Surrogate mother Mary Beth Whitehead-Gould, testifying in a hearing to determine her visitation rights with Baby M, Tuesday described a loving relationship with her daughter and denied any hatred for natural father William Stern.

"I know she loves me," Whitehead-Gould said in a soft, calm voice as she testified in Superior Court. "There's something special there."Stern, who won custody of the daughter he calls Melissa in a state Supreme Court rul ing issued last month, had argued during the opening of the custody hearing Monday that Whitehead-Gould should be given no visitation rights for the immediate future.

Whitehead-Gould rejected Stern's assertions that she hates him and his wife, Eliza beth, and suggested both parties seek counseling.

"I feel sorry for them," Whitehead-Gould said of the Sterns. "I feel that they just can't let go. I think counseling would help us all. I don't feel any hate for them. My children don't feel any hate for them."

Stern was tense, angry and sometimes close to tears as he testified Monday. He asked that Whitehead-Gould be barred from visiting the toddler, who turned 2 on Sunday, until she is old enough to under stand who her mother is and to want to see her.

The visitation hearing is the final chapter in an unprecedented legal dispute over Whitehead-Gould's right to change her mind and reclaim the daughter she had agreed to bear for a childless couple.