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Scared of babies being swapped in hospital

(43 Posts)
Fandangos Thu 09-Jun-11 09:58:15

I had my DD at home and everything went really well and one of the things I really loved was the fact that nobody interfered with us and she was never out of my sight.

Now I'm 31 weeks pregnant with twins, there's little chance of a home birth (I don't think I'd want one, due to the risks) and I've had to come to terms with the fact that I'll probably have more intervention.

But the one thing that really scares me is the thought of the babies arriving early and needing to go away from me for special care, then them being mixed up with someone else's baby. They are non-identical twins and my husband is dark and Italian and I'm Scottish and fair, so there is a chance one could be dark and one could be fair! So I might not have 2 babies who look the same.

I know they will have tags put on, but they fall off sometimes! The only thing I can think of to do, if they don't have any birthmarks or anything, is to immediately put a hat on them, or maybe a little plaster if that would be allowed.

Any advice?

apples82 Thu 09-Jun-11 09:59:03

Chill, life aint Eastenders!

Samvet Thu 09-Jun-11 10:02:20

That's why they put a tag on both feet, incase one falls off!

TheSnickeringFox Thu 09-Jun-11 10:03:38

I think you need to speak to your midwife about your anxiety. My guess would be that you are channeling more general anxieties about a hospital birth, twin delivery etc into something that you could "control". How does that sound?

I am sure you know really that the chance of your babies being swapped is vanishingly small. You may not need to be separated from your babies at all but if you are, please rest assured that those tags are really, really difficult to get off! They would never just fall off.

TheSnickeringFox Thu 09-Jun-11 10:04:09

Good point samvet

iskra Thu 09-Jun-11 10:06:48

TheSnickeringFox said much the same as I was thinking.

The bracelets (anklets I suppose) really don't fall off. You could always ask for them to put one on each limb...

mummyplonk Thu 09-Jun-11 10:06:58

I have seen the electronic tags fall off of their little legs but not the hospital band, these have to be cut off. Congratulations and I am sure you can use your own hats, blankets and teddy if you really want to personalise the cot,

iskra Thu 09-Jun-11 10:11:42

what electronic tags? I've only ever seen babies with those hospital bands. In fact I just remembered that every time I took DD up to SCBU (she was with me on the postnatal ward but had to have antiobiotics) they checked her tag before giving her the drugs.

mummyplonk Thu 09-Jun-11 10:18:30

I suppose it depends on the hospital then, every baby in ours has a electronic tag on their ankle if they go near any of the exits an alarm goes off. Quite bulky things though but very reassuring for Mums.

virginiasmonalogue Thu 09-Jun-11 10:24:58

I can understand your anxiety, it's only natural since this birth is going to be very different from your first.
Tags can fall off, dd1's fell off both feet because of her talipes, but the electronic tags don't come off as easily.

I very much doubt the situation will arise where you will be concerned about the swapping of babies at the time, but why not just dress them in identifiably clothing/distinctive babygrows, nappies and at least your mind will be at rest and you can enjoy the experience more.

ElfOnTheTopShelf Thu 09-Jun-11 10:26:54

Its unlikely that they'll be swapped. In most hospitals (at least all the ones in my area), as soon as the baby is born, they get two tags, one on each leg. Under one is an electronic tag which triggers an alarm should the baby be taken out of a certain area.
Neither tag can be removed by hand - they have to be remove by scissors.
Babies tags are also identified as "infact of Elfonthetopshelf" etc rather than the babies actual name, so unless there is a mum with your exact name, unlikely to get a baby with the same details on the tag.

iskra Thu 09-Jun-11 10:27:07

virginiasmonalogue has a great idea - you supply the clothing, what about putting them in babygros youv'e had personalised - "Fandango's Twin A" & "Frandango's Twin B" grin

However, if finding a solution doesn't quell the anxiety, I think you need to look at the anxiety. If you see what I mean.

mummyplonk, interesting.

ElfOnTheTopShelf Thu 09-Jun-11 10:28:30

or indeed, "infant of Elfonthetopshelf"... must preview messages!!

Fandangos Thu 09-Jun-11 10:29:17

I do agree with you TheSnickeringFox, I do not want to go to hospital and believe that things will be out of my control. I think I will speak to my midwife.

