Author: Deborah Copaken

The Night I Took Uber Pool to the Emergency Room

I’m crawling around on the bathroom floor, picking up pieces of myself. These pieces are not metaphor. They are actual pieces. Plum-sized, beet-colored, with the consistency and sheen of chicken liver, four of them have shot out of my vagina like shells from a canon. Altogether 18 of these projectiles will erupt from my body. “A chai,” I apparently joked, after the last one shot out, although I have only a vague memory of this. For now, there are only four, I’m still conscious, it’s just after midnight, and my 20-year-old middle child, Sasha, the only other human in the apartment — added bonus, I’m mid-divorce — is fast asleep after having arrived home only a few hours earlier from her Birthright trip to Israel. I am bleeding out. But my brain, starved of blood and in shock at the sight of so much of it, cannot process this information. Instead, I’ve become convinced that the ordnance sliding around my bathroom floor are my internal organs, which I must rescue so someone can put them back inside me. I …

Their Father’s Daughters: Four Sisters Come Together to Say Goodbye

Deborah – last on the right – with her three sisters. (Photo courtesy Deb Copaken) I am the eldest of four girls, a number that felt ever-so-slightly obscene. Like, couldn’t we have stopped at three? But no, we couldn’t, because numbers 3 and 4 were identical twins. Prior to their conception, Mom had read an article about how to conceive a boy. She followed it to the letter: eat this; do that; have sex at this time of the month; stand on your head and clap three times, chant a Tibetan prayer, who knows what it said? I never read it. But I have always wondered how many other babies born in 1972 have that article to thank for either their twins or their vaginas. Each sister, in our own time, were supposed to have been named Jeffrey Scott. Instead we were Deborah Elizabeth, Jennifer Robin, Laura Suzanne, and Julie Michelle. We literally used up all the innocuous girl names. When my eldest was born, 21 years ago, my dad rushed into the hospital room to …