Tuesday, 3 February 12:00 AM
Still happy! Everyone is talking and laughing and joking. I decide to tell my mother that I want to name the baby Leta after her sister who died in infancy. My mother cries a half set of tears. A full set of tears would be unprofessional. It feels good to finally reveal the name. It also feels good to not feel any contractions.

I love you, epidural!

Tuesday, 1:00 AM
I'm dilated to a nine and I feel no pain. At this point we have seen the replay of Janet Jackson's nipple over 400 times. We need more nipple.

Tuesday, 2:30 AM
I'm dilated to a ten and it's time to start pushing. I don't feel like pushing but they assure me that it's time.

Jon stands on my right side, his sister stands on my left side. They hold my knees to my chest and the nurse tells me to take a deep breath and push.



"Push where?"

"Just push."

"How do I push?"

Tuesday, 2:35 AM
I think I'm pushing. I don't know if I'm pushing. It doesn't feel like pushing. It just feels like I'm holding my breath. Jon's sister and the nurse exchange a silent glance that says This is going to take a while. I want to tell them that there is no way that this "pushing" thing is going to get this baby here. This pushing thing is stupid. There has to be a better way.

Tuesday, 3:00 AM
Still pushing. I'm pushing in three 30 second bursts every two minutes. Pushing is more tiring than any of the workouts I did during pregnancy. Pushing is hard. I look into Jon's eyes each time I push and notice that he is unconsciously pushing with me. He is beginning to get light headed.

Tuesday, 3:15 AM
Jon almost passes out from pushing so hard. I warn him, "IF YOU WANT TO LIVE TO SEE TOMORROW, DON'T YOU DARE PASS OUT."

Tuesday, 3:20 AM
Still pushing. My mom and my sister shriek simultaneously. They can see the baby's head. Apparently the baby has hair! The nurse asks me if I want the overhead mirror to see what is going on. FUCK NO, I DON'T WANT TO SEE WHAT IS GOING ON. ARE YOU CRAZY?

Tuesday, 3:30 AM
My doctor arrives and he is very groggy. He wasn't expecting my labor to go so quickly. He stands at the end of the hospital bed to assess my progress and I can see the reflection of the carnage of my vagina in his glasses. HORROR!

Tuesday, 3:40 AM
I want to ask my doctor to take off his glasses so that I don't have to be confronted with my own reflection, but at this point the baby's head is crowning and I can feel my body stretching around her skull. Why can I feel this? This feeling is WEIRD.

Tuesday, 3:45 AM

Tuesday, 3:50 AM
The doctor says something to the nurse at this point, something about how he thought he wasn't going to have to, but now he is gonna, and he reaches for something, and Jon whips his head around to look at me, and then I feel a snip and a release of pressure. Thank God I didn't agree to the overhead mirror.

Tuesday, 3:55 AM
The doctor makes a second snip. I feel everything. The burning has subsided, but I can still feel the contour of the baby's head. I cannot describe this feeling as anything but weird. My mom and my sister are literally jumping up and down at this point, both are mumbling nonsense about SO MUCH HAIR.

Tuesday, 3:58 AM
I feel the baby's head exit my vagina, and then I feel her shoulders. OH MY GOD THIS IS WEIRD. She is twisting as she is coming out and I can feel everything. I feel her arms. Then her belly. Then her legs.

Tuesday, 3:59 AM
My mother the Avon World Sales Leader is officially screaming at this point. My sister is crying. Jon is more lovely than I have ever seen him in my life. The doctor drops this thing on my stomach, and HOLY SHIT! IT'S A BABY! I honestly didn't know what he was going to pull out of me, perhaps an abandoned tire iron, or maybe a bag of potatoes? I feel so much relief that it's human.

Tuesday, 4:00 AM
Jon cuts the cord. The baby is whimpering. She is rather quiet. They wipe her down and place her immediately on my chest. Her right arm is stretched out toward me. We look at each other directly. Jon leans down, places his left hand on my head, his right hand on the baby's back. This is the most defining moment of my life.

We've made a family.

How have you made a family?