Switched at birth 54 years ago - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Switched at birth 54 years ago

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May 14, 2006

Albany -- It was a mother's instinct that told one Albany woman something didn't feel right when she first held her newborn girl 54 years ago.

Chris Gillespie says whenever Mother's Day rolls around she is reminded of when her first-born daughter was switched at birth. The family is so thankful each year on Mother's Day to have the right sister and daughter.

Fifty-four years ago Chris Gillespie adopted one daughter and gave birth to a baby girl. Each year on Mother's day she remembers holding who she thought was her first born.

"I couldn't even feel warm toward it, I felt sorry for it, but I didn't feel warm toward it," said Chris Gillespie.

Turns out her motherly instincts were right. It was at a Bainbridge hospital 54 years ago when a baby switch took place. Gillespie's sister was the first to notice.

"When she saw the baby, she realized that that was not my baby, and she went in there and she told them. These babies are mixed up and ya'll need to swap them. Well they wouldn't talk about that there was no way they could be mixed up," said Gillespie.

Both families agreed they had the wrong babies. After a day-long delay the hospital staff was able to determine which doctors delivered which baby.

"This is the only picture that I have of my baby Alta when she was born," said Gillespie.

Alta Collins actually got to meet the girl she was switched with at birth, when she was 16.

"It was really fun meeting her and listening to the story, listening to our mother's talk about what had happened and then comparing our looks knowing that we were with the right family," said Alta Collins.

To Chris Gillespie there is no mistaking these girls are all her girls. Final confirmation, when youngest sister Wendy was born twelve years later.

"People ask us all the time if we're twins and I say yeah and we're her age," said Collins.

Each Mother's day the Gillespie's get together and joke about the baby switch. It's also a time they're thankful that the family didn't turn out any other way.

The doctor who delivered baby Alta suffered a heart attack and died right after her birth. So he wasn't around to confirm the baby he delivered was a Gillespie.

Luckily the switch was straightened out while both women and both babies were at the hospital. The doctor who delivered the other family's baby confirmed which child he delivered.

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