Kat Hudson

Kat Hudson
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
May 16
Kathryn Hudson has been a writer for most of her life. Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, she currently calls Baltimore, Md., her home. As an award-winning journalist, Ms. Hudson spent several years as a newspaper reporter. She is currently raising a beautiful daughter on her own as a single mother along with two obnoxious cats (they are probably both French-Canadian). In her free time she writes. In her regular life, she juggles a cute infant along with a job in sales, blogs, and short films about everything. She welcomes new friends and correspondence, especially from befuddled new parents like herself.


Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 4, 2010 5:00AM

Things you can't tell by looking at me

Rate: 40 Flag
The Middle on ABC
Stars of ABC's "The Middle" a family not unlike my own.

The secret I keep isn’t shameful but it’s one of those weird facts about a person you would never know unless I told you. I have been selective about who I’ve shared the secret with after being met with such skepticism at times. Some people I’ve told, including a good friend, accused me of lying about it. That hurt a lot to hear. But I know my own truths and there is no need to lie or hide.

I was switched with another baby at birth.

I know how bizarre that sounds to some people. With the fast pace of genetic technology, we often forget that DNA testing has only been around since the early nineties. I was born May 16, 1969, in a large university hospital in the foothills of Salt Lake City. I wasn’t the only child born that day. A little boy, whose first name I’ll never know but whose last name is Olson, was born then, too. For nearly one week, we slept in the arms of each other’s mothers and almost went home to different families. I often wonder what might have happened if I’d been raised an Olson and not a Hudson.

Most of the time, I don’t wonder. For many years, I have successfully sublimated fearful thoughts of being placed with the wrong family. If you saw pictures of my beautiful mother, you’d have no doubts I was her daughter. We share the same eyebrows, similar faces and even the same hands. I didn’t realize that we shared the same hands until I held hers in mine every day in the hospital—the same one where I was born—as she lay dying. Squeezing her hand in mine, I noticed how perfectly we matched and it was comforting. It also made me sad to think I might have missed out on this wonderful woman, who always made me feel special, wanted and loved.

Tell me about the day I was born, Mom

Watching one of my favorite sitcoms tonight, “The Middle,” ushered in a flood of unexpected emotions. The youngest child, Brick, begs to learn the story about the day he was born. After many unsuccessful attempts to find out the truth, he realizes his parents are hiding something. They lie to him at first, but his older brother slips and he demands the truth. Much to his horror, he learns he wasn’t just switched at birth, but he lived with the other family for an entire month before the mistake was discovered. It was done with humor, but I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of pain over this storyline. Not just for me, but also for my mother.

It was this same woman, who just a week before I was born, packed up my sister, just 13 months old at the time, to hitchhike her way back to Salt Lake City from Nevada. My father, a musician, was on tour in southern California. I wasn’t due until mid-June, but something told my mother I’d be arriving sooner. My father wouldn’t have the money to be with my mother for a few days and my mother didn’t want to give birth alone or in a town called Winnemucca. So she packed her bags and caught a ride with a truck driver heading to Salt Lake.

A few days later, I insisted on being born. My mother had no time to waste. Her best friend took my sister back to her place and my mother was rushed by ambulance to the hospital. Despite her best efforts to the contrary, my mother was alone when I was born. She was also highly medicated. It was the custom back then. She had no idea that the tiny little boy they’d placed in her arms wasn’t hers.

The day I learned about my strange start in life, I was stunned. My mother didn’t want to tell me, but my grandmother let it slip one day as I was in the hospital for medical tests. It was shortly after my 17th birthday. I had just learned I had cancer. They caught it early, but I had more tests to endure. My grandmother, who always had a sense of humor, tried to make light of the situation. She said something about the baby I’d been switched with and the stricken look on my mother’s face shocked her. “I thought you told her about the day she was born,” my mother’s mother gasped.

Holding my hand, my mother fought back tears as she told me how everything had happened so fast. In the middle of labor, it was discovered that the umbilical cord was wrapped around my neck. I was in serious distress and the doctors made the immediate decision to delivery me surgically. My mother was sedated. My father, still in California, couldn’t get to Utah in fast enough to be with her. My grandparents had been visiting my great-grandmother after the death of my great-grandfather a few days earlier. My mother was completely on her own and completely out of it.

