Oops! I Took The Wrong Baby Home!

The scenario:

You discover that your wonderful one-year-old child is, because of a mix-up at the hospital, not yours.  Would you want to exchange the child to correct the mistake?

babies switched at birth

Bonnie Johnson's PostBonnie ~

After doting on and loving a baby, any baby, but especially one you believe is a part of you, for a whole year to then be told it doesn’t really belong to you?  Ouch!  That would be a major shock, wouldn’t it?!  The bond between a mother and child after a year is iron clad, and not something easily broken.  This would be a heartbreaking situation to find yourself in.

I researched “babies switched at birth” and discovered that it does happen occasionally but not often.  Hospitals take fingerprints, foot prints, or palm prints of newborns in order to prevent babies being mixed up. Nurses also double check with the mother, checking the identity of that person as well, in order to prevent errors.  Hospitals also have policies in which a medical record number is assigned to an infant at birth, and bands with this number as well as the last name of the mother of the infant, the gender of the infant, and the date and time of birth are placed on the infant and the mother immediately after parturition before the mother and child are separated.  And yet I still found a few cases of this happening despite the policies.  Mistakes were made and when they were discovered the hospitals were sued.

What struck me most when I read about these cases was for some reason the majority of these mix-ups were not discovered until years later.  In most cases the mothers all had a feeling early on that something wasn’t right but were convinced by hospital staff that they were mistaken and everything was as it should be.  Listen to your inner voice, believe in your intuition!

So, would I exchange the child after a year to correct the mistake?  Yes, I would.  It would probably be the hardest thing I would ever have to do but for the sake of both children I would.  Again, after reading about stories where this really did happen, the saddest part, once the truth was discovered, was how the children themselves often felt.  Some discuss having the feeling that something wasn’t quite right and the feeling that they didn’t quite fit in.  One woman, when she found out the truth at 43 years old,  felt like her whole life up until then had been a lie and now she felt torn between two families.

I would have a very hard time giving up a baby I had loved so deeply for a year but I would also want to be the one to raise my own child.  If faced with this scenario I think I would ask that I still be allowed to continue a relationship with the other child too.

Post Insert JacquieJacquie ~

My daughter Emilie was one of 50 babies born at North York General Hospital in Toronto on June 12, 19……… not tellin’.  I’m a very trusting person and it never occurred to me to worry that she might accidentally get switched with another half Asian/half Caucasian baby girl.  The security on the maternity ward was unlike anything I could have imagined, and I remember having to go through at least two check points where our hospital bracelets were scrutinized before the staff would allow us to leave the floor.

I know an awful lot of bonding takes place in the first few years of life but I have to say, if this terrible situation happened to me, I’d want to get my biological child back.  It definitely would be heart-wrenching to give up a child I’d cared for and loved for a year, but I believe it would be the right thing to do.  Truthfully, I’d want to keep both babies, but I guess that wouldn’t be fair.  I wouldn’t be able to handle someone else raising my child due to hospital error.  I would hope that the other family would feel the same way and really, in a perfect world, we could all be part of an extended family group.

PS.  I have a teenager I’d be willing to trade for …let’s say… a 21 year old right now, if anyone’s interested? : )

TracyTracy gives back ~

I remember being concerned about this with my first child.  I wanted to be awake during my C-section because I had heard of this happening.  Lets call it first child paranoia.  I remember my Mom telling me in the operating room when the ID band was secure on my son’s wrist.  I think she may have double checked to make sure it couldn’t slip off.  My son was the spitting image of his Dad so no one could have made a switch with us not be aware of it.  He was also 10 lbs 3 oz and the other babies in the nursery were triplets, with the largest one weighing in at a whopping 5 lbs.  The nurses nicknamed my son baby sumo because he looked 3 months old at birth.  Any other Mom would have felt ripped off had my son been sent home with them by mistake,  kind of like getting a puppy at 6 months old.

mine!!!

I can’t imagine having to actually go through this in real life.  Unfortunately it has happened, more than once.  This topic made me reflect back on the first year with both my son and daughter.  Time goes by so quickly, and the first year is monumental for bonding with your baby.  I would have to take the perspective that I was a surrogate to this child for the year we spent together.  I am certain the mother of the child I was given would absolutely want their child back, as would I.  I would have complete confidence that she gave my child unconditional love.  When you have natural motherly instincts you love all children.  I can’t imagine not loving ‘a’ child no matter whose they were if I were responsible for it’s welfare.

