Want to listen to the article? Great--listen here!
We named them: Fuchsia, Turquoise, and Black Ivory.
The moment they were fertilized, before they had even become fetuses, everything
about them had been genetically determined.
How do you speak about losing three babies? Technically they weren’t babies, but blobs
—fertilized eggs that had turned from two cells, to four cells, to eight cells. On the fifth
day, they turned to blastocysts, before they would become an embryo. And, only by the
twelfth week, would they have become official fetuses.
On October 24, 2017, I abort Fuchsia, Turquoise, and Black Ivory over an eight-hour
period, from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Throughout the night, my toilet fills with blood and clots. I
don’t flush. Each time I run to the bathroom and release, I turn on the light and stare at
my babies. I collect their every bit and piece.
After my blood ceases, I reach into the red water, scoop my babies up, and clutch them
one last time. I bring them close to my chest and then up to my mouth. I kiss. Slowly
they trickle through my tensely closed fingers running down my lips, chin, and neck.
They cascade down the front of my white nightgown before they splatter onto the cold
Bloodied lips and all, I huddle over them. I pray. I unwind toilet sheet after toilet sheet
after toilet sheet. I wipe the ground over and over until most of my blood has been
placed back into the bowl. I lean over the seat, hold it with both hands, and hunch over.
I stare one last time at Fuchsia, Turquoise, and Black Ivory. I flush.
HOW TAMARA GOT HER BREATH BACK
A Lithuanian Jew bred me
I ate rye bread
Had an argument with my mother about being Muslim
End it now, she says. End this damn Islam thing.
I won’t. I can’t.
I will rip out your eye, she says
I will take a pistol to my heart, I say
I will turn it to my face
You will see my anger
Oh me, who is full of power
Pop! Pop! Pop!
You’re a savage girl, were always a savage girl, she says
I am a soaring girl. I soar, I say.
You are a sore loser, she says
I live in the House of Faith, I say. This is my house.
Pull up a chair. Sit your ass down.
Dipping, dipping, dipping, I dip out.
The moon is shining. I shudder from the bright light.
Shut-ter up, she says.
You old hag, I say
I will sail away on a boat. Sail, sail, sail.
Fog filled the sky
I couldn’t see behind, in front of, or below me
I watched Blazer as he scampered
Smelling the bush
The car tire
Coyotes were howling
A dog was barking back at them
We took a different path
Charles held the leash
I held myself back
From screaming at him
He was insistent to know
What it was about my things
That made them so personal
He couldn’t love me
I said to myself
I don’t feel protected and safe
We passed more Christmas houses
Passed a house with a stuffed animal collection at its front door
We passed my ex boyfriend, Josh’s house
I noticed a silver car
It must be her car
The RV was still parked beside his Tacoma
I wanted to run inside
To the home that used to be mine
I wanted Josh to protect me with his gun
To get on his Harley with his biker friends
And escort me through life
Charles didn’t speak
A dog yapped at Blazer
I felt gravel on my bare feet
I was unable to put back on my flip-flops
Cross-legged, I focused on my breath
The brighter greenery in certain leaves
The black beneath her fingernails
Wondering if she was a potter, or a gardener
My sheets filled with stones
Turning over again
Swiping dirt from underneath my right hip
The white cotton tenderly hugging my skin
He breathed in through his mouth
And out through his nose
The flaps on his lips trembled
I had a hole in my purple leggings
I wondered if Norman the Buddhist noticed my skin
My long blond hair strand curled up on my left leg
Was I getting my breath back?
In the ER they ask me to rate my pain
Maybe a 2, I say
I’m not in pain
I can’t breath
We will take you for x-rays, the triage nurse says
To protect the baby
He shot me in the butt
The hormones seeped into my musculature
Charles, I say, as I always do
Avoid my sciatic nerve
I feel the liquid move from the tip of the needle
Piercing my skin
Like a three-dimensional spider web
Filled with air and hope
The hormones scurry from my hip
To my ovaries
As my lungs deflate
I receive a call from my primary care physician
Your D-Dimer test came back
It’s very high
You must go to the ER immediately
We were walking Blazer when I got the call
I’m leaving, I tell Charles
Charles doesn’t offer to come with me
He dresses as usual
Gets ready for work as usual
Does his usual
As my lungs collapse
Trembling I turn the wheel of my Honda
Try to keep my car moving straight
A new triage nurse is at TMC now
She looks at my files
You were here last night, she says
Yes, I say
What’s your pain level?
Still a 2, I say
We will have you see a doctor immediately
Ten minutes later, I am called back
Last night, we did an x-ray
Today we will need to do an MRI, the doctor says
My babies, I scream
The tech comes to get me
I have babies inside my belly!
Babies? he asks. How many?
I walk by myself for an hour
Talk to God
I’m talking to you, God
I don’t stop
I keep talking
Someone is listening
: i thought we would have babies together
: i thought I would be wearing maternity clothes from “Destination Maternity”
: in the mall on Sunday we sat
: at the Tucson Mall drinking “Gloria Jean’s Gourmet Coffee” we discussed
: our baby
: the baby we would have together—Fuchsia was her name
: i’m in New York; you’re in our condo in Tucson
: the temperatures are in the 60s, turning to Fall
: here I’ll have a change of seasons
: the sun is always out in Tucson—always summer—always sunny
: “you’re going to have a do-over” you said
: “this baby is going to be different” you said
: “the father is different,” you would say
: you followed me for 26.2 miles
: twins—we planned
: fuchsia and Turquoise
: i would take Fuchsia to dance, dress her in pink
: you would take Turquoise to football, basketball
: i saw your long arms and legs in them
: i saw Fuchsia’s curls
: i saw my daughter
: “you’re not too old,” you said
: “you have the eggs of a 25-year old,” you said
: six months ago, we break up
: for three years we try to make a baby
: you fail to tell me you don’t have sperm
: you fail, Slim Pop!
: i’m lucky now if I have one or two remaining eggs
: no one, NO ONE will be able to impregnate me ever again
: you stole from me
: you stole the last years of my fertility
: you stole Fuchsia and Turquoise
: i will never have another baby again
: one day we are fertile, and then the next day we are not