Wednesday, December 14, 2011

That One Time The Hospital Switched My Baby

I read a news story the other day about a woman who had the hospital bring her the wrong baby. She nursed, held, and loved on that baby for three hours before realizing her mistake.

"GREEN BAY, WI -- A Green Bay, Wisconsin mom wants answers after she says she was taking care of the wrong baby for almost three hours at a local hospital. Her son, Henry, was given to another couple for several hours after he was born at Saint Mary's Hospital in Green Bay four months ago. Instead, she was given the other couple's infant.
She was told by the hospital it was a "breech in protocol," after the wrong crib with the wrong baby was brought to her just a day after her delivery.
Now she wants to know who had her baby while she was nursing someone else's child."

The same thing kind of happened to me.

When Miss Lulu was born she looked like this:

24 hours later she looked like this:

But at some point in between, a nurse took Lulu to run some tests and then wheeled her back to me a couple hours later. She'd been staying in my room with me almost since she was born and this was the longest we'd been apart. It was about 1am when the door opened and the nurse came in, pushing the baby cart to the side of my bed. "Sounds like she's hungry!" the nurse chirped.
That baby doesn't sound right, I thought.
I looked at the baby in the clear plastic container.

It was wrapped in a blanket that didn't look the same as the one that Lulu left wearing.

It had darker hair than Lulu left wearing.

It came in with a penis.

"That's not my baby," I said to the departing nurse.

She abruptly looked up and ran over to my bed where she compared the band on my wrist and then the band on the baby's ankle.
"OH!" she gasped, "You're right!"
Of course I'm right, I thought, I know my baby.
"That's why we check the bands!" said the nurse, presumably to herself.
"Mmm," I frownsmiled, "We have enough penises at our house, take that one away."

While I can certainly feel sympathy for this mother who was brought the wrong baby, I, uh, knew immediately that my changeling was the wrong baby. He was different than Lulu. I don't know if that mother was well-medicated, or exhausted, or whatever, but it took her three hours to figure out it wasn't her baby?

I'm just sayin'...

After re-reading the story, it seems that the mother knew something was wrong with that baby, but it took the hospital officials coming in and explaining about the switch for her to realize it was because that baby wasn't her son.

If you have a baby in a hospital, make sure that the nurses check the bands, OK? Also, memorize your baby so that if you have to identify her from a line up, you can. And if it's not your baby, practice saying this,

Maybe those home-birthers are onto something.


Laura: The Sushi Snob said...

Someone brought the wrong baby to my mom in 1982. This baby had a mess of dark hair, while my brother was as bald as a golf ball. The nurse thought my mom was nuts when she insisted that the baby in the bassinet was not hers. Luckily, everything got straightened out, but seriously.

ali said...

I would say that's a strong case for having a baby at home, and I rarely make strong cases for having babies at home.

scary stuff.

Kalli said...


What more proof do you need?

Delirious said...

Kind of makes you wonder how many babies out there are being raised by the wrong parents!! :)

Erin O. said...

That's nuts. I would've known that they had given me the wrong baby. I've had two babies. One mini-Me and one mini-DH. Both we're hairy beasts. Handy for the baby-line up.

Jenny said...

The first time I had a baby she was the only baby in the hospital. All the other times the babies have looked exactly like the first one so we've been pretty lucky. I love that the hospital brought you a baby boy. Like you'd want a boy baby when you have a precious girl!

Emily Foley said...

I seriously don't know if I would have been able to tell. And my babies look EXACTLY like me when they're first born. I would have with my girl (#3) for sure, but my boys? I honestly don't know.

Momoko Photography said...


Hailey said...

This is why I recommend having twins. Your chances of someone not messing up go up considerably the more babies you have. Or maybe it's the other way around... Hmmm...

Christina said...

This is when I would have gotten out my lipstick called the local news and then told the hospital admins that they could comp all my baby bills or I was going on air. Seriously. But yeah I am sure I would know too.

Amber said...

My daughter was premature, and within a couple of minutes of being born she was taken to the NICU. I didn't see her again for hours. Quite honestly, when I entered the NICU to visit, I couldn't tell which one was her. She looks enough like me and my husband that I know she's ours, but would I have recognized a switch? I'm not sure.

My son, on the other hand, didn't leave my sight during the 4 hours we spent in the hospital after his birth. After that early bonding time, I probably would have recognized him. I think that circumstances can vary widely, and I can see how someone could be confused. Especially if it was their first baby, and they hadn't spent much time together.

~j. said...

I saw this on The Office.

Anonymous said...

"we have enough penises at our house- take that one away" Can I get that embroidered on a pillowcase or something?

La Yen said...

They brought my mom the wrong baby instead of me. But since we are not Mexican she knew right away. And every time I acted up in high school she reminded me that she could have had a different daughter...

plumbing said...
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vanessa said...

what beautiful pictures of lulu.

oh homebirth homebirth...2 out of 3 of my babies needed serious help right after being born (not caused by the hospital mind you) so even though the thought of it and the experiences being shared by others are BEAUTIFUL...this mama would never feel comfortable doing it.

you know one time in the hospital they wheeled in the wrong baby to me too! and then another time i introduced my new baby to my whole family through the window (we couldn't hold her for awhile) and i pointed out and introduced the wrong baby to everyone. ah!