Danielle Fishel Opens Up About Bond She Has With Other NICU Parents

“It’s a club you never want to join, but if you find yourself in it, it is one of the most compassionate clubs that you’ll ever be a part of.”
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profile picture of Nehal Aggarwal
By Nehal Aggarwal, Editor
Published March 4, 2020
danielle fishel speaks at L.A. children's hospital about the bond she has with other NICU parents
Image: Rich Fury / Getty Images

Having baby sent to the neonatal intensive care unit just after giving birth can be heartbreaking for any parent. While you know the NICU is the best place for baby, surrounding by doctors and nurses who are doing everything they can to help, you also just wish you could take baby home now. It can be a really hard place to be for any new parent, including former Boy Meets World star Danielle Fishel, who earlier this week spoke candidly about her son’s unexpected NICU journey.

At an event for the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles kicking off their annual Make March Matter fundraising campaign, Fishel gave a speech on her son Adler’s stay in their NICU. Adler was born last summer, four weeks before Fishel’s due date, with fluid in his lungs and spent time in two separate NICUs before coming home, the longer of which was at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

“I’m already emotional,” she stated early on in her speech, going on to explain that she had a “completely uneventful pregnancy” until Adler’s birth, so she was shocked when she went into labor and her OB/GYN, upon performing an ultrasound, noticed there was fluid around Adler’s lungs.

During her speech, she recalled, with tears in her eyes, being “terrified, overwhelmed and utterly exhausted, but said that the staff at the hospital helped them through the following 12 days, even making homemade signs with Adler’s name “so it felt more like a nursery and less like a hospital” and encouraging Fishel and her husband, comedian Jensen Karp, to step out for some fresh air.

Now Adler, at almost nine months old, is doing well and is an “absolute joy,” Fishel told TODAY Parents in an interview. “He weighs 18 pounds, has three teeth…and he laughs constantly.” While he’s cleared of all fluid, Adler does have a low bone density, which needs to be monitored as he takes his first steps, she told the outlet.

While Adler is happy and doing well, Fishel believes the bond she developed with a “club” of NICU parents will stick with her for life. “You never fully leave the NICU, you leave a part of you behind,” she told TODAY Parents. “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…It’s a club you never want to join, but if you find yourself in it, it is one of the most compassionate clubs that you’ll ever be a part of.”

Having your little one in the NICU can be really hard. If you or someone you know is going through the experience, read our tips, from parents who’ve been there, to help get through it.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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