Jake and his wife, Nora, lost their newborn daughter at the hospital. Nora’s grief was too heavy, and she died too, so Jake spent years visiting her grave until a young woman appeared one day with the most shocking story he had heard.
Jake Rogers sat down on his wife Nora’s grave and looked nearby where their daughter, Hope, had been buried. Their baby died in the hospital 20 years ago, and it was the worst time of their lives.
Twenty years ago, at a hospital in Washington D.C.…
“Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Rogers, it’s a baby girl!” the nurse informed them when Nora finally finished pushing their child into the world. Both of them cheered and cried over this auspicious news. They had been waiting for years to have a baby, and this child was their beautiful miracle.
Jake sat by Nora and Hope's graves and thought about the past. | Source: Shutterstock
“Can I see her?” Nora asked breathlessly when the nurses were taking a bit too long to clean the baby up.
“Of course! Here you go,” the nurse finally placed the baby in her arms, and she squirmed cutely, settling into her mother’s bosom like the most natural thing in the world.
Jake could barely contain his emotions as he watched his wife looking at their daughter. “Thank you, darling. Thank you so much for this miracle,” he told her, but she shook her head.
“We did this together, honey. I wouldn’t have gotten through that difficult pregnancy without your help,” Nora commented, and it was true. After years of trying for a baby and having several miscarriages, Nora finally carried one baby to term. Still, she needed complete bed rest, and Jake had to support their family in many ways.
“What should we name her?” Jake asked, coming closer and hugging his wife tightly in his arms.
“I know we thought of several names already, but I don’t know if any of them fit anymore,” Nora began, pursing his lips and smelling the top of the baby’s head. “How about Hope?”
“Hope?” Jake said in wonder. “I think that's the best name for her. Hello, Hope, my darling baby girl. We’re going to love you so much.”
They welcomed the baby girl. | Source: Pexels
Nora smiled at Jake and looked back at their kid. Unfortunately, the nurse returned and announced that they had to take the baby away for a few routine tests, and Nora needed to rest from her strenuous birth.
The new mother gave her up reluctantly and fell asleep quickly. Meanwhile, Jake thought he wouldn’t be able to sleep at all, but he had been awake for a long time too. so he fell right asleep on an uncomfortable chair next to his wife’s bed.
Little did they know that they would never see their daughter again.
Jake’s tears fell as he looked at the graves of his lovely girls. Remembering that time was too painful, but someone needed to keep their memory alive.
Sadly, neither he nor Nora had many family members. That’s why starting a new family was such a big deal. But now, it was only him. Alone in the world. Sometimes, he had no idea why he didn’t perish from sadness like his wife did two years after Hope’s passing.
“Hello?” a young woman’s voice appeared out of nowhere, and Jake looked up to see her. She had to be in her 20s and was beautiful. But something about her face shocked him.
“Nora?” he asked in wonder, getting scared at the vision. I’ve finally gone insane, he thought.
The young woman looked just like Nora. | Source: Pexels
“I’m not Nora. My name is Nicole, and I wanted to talk to you,” the young woman said, and Jake frowned.
“What do you need, young lady?” he asked, looking back in sadness at the graves of his family. For a second, he had been happy, even if he had gone insane.
“I believe you are my father. Dad, I’ve finally found you,” Nicole stated, making Jake stand up suddenly.
Twenty years ago… back at the hospital…
“I’m so sorry, Mr. and Mrs. Rogers. But your baby went into an unexpected cardiac arrest. We did everything we could, but despite our best efforts, we couldn’t revive her. I’m afraid she’s gone,” the neonatal doctor revealed.
It had been several hours since the nurse took the baby awake. Jake and Nora slept soundly, and when they woke up, they wondered when they would bring her back for her first feeding. But it didn’t happen. Instead, the doctor showed up, told them the worst news imaginable, and left.
Nora looked at Jake with the most unfathomable expression. They had been so happy only a few hours ago, and now, their whole world shattered into pieces, with just a few words. How could that happen?
Nora and Jake cried at the terrible news. | Source: Pexels
“NO! That’s not possible! Bring the doctor back! He’s lying!” Nora wailed, and Jake hugged her tightly, tears falling from his face in grief too. But he couldn’t think about his pain now. He had to think about his wife and everything she had gone through over nine months.
The news of their daughter’s passing was also so unexpected because no one had indicated anything wrong when she was born. But they didn’t question the doctor. They took his word at face value and wallowed in their pain.
They should’ve questioned everything that day.
“It’s the truth,” Nicole continued. “I’m your daughter. Well, at least, that’s my theory.”
“I don’t understand. I don’t know you, young lady, and you don’t know me or my family. But my daughter died after childbirth all those years ago. Please, don’t play around with something that serious,” Jake muttered, almost getting angry.
