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.”
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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.
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.
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