After giving birth to a little boy named Adler last summer, actress Danielle Fishel has opened about her son's time in the NICU, or neonatal intensive care unit, and what it was like to have a child who needed that level of care at such a young age. In a recent speech at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, the Boy Meets World alum discussed that emotional time in her family's life and how she found solace in other parents.
Last June, Fishel and her husband Jensen Karp welcomed their son one month before his due date when it was discovered he had an excess of fluid on his lungs due to a congenital issue called chylorothorax, according to People. Because of his condition, little Adler spent the first two weeks of his life in the NICU to be monitored and cared for by medical experts at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. When Fishel returned to the hospital on Monday to take part in the Fifth Annual Make March Matter fundraising campaign, she shared some insight into what it's like to have a baby in the NICU. Particularly what it's like to be part of a new sort of "club" of parents who really get it.
"You never fully leave the NICU, you leave a part of you behind," Fishel said, as TODAY reported. "So any time I meet another NICU parent, I just feel like, we connect on a level that you just don’t with other people. You just can’t fully imagine what it’s like to have a kid that needs that kind of care until you’ve experienced it."
Fishel's son is now 8 months old and is growing and thriving, as she noted in her speech, but she still remembers her experience as one where both she and her husband truly felt cared for alongside their baby boy. "You know, we were emotional, we were confused, we were exhausted, we were sleeping on that tiny little bed in his room and they made sure that we felt like we had advocates, that we had answers to our questions," Fishel said, according to WFAA. "They encouraged us to learn as much as we could and ask as much as we could."
As much as she appreciated the help she received, Fishel admitted she hopes never to go back, of course, but wants to make sure to help raise funds for the NICU as a way of saying thank you. According to TODAY, she said: "It just felt like the most minor of ways I could possibly give back to a hospital that gave so much to my family, and I hope we never end up here again but if we do, I’ll look forward to it, because I know that means Adler is getting the best possible care."
No parent wants their child to be in the NICU, but if it does happen it's good to know there are people out there who want to help. And parents, as Fishel highlighted, who understand.