Actress Danielle Fishel said she suffered from ‘mom guilt’ after her baby’s health problems led to multiple hospital visits.
Fishel, the star of the 1990s TV series Boy Meets World, gave birth to her son, Adler Lawrence, four weeks early in June, after it was revealed he had fluid in his lungs.
Adler was on breast milk for 11 days, until doctors discovered it was causing more fluid to build up, and the infant was put on a specialized formula.
Two months after her son was released from the hospital, Fishel, 38, was given the green light to try breastfeeding again, but an X-ray revealed the fluid was building back up again.
In an interview with Good Morning America, Fishel says Adler is doing much better but said she still feels guilty that ‘a very natural thing’ from her own body was causing her son’s condition to worsen.
Boy Meets World star Danielle Fishel, 38, gave birth to her son, Adler Lawrence, four weeks early in June. Pictured: Lawrence speaking with Good Morning America’s Kayna Whitworth
Adler was diagnosed with chylothorax, a rare disorder in which fluid builds up in the lungs. He wasn’t allowed to drink breast milk after doctors discovered it was worsening his condition. Pictured: Fishel, left, and her son Adler, right
‘It never occurred to me that because my water broke so early that something else could be going on,’ Fishel told correspondent Kayna Whitworth.
Doctors at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles diagnosed little Alder with chylothorax.
Chylothorax is a rare disorder in which lymphatic fluid builds up in the space between the chest wall and lungs.
This can make it difficult to breathe and causes sufferers to have severe coughs and chest pain, tumor and congenital syndromes, according to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
The condition is so rare that its unknown how many newborns have the condition, but about 10 percent of cases are fatal, according to a 2019 article.
Adler was in the NICU for 11 days on small does of breast milk to give his lungs time to develop.
Fishel told Good Morning America that doctors had to stop after it was discovered the fatty substances in the milk were causing more fluid to build up.
‘I wanted to breastfeed so badly and it was a very emotional experience to feel like this very natural thing that I’m supposed to be able to feed my baby is partially what’s harming him,’ she said.
Doctors put Adler on specialized formula given through a feeding tube and finally discharged him 10 days later, after a total 21-day stay in the NICU.
Fishel said, despite these health issues, she was elated to have her son out of the hospital and home again.
After 21 days in the NICU, Adler was discharged and not allowed to try breast milk again until August. Pictured: Fishel and her husband being discharged from the NICU
In September, an X-ray revealed the fluid was building up again, leading Fishel to feel ‘mom guilt’. Pictured: Fishel with Adler
‘There wasn’t anything that didn’t feel like the most beautiful, the most amazing, the most special because even if we didn’t sleep at all, it’s like, but he’s home,’ she said.
In August, when Adler was about six weeks old, doctors said Fishel could try feeding him breast milk again.
However, an X-ray in September revealed he had fluid in his lungs again.
In an accompanying essay with the interview, she says she still suffers from ‘mom guilt’ over this.
‘The guilt arrived with gusto. “Why is my milk hurting my child? Is my baby allergic to me?”‘ Fishel wrote.
‘None of us escape mom-guilt. It’s there whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or work outside the house.
‘But one there is one thing I know for certain each and every mother has in common: We are trying our absolute best 100 [percent] of the time.’