Cheers for the other posts with advice x

Fandangos Thu 09-Jun-11 10:43:27

Good ideas, thanks very much everyone.

I'm not normally a very anxious person, but I had 3 miscarriages last year and some other family illness, which has left me with a feeling of 'anything can happen', whereas before, I'd never really been through too much heartache and didn't think anything bad could happen to me really.

ElfOnTheTopShelf Thu 09-Jun-11 10:53:51

Don't worry about it - even with the tagging at the hospital where I had DD five years ago, I did panic when they took her to the nursery for the night so I could get some rest - the next day I was panicking they'd mixed her up with another baby. Cue DH sighing and tapping her ID tags grin
I had DS two weeks ago, and I was anxious about it all again; was having a planned CS, and the theatre staff couldn't understand my nerves. Not only was I worrying that they'd do something wrong, I was busy panicking that DH would forget DD and leave her at school / forget to take her somewhere / leave her in bed and forget all about her etc.
I'm a complete control freak though; one of the reasons I freak out when flying too as I am not in control of the situation. I reckon I'd love flying if I became a pilot grin
Best wishes for the birth of your babies smile

Fandangos Thu 09-Jun-11 11:16:17

Congrats to you Elf, and thanks for making me feel a bit more normal!

Dummyhunter Thu 09-Jun-11 11:57:26

DH was also worried about this as our hospital seemed very lax on security. Before our child was born DH packed a big black marker into my bag and when DC was born he wrote our surname on his foot. Must admit thought it was a bit of an over reaction at the time but it took all his worry away.

harrygracejessica Thu 09-Jun-11 15:12:30

Can I just say though if babies do need to go to SCBU they dont tend to have clothes on them as will need monitors etc.

Mabelface Thu 09-Jun-11 15:24:32

I had 3 babies taken down to SCBU who were tagged pretty much as soon as they were born. They even managed to give the right boy the right name all the time, despite them being identical.

LDNmummy Thu 09-Jun-11 15:27:33

I have had this thought but never really seriously. I also suffer from severe anxiety, so I would assume you are experiencing a heavy dose of anxiety yourself to be thinking this much about it. As others have said, talk to your midwife or GP.

Congrats and I'm sure all will be well smile

PrincessScrumpy Thu 09-Jun-11 17:12:59

I think it's normal to have worries in pg - with dd1 I kept dreaming that I had dd, then she was taken in the hospital to SCBU, but suddenly everyone kept telling me I hadn't had a baby and it was all in my mind. It completely freaked me out and dh was fully instructed to stay with the baby and got to SCBU with her if she needed to go there. I knew I was being over the top but the mind plays tricks when pg.

TheFowlAndThePussycat Thu 09-Jun-11 20:31:26

People ask me if dd2 was swapped in the hospital as she is very blond with blue eyes & the rest of us have dark hair & eyes. She was on nicu & lost a lot of weight & her ankle tags actually did fall off shock.

Fact of the matter is she's the spitting image of MIL, so I think we'll keep her grin

If you think about it, they don't just have ID tags, especially if they are on nicu/scbu, they have charts & notes, with all their history - including your hospital ID - which always stay on the cots.

Have you been in to meet the team on the scbu at the hospital? You might find it reassuring, although of course there are very poorly babies there it helped me hugely to meet the staff who are so wonderful and professional. It might help you feel more prepared & help you take back some control.

BagofHolly Thu 09-Jun-11 20:50:02

My baby was tagged and was admitted to SCBU and one of the nurses didn't check the tags and handed him to the wrong mother. Her baby had been taken away straight after birth as he was ill, so she didn't realise she had the wrong child. I went to SCBU and the paediatrician who admitted him saw me, looked at DS being cuddled by another lady and mouthed "fuck" as she realised what had happened. My boy was handed over to me but I couldn't hold him as he was all overstimulated, so I had to just look at him in his SCBU cot. The other lady was understandably horrified, and terribly upset. She came and found me and said "I only loved him. He's perfect." (am crying now.)
The whole episode was ghastly. I still have trouble looking at the back of his head as I kept checking he was mine, for ages. We had ICSI and immunotherapy to have him, and on the first night he was finally here, a nurse cut a corner and gave him away. sad
This was at The Portland.

Naetha Thu 09-Jun-11 20:59:14

Permanent marker dot on each foot? smile

Doesn't need to be big, just big enough for you to know.

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