Two mothers worked together to make a perfect decision after they discovered that their daughters were mixed-up at birth.
Caterina and Melissa were born just 15 minutes apart in the same hospital on December 31, 1998, but the nurses who were celebrating the New Year accidentally swapped them.
The mothers had noted to staff that their babies were wearing clothes they didn’t recognize but their doubts were cast aside by nurses who told them that only their outfits had been mixed up.
But when Marinella saw Caterina at nursery after 3 years and noted her incredible likeness to her two other daughters, she said, “I recognized Caterina’s mother, Gisella Fodera, from the maternity ward and got suspicious — 15 days later we did DNA tests and my mind went blank.”
‘It was too surreal, too impossible.’
The mothers acted in a very intelligent way in a bad situation that could have turned much worse. They both were against the idea of trading back children, Gisella highlighted the fact that it was difficult to trade after raising a daughter for three years and then handing her back because of a ‘simple mistake.’
But they worked on it and both mothers came to an agreement that it was best to gradually make the switch. Melissa and Caterina spent time with both parents and at one point both families lived under the same roof.
But the most difficult time came when the families spent six months apart to give the girls the chance to adjust to their biological families and new lifestyle.
‘We two mothers cried on the phone to each other each day and after three months decided we couldn’t resist, and we met and promised never to separate,’ explained Marinella. ‘After that, I saw Melissa every day — how could I not? I breastfed her, I taught her her first words. We had to share everything.’
Time proved to be the biggest healer as both families grew closer and the girls began to celebrate big occasions together, as well as sitting next to each other in school.
When the girls reached the age of eight and were old enough to understand the mix-up, they learned they were actually swapped at birth. Melissa said she has no recollection of her life before the age of three and said she will always see Marinella as a ‘second mother.’
Gisella also agreed that she and Melissa feel like true mother and daughter today, the girls still faced one issue that has not been solved, their registered names. The girls decided to keep the names they had always used to make matters simpler.
Their complete story will feature in a boon ‘Sisters Forever’, by Mauro Caporiccio, and the film has been created by Italy’s RAI TV, that’s all set to air later this week.