Was your baby swapped at birth?
It has to be every new parents nightmare – “was my baby swapped at birth?”
Speaking on Radio 4 recently British man Richard Cushworth and his wife Mercy described the appalling story of how their baby Moses was mistakenly handed to another couple.
Their story is almost unbelievable – Moses was whisked off to special care following labour, where he was accidentally swapped with another newborn baby. Mercy says she had immediate doubts when given “her son” but was reassured by staff that she had the correct baby. It was only after 4 months that his physical features made her question once again whether or not he was biologically hers – leading her to do a DNA test and the painful journey that then unfolded to retrieve their own child.
Now, it sounds crazy, and it is a story that we all laugh at now, but I actually went through a similar fear myself with our third child Samuel.
My elder two had been born with heads full of hair – and Samuel was determinedly bald for WAY over a year. But in fairness, Samuel was the beautiful product of a new relationship, and his father doesn’t have much hair either, so I pushed that doubt aside.
HOWEVER, Samuel always had the most stunning blue eyes. Of course most caucasian babies are born with blue eyes – but these were pretty startling from a very early age. I told myself they would change at around 6 months (just like my elder two had – from blue to hazel) – but they didn’t – they stayed blue – very very blue!!
Now just to put this in perspective…. I have hazel eyes, my older daughter and son both have hazel eyes. Yes, there was a new daddy on the block – but he has brown eyes.
Don’t know about you, but we were taught at school that brown and brown – don’t ever make a blue!
So there I sat, concerned for months – and too afraid to ask anyone the question “Is it possible for us to have a blue eyed child”?
I couldn’t ask because I was terrified of the answer. What IF the response was “no!”
My poor cousin looked at my like I was crazy when I confessed my secret fear to her and pointed out that he was a spitting image of his daddy and anyone could see that he was ours.
But secretly I continued to worry about it and would spend lonely daytimes reflecting that I had held, changed, fed and loved my child deeply for the past 7 months – I couldn’t bear to lose him.
On the other hand, could I bear to know that my own child was out there somewhere? There was clearly no easy outcome if my crazy fears were proven correct.
I guess it was one of those scenarios where I decided I would rather not know – but it seems unbelievable looking back that I took so long to start googling for the answer which of course finally put any doubts to rest.
There is always a lesson to be learned from these strange events in our lives – and for me the lesson was that nurture absolutely overrode nature for me. I could have been given anyones child – but THIS was the child that I adored and held in my arms and my heart and I wouldn’t have wanted to swap him for the world. I guess my body instinctively knew that he was truly ours – even if my logical brain wasn’t always too sure.
The conclusion to this story came when Samuel was about 2 years old and I was standing in the kitchen talking to my mum. And all of a sudden I noticed.
She has blue eyes!! Quite startling and icy blue eyes! How had I never noticed? I blurted out “You have blue eyes! Oh my god, you have BLUE eyes!!”
She looked very confused and said “yes, i always have had!?! – just like your grandfather – and apparently just like his dad as well!”