Holly Madison on Son Forest’s NICU Scare After Birth: ‘I Spent Hours Thinking My Baby Couldn’t See’

09/22/2016 at 08:45 AM ET

Holly Madison and Forest
Jana Cruder

Holly Madison is opening up about the birth of her son, Forest Leonardo Antonio, and the “stressful” days that ensued after he was admitted into the neonatal intensive care unit.

Moments after Madison, 36, gave birth to her second child on Aug. 7, the newborn baby was swiftly taken to the NICU where he was hooked up to “a million machines.”

In a PEOPLE exclusive interview, the former Girls Next Door star recalls that medical staff “took him away to get the fluid out of his lungs. First it was the fluid, then it was jaundice, then his eyes weren’t dilating, and I spent hours thinking my baby couldn’t see.”

Holly Madison and Forest
Jana Cruder

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Madison, who is also mom to 3-year-old daughter Rainbow Aurora and married to 42-year-old events company owner Pasquale Rotella, says the three days after her son’s birth were “stressful.”

But after doctors deemed the now 6-week-old perfectly healthy, Madison and Rotella were able to bring their baby home.

Holly Madison and Forest
Jana Cruder

Now although Madison says the first few days were “a super emotional time,” the experience made motherhood even more meaningful. “It was such a relief,” says Madison.

In the almost two months since Forest’s birth, Madison says her “sweet” son is bonding well with the family, and big sister Rainbow has “been great.”

Holly Madison and Forest
Jana Cruder

And now that Madison has both a boy and a girl, she notes one comical difference between the two. “Diaper changes are way harder with a boy,” Madison says with a laugh. “I’m getting hosed down on a regular basis!”

For more from Holly Madison, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

— Aili Nahas

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Showing 24 comments

Jacquie on

well if you are getting hosed down daily wouldn’t you think you cover it the first time after it happened , are you just dumb?

Jacquie on

YOU sound like an airhead……first time you got hosed wouldn’t you think to cover the second time?

Claire on

He’s so cute!

Why do people always say that about boys? I had 2 and it never happened once. My niece, however, pooped on my hand. When it’s not your kid, it’s somehow a little grosser. Maybe because she wasn’t 3 weeks old when everything’s adorable…

Jenn on

sweet

Peachy on

Oh God, they really should start calling that poor girl Aurora instead of Rainbow. She’s going to be teased mercilessly in school.

Amy on

He’s a cutie. Congrats.

Desertmama on

This girl is such an airhead! As a NICU nurse, I certainly see very concerned and worried parents on a daily basis. But he certainly was not “hooked up to a million machines,” he likely had a little retained amniotic fluid in his lungs from birth and was breathing a bit fast and required a little CPAP for a few days, which is one machine btw. Jaundice is common and he likely required a phototherapy blanket for like 2 days. But wow, she’s not a bright woman. As for getting “hosed,” generally happens once to figure it out.

elizabeth on

Rain Forest

Pauser on

@Desertmama – as a NICU nurse you are very unsympathetic & judjmental. Hope you never get stuck with an inferior caregiver like yourself.

cj on

@Pauser – I think the nurse was trying to point out that she was over dramatizing (big shock) what had transpired. I’m sure the nurses were appropriately professional with Holly when caring for the baby and dealing with the “concerned” parents.

Kathleen on

My son got my husband once with it. And one time, a perfect fountain style directly into the new box of baby wipes. But yeah, Holly, you need to cover that thing up. Certainly, she had practice with Hugh Hefner?

Shellly on

This woman is the epitomy of dumb blonde.

PCC on

Boo hoo and who cares?

Patricia Ann on

Rainbow? Really??

Deb on

Dumb as a post… Hope the dad is a little brighter or those babies don’t stand a chance.

Sophie on

Can’t believe what I’m reading in some comments. Dude, who cares what’s her daugther name? I mean, at least, she chooses an original name. And why you think kids would do bad things to her in school, like, teach your kids to don’t being assholes like you, just because someone has a different name or anything.

Black Holes on

Mean people suck – as in suck all the energy out of every situation. Negative thoughts are the first that come to your simple minds. And then you share them! YUCK YUCK YUCK YUCK YUCK YUCK YUCK YUCK YUCK YUCK YUCK YUCK YUCK YUCK is what your “friends” and unfortunate family are really thinking.

Vamanos on

It’s scary when babies are sick! My nephew was Bron yesterday and had to be in an isolation unit because his mom got shingles. He hasn’t been breastfed yet😦 God willing today they’ll be together. He’s very cute tho🙂

I like that Holly’s husband is pinching the baby’s cheeks. He looks like a nice dad.

Vamanos on

Born*

Lily on

@Peachy Why do you get to decide on someone else’s child’s name? Furthermore the aurora is the northern lights & is not a rainbow….completelyd different things. I went to school with a girl named Rainbow & she was never teased. It was who she was.

Angela on

How refreshing to see all the beauty that comes from their love ❤
Holly, is by far, a very smart, beautiful and real woman, who longed for the other love…that you only get through motherhood I.e.,
(Natural,adoption)
Cheers, and years…. To her much awaited and deserved) happy ever after

Anonymous on

Hello??? Do you think she was a Rhodes Scholar? She was Hugh Hefner’s girlfriend on the “Girls Next Door.” Were any of you expecting genius comments? Geez.

A on

My son was born 10 weeks early and had a 41 day NICU stay which required him to be on a CPAP and he was on phototherapy for a couple of days. My son was never hooked up to “a million machines”. Sounds to me like she might be over exaggerating a bit.

Ronda on

Beautiful family..Your children are gorgeous sweetie! ❤️