For new parents Danielle Fishel and Jensen Karp, the joy of welcoming their first baby was marred by a mentally and emotionally exhausting stay in the neonatal intensive care unit.
Fishel gave birth to her baby boy, Adler, back in June, but wasn't able to go home with her newborn for two weeks due to the presence of fluid in his lungs which necessitated a lengthy period in the NICU that proved to be a very difficult time for the new parents.
ET's Matt Cohen spoke with Fishel at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Fifth Annual Make March Matter fundraising campaign on Monday, and she opened up about her appreciation for the hospital and why helping their fundraiser was so meaningful to her.
"This hospital is important to me because my son spent 12 days here shortly after he was born in the NICU, and the doctors and nurses took such incredible care of him," Fishel shared. "But they not only took care of him, they took care of my husband and I."
"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," she recalled. "They encouraged us to learn as much as we could and ask as much as we could.
Fishel explained how the caring staff also encouraged them to "get outside every once and a while and realize that there was life outside of this, and that someday, Adler would be in that life outside this hospital with us."
Following Adler's stay in the NICU, Fishel said that the nurses who took care of them and treated their son "are still in our lives."
"They come to his little get togethers," she added. "They will hopefully be there at his first birthday party."
As frightening as the experience has been, Fishel said that she hopes to one day use the experience to teach her son some important, motivating lessons, including the fact that "he has already overcome hard things, [so] he can do hard things, 'cause he did the hardest [thing] he probably, hopefully, ever has to do in the first few days of his life."
"And that he has angels walking on this earth that looked out for him and that cared for him outside of just mommy and daddy," she added. "I can't wait to bring him here and I want him to volunteer and I want this [hospital] to be a part of his entire life's journey."