Just One Of 8000

Baby sister between her two older brothers. She is not yet a full month old at her first Christmas. I have always said she was my rose between the two thorns.

Baby sister between her two older brothers. She is not yet a full month old at her first Christmas. I have always said she was my rose between the two thorns.

Telling family stories is a fun pastime for most people. I have recently used this blog to show how it can be done. We can tell stories through family heirlooms, by visiting an old hometown, or even where past ancestors have lived. When we research our ancestors, we must keep in mind that they did not live in a vacuum. They were part of the community and had dealings with many people. They may have known or been friends with community leaders and famous people of their times. This type of interaction could make for a great family story.

I was reminded of a family story that my wife is fond of telling each year around my daughter’s birthday. The reminder, unfortunately, came with the news of the death of a good man. Dr. Richard Aubry age 81 died in an automobile accident last week. Dr. Aubry was among other things a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, N.Y.. Dr. Aubry also wore another hat. He was a founder of the Regional Perinatal Center and attended over 8000 births. She was sent there for a fairly new procedure at the time called an Amniocentesis. This procedure is a medical procedure in which a small amount of amniotic fluid is removed from the sac that surrounds the fetus. This is done with a needle that is inserted through the abdomen into the uterus. Our doctor at the time wanted this test done because our second son was born with Spina Bifida, and my wife’s oldest brother was born with Down Syndrome.

However, if this wasn’t stressful enough our doctor informed my wife that if the test came back positive for any of these conditions, an abortion must be done. This was a concern for us as an abortion was out of the question. When my wife tried to explain this to the doctor, he flatly told her not to come back if the test were positive and she was not going to have an abortion. We had many a conversation while waiting for the test date. To say we were concerned would be an understatement. Back in the 1970s services for people and families with disabilities were not readily available, (I still do not think they are even today) and we did not live near any family that could help.

Finally, the time for the test came and then the wait for the results. When it came time to go for the results, my wife went alone. I do not know why I did not go. I should have. Perhaps I had to work or had to stay home with our two sons. Once there she was ushered into a room and given the results of her Amniocentesis test. Everything came back normal. All the signs were for a normal pregnancy and healthy baby. Dr Aubry told my wife that she was now to go back to her doctor for the duration of the pregnancy. At this time, my wife spoke up that she wanted to be looked after by him at the Perinatal Center. He started to explain that they were there for high-risk pregnancies and that she could not be followed by them. According to my wife, that was when she lost it. Through tears, she told him about the abortion ultimatum and that she could not see returning to them for medical care. But what could Dr. Aubry do? He was bound by ethics and procedures. The clinic was not for normal pregnancies and was run by rules and regulations. Dr. Aubry placed his hand on my wife’s shoulders and said “of course you can be seen here.”

My daughter was born during a snow storm in early December. Ten fingers and ten toes. Each and every of my daughter’s birthdays my wife tells of the kindness of Dr. Aubry. My daughter is just one of the 8000 births he attended. I can only guess at what the other 7999 stories are.

Our family on Christmas 2013. It should be noted that four grandchildren were also in the room at the time this picture was taken.

Our family on Christmas 2013. It should be noted that four grandchildren were also in the room at the time this picture was taken.

What are your family stories? Write them down so in the passage of time they don’t get lost. It is the human interest stories the generations to come will want to know. Isn’t that what we really want to know about our ancestors?

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21 Responses to Just One Of 8000

  1. Amy says:

    Wonderful and also horrifying story. How could a doctor tell you that your wife MUST have an abortion? Certainly no law would ever require that, and no doctor ever should impose his or her judgment about something so personal. Just as I believe in a woman’s right to choose to terminate a pregnancy, I also believe in a woman’s right not to terminate a pregnancy even when there is a problem. How dare that doctor threaten her in that way.

    But I am glad your story had such a happy ending. And you are right—I am always telling the stories of my long-dead ancestors, but I bet my grandchildren will be more interested in my stories. Thanks for the reminder.

    • chmjr2 says:

      As always thanks for your comments. As you can see from the picture that the family was on the young side when all this was going on. The stress level was already very high and to be sure those doctors were of no help. They had no right to do what they did, but they did it. Dr. Aubry was a life saver and will be forever thought of kindly in our house.

      I have been trying to get people to write their story in my last few blogs. I hope I have shown them it does not have to be a work like “David Copperfield”, but can be told in small steps.

  2. momfawn says:

    I was nearly 35 when I became pregnant for the second time. Amniocentesis was a fairly new procedure back in 1980, but because of my “advanced age” and my husband’s history of LSD use, our doctor felt it was a good idea. My husband insisted that if the test discovered some anomalies with the baby, I should have an abortion (he said he didn’t think he could deal with a handicapped child). I knew better. In my heart I knew my baby was fine, but whether or no, abortion was out of the question for me. During the procedure my husband asked the technician what the flashing light was on the screen. “Your baby’s heart beating,” was her answer. Never again did he broach the subject of abortion — and our beautiful, perfect daughter will turn 30 next month. – Fawn

    • chmjr2 says:

      I read your blog and what a great story. While the start of a story can be tough going it just makes the happy endings all that much better. Thank you for your comments and reading my blog.

  3. Pingback: Amniocentesis | triggershorse

  4. What an amazing story! Thanks for sharing such a private agony.

    • chmjr2 says:

      The result was a family that we always wanted. Would not trade that for anything and well worth the agony. Thank you for reading my blog and as always your comments.

  5. What an incredible story! I am proud of your wife for refusing to return to her first doc! Three beautiful children, now adults, and you lived to tell the stories! One of my daughters has 3 children, now 6, 2, and 10 mos! I look at them and am glad to think of them grown up! Thanks for sharing your family with us, and for teaching us about story writing!

  6. Jim McKeever says:

    Thank you for sharing that story, Charles.

  7. Lovely, lovely story – I am so thankful that there are people like you and your wife out there who value family and God-given life above all else!! Thank you, too, for your support of my blog!

  8. bayonnejoe says:

    We went through the same scenario in 1993 because my wife had several miscarriages they did the amniocentesis and said there was a better than 80% chance the baby would have Down Syndrome. Although the doctors were all for abortion we refused and prayed hard for our unborn child. Today our daughter is 21 and in college and physically perfect.

  9. boundforoz says:

    A beautiful, heartwarming story.

  10. well said @Wordsmithmagic; Thought provoking closing questions –the questions for all times instrumental to continue the healing through our legacies, starting with ourself. Thank you for this unearthing post @Chmjr2

  11. simonnotts says:

    You’re right about preserving family stories – I’m desperately trying to remember what my parents and grandparents told me. Wish I’d made notes at the time.

    • chmjr2 says:

      I also wish I had been smart enough to make notes. However that being said my family did not talk much of the past and when asked an evasive answer was always at the ready.

  12. Great story!
    My son and his wife knew early in the pregnancy their first child would have spina bifida, but both wanted to go ahead anyway. Their beautiful little girl, now 4, is severely physically disabled. However she is bright and clever and, though it is a great deal of work and hardship for them, they love their daughter deeply. I am proud of them all.

    • chmjr2 says:

      My prayers and best wishes go out to your family. They will have many rough spots to get over. However they will see first hand what is truly important in this world and what the true meaning of love is, better than most people can ever hope for. Thank you so much for reading my blog and for taking the time to comment.

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