Waking up from the sedatives, it was around 3 a.m. and my mother wanted to see her baby. She and my father had been arguing over names just a few weeks earlier. My father wanted a boy and said he’d get to name me if I was a boy. My mother was convinced she was having yet another girl. She wanted a girl so she could name me and so my sister, Tracie, would have a baby sister. She wasn’t sad to have a baby boy, but she didn’t like the name my father had chosen: Bruce Lee Hudson. But she had agreed. Bruce Lee it was.

I couldn’t make this stuff up if I wanted to

Somehow, in the five days she was in the hospital, nobody had mentioned her delivering a baby girl. As luck would have it, her doctor was off for a few days after I was born. She saw a roster of student doctors and the occasional attending. Since she was doing so well, she would only see the doctors once a day and only briefly. Every day she looked forward to seeing her baby, but she couldn’t shake the feeling that he didn’t feel like hers. “I could have sworn I heard ‘it’s a girl’ but I was so drugged up, I thought I was hearing things,” my mother told me.

My father finally arrived the day before she was set to go home with her son. One of the nurses who had been in the operating room when I was born saw my father standing in the nursery window looking for his baby. She had been off for a few days, too. It was evening and the beginning of her shift. When she asked him his last name, she said, “Oh, Hudson. Right. You’re the proud father of a little girl.”

At first my father argued, but she insisted. A glimpse at the hospital records proved her right. In a few hours, my mother and Mrs. Olson would learn the truth; they were given the wrong babies. They were both within hours of leaving with the wrong babies. A blood test was given to both babies and fathers. I was A-positive like my father; little “Bruce” was O-Negative like his dad. A major disaster had been averted, but the emotional one was just beginning.

Had something like this happened nowadays, lawsuits would be filed and media would be called. Not so in the late 60s. My mother and father decided not to speak of the matter—ever. They never wanted me to wonder about another family that wasn’t mine but might have been. They just wanted to go forward with our lives. And until that day at the hospital, they had their wish.

The good ol’ days are gone, thank goodness

It took me a few days to process the whole thing. I was a little angry with my parents at first, but most of it was residual pain left over from the way they’d handled my cancer diagnosis. They had planned to keep that a secret, too. Thanks to thin walls at one doctor’s office, I overheard what was going on when my parents and doctor were certain I was out of earshot. I confronted my parents and doctor afraid to know everything but also feeling more scared not to know. “Am I going to die?” I remember screaming at the three of them like they were co-conspirators in some deadly plot.

Understandably, my mother was still feeling the guilt over that moment which was still fresh enough to still sting for both of us. “I never wanted to cause you anymore pain,” she said as I buried my wet face into her shoulder and hugged her.

“Its okay, Mom,” I sniffed, “but you can’t protect me from everything. I can handle it.”

I miss my parents terribly these days. They’ve both been gone for years. My mother passed away in 1997 and my father died in 2002. In my more selfish moments, I’ve wondered about the Olson family and how life with them might have been. Were they hippies like my parents or well-to-do people with more stability and affluence? Would I have fit in with their family had our mix-up never been caught? Are they both still alive today? What would it be like to have a family home to visit for the holidays instead of wondering where I’ll end up at Thanksgiving and other big days?

I don’t spend much time worrying about that. The two people who raised me, indeed, whose own blood pumps through my veins, did the best they could. They were never perfect parents, but they were my parents. I am definitely their daughter. And nobody can take that away from me ever again.

Please keep voting for me!!! I need your votes until Nov. 18th!!! Thanks! 

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Kat, this is so beautiful and heart wrenching. Thank God somebody was awake. I'm so sorry your parents are gone. I know what that feels like. If you were still in Salt Lake you would be so welcome to come for Thanksgiving. Thank you for telling this story. I hope it was cathartic. -R-
Hi Kat -

I voted for ya -- and I very much enjoyed this post. My parents are still kicking, believe it or not, and I feel blessed about that every day.

Take Care -

Something like this must mean a lot more to the fair sex than it does to men. Or maybe it is just me who is weird. I just can't see any reason to get all bent out of shape about it. Things like this happen. They've happened in the past - they'll happen in the future. Sometimes, I've no doubt, the errors don't ever get discovered; sometimes they get discovered much later.

