her outstretched hand shakes and her body stiffens. As the phlebotomist feels around for a vein through the baby fat in her bound arm, she assures you that your progeny is only crying because she's being held still; not because the procedure causes her physical pain. We all know needles hurt but the "big comforting lie" actually relieves. The wails penetrate every cell of your being. You hurt - ache - sear for her. You'd take pain a thousand times over to spare her this moment. You tell her everything is fine and remind her that she is a fearless, tough and wondrous girl even though she cannot understand a word you say.

Then it ends. And life continues. She'll never remember it. I will forever.