It is the story of my birth, as told to me by my father.
Old Doc Sullivan didn't perform episiotomies. "If God had wanted a woman to have an extra slit down there he would have given her one," he explained to my father as Daddy stood awkwardly by, watching the painful labor. So, when my big head had stretched my teen-aged mother's vagina as far as it would go without help, Doc Sullivan inserted his gloved finger gently between my head and my mother's taut skin and slowly and carefully moved his finger around and around the perimeter, stretching the skin gradually as my exhausted mother pushed and heaved. Pop! The head was out, shoulders and torso followed easily.
My father gasped. "Oh my God, what's wrong with the baby's face?"
"Hold your horses, Ken, and let me take a look." The doctor gently wiped me off and examined my mouth. "Well, it looks like she has a cleft lip." He opened my mouth and looked at the palate. "Her palate's okay. Be grateful for that. Everything else is fine. She has all her fingers and toes. We'll get this lip stitched up and you can take her home in a couple of weeks."
"What's wrong? Let me see, " Mom asked.
"Just a minute, Evie," Doc Sullivan answered. "I'll cut the cord and you can hold her." He looked again at Daddy and added, "She'll have to have plastic surgery in about a year. That'll smooth out the scar a little."
Mom was crying as the doctor handed me to her. "Oh, my poor little baby. Don't cry. Mommy and Daddy love you, no matter what."
Daddy moved next to her and put his hand awkwardly on her shoulder. All he could think of was, How the hell am I going to pay for all this?