“I would never joke about something like that. I swear. My parents are not my biological parents, but I look exactly like the picture on that woman’s grave. Didn’t you call me Nora? Isn’t that her?” Nicole continued, pointing at the picture on top of Nora’s tombstone.
She was right. She looked like a carbon copy of his late wife, but that had to be a coincidence.
Jake didn't want to believe her words. | Source: Pexels
“Maybe you’re a distant relative or something,” Jake hedged, thinking that the woman had to be a long-lost cousin or anyone else besides his dead daughter.
“I don’t think so. Look, I’m 20 years old, and I was born at the George Washington University Hospital. I already investigated thanks to my friend who is a nurse there. There were only two girls born from two couples that day. One couple was my parents, and the other was you. Jake and Nora Rogers, correct?” she checked.
“I don’t understand what you’re saying. You think you were switched at birth?” Jake asked, perplexed by the young woman’s words. “That can’t be true.”
“I’m 98% sure of it. I am almost sure that my parents’ real daughter was born sick, and they switched us. I’m even more certain of it now that I see you because I may look like the woman in the picture, but my eyes are clearly yours,” Nicole said.
“Isn’t that a crime? No doctor would do that,” Jake added, still not daring to hope for something that miraculous again.
“There’s an open police investigation into the matter now. And my parents might even go to jail for it. So much has happened since I discovered I wasn’t their biological daughter. It’s been so complicated, and it would be hard to explain. But I wanted to meet you and see if you wanted to take a DNA test to confirm what I suspect,” Nicole inquired.
The ambulance took his wife away. | Source: Pexels
“Her name was Hope. Nora and I had a horrible time getting pregnant,” Jake began, stirring the conversation away from complicated investigations and DNA testing. “She finally carried our baby to term. We named her Hope because she was the most beautiful, the most amazing baby in the world. And she died suddenly. We saw her once. We held her once.”
“I’m so sorry you went through that,” Nicole sniffed, feeling empathy for the older man’s pain.
“My wife died of sheer grief two years later. She couldn’t deal with the loss,” Jake continued. “And now you’re telling me that 20 years of pain have been for nothing? You’re Hope?”
“Yes. I know it’s hard because finding out my parents were possibly involved in the theft of a child has been such a shock, but I have to know the truth.”
“Okay, let’s do the test,” Jake stated, not knowing if it was the right idea. If this girl was wrong, then his hopes would be dashed from his grasp once again.
Eighteen years ago… at Jake and Nora’s house…
“No, baby! NO! You can’t leave me too,” Jake wept as the ambulance took his wife’s body away. She was gone. He had returned home from work and discovered her lifeless form on the couch. He hadn’t noticed that she had not eaten much in so long, and her body could not take it anymore.
They got tested at the hospital. | Source: Pexels
She had been getting treatments and pills for her depression after Hope’s death, and Jake got so immersed in his work to avoid the pain that he didn't see the signs of her decay for so long. Now, it was too late. She was gone.
“I hope you find her out there where you’re going,” Jake whispered, watching the ambulance fade into the end of the road. He could only pray that his wife was now in peace with their daughter in heaven or wherever one goes. “At least, you’re not in pain anymore,” he added.
For many months after Nora’s death, Jake thought about doing something drastic to end his life too. But something in him simply couldn’t do it. His soul wanted to keep living, even if it was an empty existence where he worked and visited their graves constantly.
But maybe, a part of him knew the truth that he would discover many years later.
Nicole and Jake were waiting at the hospital for the DNA results. Nicole introduced Jake to the detective in charge of investigating what happened. He was sure that several babies had been swapped 20 years ago because a doctor accepted brides from parents. The result would be added to the investigation as proof of the crime.
Nicole read the results. | Source: Pexels
So, this wasn’t just for them. No one knew how many babies had been exchanged, and Jake felt better knowing that they could help the officers because this was a horrible situation.
Finally, the tests came out. “Okay, here we go,” Nicole smiled at Jake before opening the envelope and reading it. “Oh my God. It’s true! We’re 99.9% related. Dad, I did find you! Finally!”
Jake grabbed the papers from her hands and read them too. His tears escaped without his knowledge, and Nicole was crying too.
Although this was a joyful situation, these results did not erase the years of pain for him and the uncertainty that Nicole lived now too. The people who raised her were now criminals, and she had missed the chance to meet her biological mother.
“My dear Hope,” Jake marveled through the tears. “Come here.” He hugged his daughter tightly for the first time since her birth, and it felt right, like coming home. Nicole cried on his shoulder and let out all her pain too.
Unfortunately, the police arrested Nicole’s parents because they confessed to everything after Nicole told them she had found her biological father. The investigation continued, although they might never discover every swapped baby unless some people came forward as Nicole did.
They visited the graves together. | Source: Pexels
In the meantime, Jake and Nicole got to know each other. They visited Nora’s grave, and the young woman had a lot to say to the mother she never knew. Jake also lamented the loss of the poor baby they buried next to her; she was the real Nicole.
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