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"I was given an ultrasound," she began. "It was the only ultrasound of my entire pregnancy. We had no insurance and I had not even seen a doctor prior to delivery. I saw the way the technicians looked at the ultrasound, and I knew something was wrong, but they would not say a word, and I left the clinic with no one ever explaining what they saw. I remember feeling scared and uneasy, but tried not to worry. Months later, when I went into the hospital to deliver the baby, they took me to the operation room to perform a C-section. I was without your father, and it seemed as though they put me to sleep with anesthesia almost immediately. All I remember was waking up in a fog—and with no new baby. Your father said that our little girl was born with no legs. I never saw my baby. I never held her, never touched her, never even smelled her. I desperately wanted to, but your father told me we had to give her up and that was that. We never looked back because it was too painful. You know your father—once a decision is made, that's the end of it.
"He never asked me how I felt after all of that happened. It was such a horrible time in my life. After I came back from the hospital I cried for a very long time in the emptiness of the streets. No one even noticed my sadness."
It seems crazy and tragic that this could happen in the United States in the 1980s, but in my family's universe, it made sense. My father controlled my mother; every meaningful decision was made by him alone. She had no friends or family in this country and spoke limited English. My mother depended entirely on him, and that's how he liked it.
My mother spent twenty years hiding the pain and agony of this secret, but on December 10, 2007, it finally came out.
Tormented, betrayed, and still in shock, I knew I had to contact Jennifer.