Bonding in hospitalAll children are special and unique.  I would want to make the change gradually so that both children were able to adjust as naturally as possible.  I think that the babies would sense a mistake with how they are known to recognizes a mothers smell and and how they react to the sound of their mothers voice from having heard it from inside the womb.  A mother’s love is pure and unconditional so I know that after spending time with my child everything would be just fine in no time.  I would hope that after an experience such as this you would form a friendship with the other mother that I would last a life time.  Everything happens for a reason and I would just embrace it for what it was.

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Relive One Day!

Okay ladies if you could Relive One Day all over again what day would you pick and why?

TTracy Relives the Past~

While running last Saturday August 15th 2009 which is my son Jesse’s birthday I couldn’t help but reflect back on that day eleven years ago.  Jesse was my first child, who gave me the gift of being a Mom.  While I relived that day in my mind as I ran I wished that I could go back to it and do it all over again.

Eleven very memorable years have past since that day and it still brings tears to my eyes thinking of becoming a Mom for the first time.  On that day my life as I once knew it changed.  My heart stretched bigger than I could have ever imagined.  I felt everything more intensely.  My maternal instincts all came alive on that day.

I remember Bonnie once told me after the birth of her son James that if she was told she had to eliminate everyone on this planet to save his life she would do it in a mother’s heart beat.  I disagreed and said “I would save my husband, my soul mate, you can always have another child.”  On August 15 1998 everyone on the planet was fair game if I was ever faced with that dilemma.  Yes even my soul mate, gone, every single one of you!

The magnitude of emotion that pours through your soul is indescribable.  You can’t believe this little human being came from you and your partner, you created them !  They grew inside of you for 10 months and every moment is surreal, from finding out you were pregnant to feeling your babies first flutter, to the grand finale of holding your precious little baby.  I felt overwhelming love.  It was hard to believe you could love something so small, so much, instantly.  When you touch for the very first time the connection is pure magic.  It’s falling in loves in it’s purest form.  Bliss.  I can tell you without a doubt that being a Mother has been the best thing I have EVER done.  Every day I have the pleasure of spending time with my kids is a blessing I am forever thankful for.  So ladies what day would you like to relive again?   Birth of Jesse

jacquie janzen yeeJacquie~

Great photo, Tracy!   Isn’t it funny how our minds work?  When I read the question I understood it to mean what day would you like to ‘do over’ as in erase from memory with a clean slate and get it right this time kinda thing.  Ha! Like I could pick just one!

I’d have to say I’d love a retake of the day I competed for Miss Teen Vancouver back when I was 15.  My sister had invited several our friends to be in the audience and so the pressure was on to do well.  During the interview portion I remember the other girls getting great questions like ‘Which famous character from a novel do you admire most?’ (Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice) or ‘Should Phys Ed still be taught in high schools?” (yes)

My question was about women’s lib.  Now, I knew nothing about women’s lib, being only 15, and so my answer upset some feminists in the audience and apparently I got some boos from their direction.  Yowza!  I think I said something  about how I felt men and women were made differently for a reason and so each were better suited for specific jobs.  It had to do with how our brains processed info differently.  Yeah, I know…painful!   For years I would cringe whenever I thought of that day, and the way my friends were buckled over with laughter at my faux pas (they did take me out for a sundae at White Spot afterwards to soothe my jangly nerves).

I have a much broader grasp on the topic now and could handle that question so much better if given the chance, but I still think men and women deal with issues differently and bring unique talents to the table based on gender.   I just needed a more PC way to say it when I was 15!

Vive La Difference!

Bonnie Johnson's PostBonnie Looks Back~

First off, I just have to say ~  “I LOVE that photo Tracy!”  The joy on your face is so uplifting.  A perfect moment caught by the camera forever.

When I first thought about the subject for this post I had a few wonderful memories pop into my head.  Some of the “firsts” would be worth reliving (some not).  I thought I might write about a carefree day in my childhood, a time before I knew any disappointment or sadness.

Instead I’m thinking back to the day that James was born.  It wasn’t the same for me as it was for Tracy.  I didn’t feel an instant connection like she did.  I felt odd, like I didn’t know who the strange little person was who lay so near me in his little hospital crib.   I really didn’t.  Everyone around me expected me to just know how to handle him and what he wanted whenever he squeaked.  I didn’t have a clue.  Those maternal instincts did not rush in the moment I laid eyes on him.  It happened slowly for me.  I gradually began to love every ounce of the demanding little stranger, but not instantly.  I did feel a strong need to protect the little gaffer.  Knowing him and loving him the way I do now does make me want to go back and relive that day.   To really understand the gift of sharing the very first day of life with my precious son.

And then I’d like to relive each and every day with him after that too.  Because now that he has grown and moved away I look back and wish I could have appreciated each of those days more.  Yes  I would have done some things differently for sure, but most of all I would have enjoyed every single moment of the time we lived together.  Sigh.

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