Allyson Felix Recounts Being in NICU After Child Birth: My Daughter 'Was Just Over 3 Pounds'

The Olympian shares on an episode of PEOPLE's podcast Me Becoming Mom that her daughter Camryn was in the hospital for a month after birth

Allyson Felix
Photo: Allyson Felix/Instagram

Allyson Felix is opening up about her experience visiting her daughter in the neonatal intensive care unit after giving birth.

In an episode of PEOPLE's podcast Me Becoming Mom, the 36-year-old athlete recalls the birth of her daughter Camryn, now 3, and what it was like having to leave her baby in the hospital for a month after the delivery.

At 32 weeks pregnant, Felix was admitted to the hospital after being diagnosed with severe preeclampsia at a routine doctor's appointment. Felix says what followed were the "scariest two days of her life," which included an emergency cesarean section.

Felix tells host Zoë Ruderman, Head of Digital at PEOPLE, that baby Camryn was "just over 3 pounds" when she held her for the first time.

"She was itty-bitty and she had all the tubes and there was an IV. And when they're that small it had to go through her head," she explains. "And so, obviously she's hooked up to all these different things. And I would soon learn what all of that meant."

Subscribe to our new 12-episode weekly podcast, Me Becoming Mom, to hear celebrity moms open up exclusively to PEOPLE about their extraordinary roads to motherhood.

The mom of one says she was in the hospital for "about eight days" while her baby remained in the NICU for a month.

"I think that's probably the worst. Going home from the hospital without a baby. It's like, this is just wrong," she adds.

"I was learning that the NICU is just such a heavy place," Felix shares. "And we're in a pod and we have our own room, but there's also all these other families that are in this situation. And you're seeing the severity of some people's situation. There are some good days and there are some days where parents are losing children."

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Allyson Felix and her daughter. Steph Chambers/Getty

Elsewhere in the episode, Felix recounts the "traumatic" moment she and her daughter were separated after the birth.

"They did the surgery. And I remember breaking down shortly after because they had to take Camryn away right away. I barely got to see her face," she says. "I remember there was this quick moment where they put her on my shoulder and I remember we had made the decision that my husband would go with her. And so I was talking with him for a second, I was like, 'I didn't get to see her face. I didn't really get to see it. ' "

"And it was this traumatic moment for me where I had imagined this skin-to-skin moment and this beautiful thing and it was like, okay, I just had a baby, but where is she? Is she okay? It just wasn't how I had imagined it to be."

The 12-episode weekly Me Becoming Mom podcast explores the various roads to motherhood through different interviews with both celebrity guests and experts in the field. Topics on the show include IVF, adoption, surrogacy, single parenthood, same-sex couples, home births, pregnancy loss, unexpected and surprising birth stories, among other subjects.

Guests on the show include Alyssa Milano, Hoda Kotb, Jillian Michaels, Shawn Johnson East and more.

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