I'm sure that the 'foster mother and father' bond nicely with 'their' new baby. And the new baby grows up loved and cared for. Isn't love and caring what it's really all about?
I think that I was switched at birth with an alien.
What a strange and interesting story about the day you were born. There's no way that could happen today, at least at the hospital where both my sons were born. The instant they came out of the womb they had a radio ID tag clamped onto the umbilical cord with my wife's information. No baby-switching there, though some days I wonder how these could possibly be my kids! Rated.
You told this story so well! I'm a fan of The Middle also, and loved last night's episode. This is a recurring theme right now. It's also on Desperate Housewives(don't judge me!) this past week.
When my first child was born, I was brought a different baby to feed. I argued several times, and the nurse just kept saying, "Now, Mom, it's normal to feel this way" and telling me she'd bring the social worker in to talk about postpartum depression. This was well past the era when moms and babies stayed in the hospital for days, and I was worried that some other woman would leave with my child. (I later realized he was such a fussy child she would have brought him back, but still.)
This is wonderful. When my daughter was born in hospital the nurse brought in my baby for a feeding. I got up, looked at the baby, and yelled: "This is not my baby!" I had to argue with the nurses...they had switched the tag on her leg......finally they believed me.
For most of my life, I have wished that this would have happened when I was born.
I wrote a blog about my life butt, the snobbishness of OS is such that it didn;'t get published, let alone appeared here.
I've often wondered why I was born into a "family" that featured nazi like control and abuse of the children and having a bastard for a father and a submissive hausfrau of a mother who never ever stepped in for ther little boy at the time.
Well, so much for my hijacking your blog about what noone gives a shit anyway.
So beautifully told, worth the EP and much more. Voted for you and I hope your dream comes true.
This is a fascinating story and I wonder how many "mistakes" just like this were made. Even more frightening, how many went unnoticed or unaccounted for. Glad you found your mother's hands in your own and were there to hold them.
This is fascinating and touching. Some people hit the lucky lottery early. Thought-provoking.
I watched The Middle last night also. It seemed improbable, but really funny. In real life, it's not. Interesting and sort of scary judging from other comments, mistakes happened with a high frequency. Rated.
Very interesting story--and you lost your parents too soon. I voted for you too.
Rated and voted! What a fascinating almost situation you had. I think I would have known something was wrong the way your mother did. There's a lot of hormones coursing through your body when you give birth. It's like being on a love high with your kid. I think if the chemicals were off, I would have sensed it. But has happened so who knows.
It's scary to think of how many more stories like this didn't get resolved. To be switched at birth with a boy...now that's interesting!

Great post!
This is an intriuging and moving post. Well done; it must be difficult to write about this hard truth in your own life. I"m glad you've realized that you love your real parents, no matter what your life with the other couple could have been. R. (And I've been voting - good luck!)
Beautifully told--thank you for sharing this!
What a story--the important part is that you made it to a loving home, and probably would have even if the mistake were not discovered. I've never had any doubt about who my parents are (I resemble them physically in scary ways), but I've grown to be quite different from them and the rest of my family. Biology is less important than the bonds you forge. You were loved by those who raised you--that's what you should value.
your on your way.....what more can i say?
I wanted to be switched at birth. Your story however, is strange and wonderful. You told it beautifully. ~r
What an incredible story. You know this has gone undiscovered for some people out there. Beautifully written too.
are you sure that you wrote this? maybe the voice of the baby boy you were switched with sent this story telepathecally to you...think about it. i can't wait for the next story..., "i was abducted by aliens, or i was switched at birth abducted by aliens, then switched back."
I agree, beautiful story. Thanks for sharing. I wonder if parents ever realize they can never protect their children from everything? I think it's just blind unconditional love.
Wow! This is so unusual. I'm just stunned. But you tell this story with a beauty of character I can really sink my mental and emotional teeth into. Very finely done.
Rated---and with a VOTE!
Amazing! And good luck with the votes!
I'm voter # 2084 this afternoon. Hope you win!
2142, I hope that you're getting closer. Everyone needs to vote like you would if Sarah Palin was running for president!
I voted for you #2145, This was a beautiful story.
My parents are still alive and well, but seeing as though I'm in Saudi and they're in Canada I have seen them once since 2007. I too voted for you, again, and will continue to do so.
gnome votes at 1.
total votes: 2341
What a touching story. When you wrote about your mother's hands I thought of my own mother's and how I love to hold her small, delicate hands. As much as I wished I'd had a different life, different parents, I love my mother and don't know what I will do without her. Thank you for making me appreciate her more. Even my father.
I'm glad you found your parents. Thank you for this moving post.
Oh, I voted for you too. Good luck!
Wow! amazing story of your genesis... rated~
Yeah that would be scary having a baby and not knowing immediately afterwards weather it was male or female.