Rob Huebel Opens Up About Welcoming His First Child at Just 26 Weeks: 'It's Really Such a Miracle'

Rob Huebel and his wife Holly welcomed their first child, daughter Holden, on Sept. 28, after his wife went into pre-term labor

Rob Huebel
Photo: Courtesy Rob Huebel

Rob Huebel is the first to admit that he’s one tired dad — but it’s a moment he’s been waiting 117 days to say.

Huebel and his wife Holly welcomed their first child, daughter Holden, on Sept. 28 after his wife went into pre-term labor. Holden was born at 26 weeks, weighing only 1 lb., 15 oz. She spent 117 days in the NICU at Cedars-Sinai.

“We just got her home about two weeks ago, so I am fully exhausted,” he proudly tells PEOPLE.

The Transparent actor, 47, opened up to PEOPLE about his experience spending the first few months with his newborn daughter in the NICU — and how Holden’s doing now that she’s finally home.


PEOPLE: Giving birth at 26 weeks is not something you think to prepare for when you’re pregnant. What was Holly’s pregnancy like?

Rob: Her pregnancy was going great. It was super easy and normal. It’s really hard looking back to pinpoint what could have caused her to go into preterm labor. The doctors just don’t know.

We were out shopping and she just started bleeding so I rushed her to the hospital. They took us right up to labor and delivery and after they stopped the bleeding they told us she might need to be on bedrest for the rest of her pregnancy. Just as we were coming to terms with her being on bedrest, Holly started having contractions — and they never stopped.

PEOPLE: Going into labor so early must have been frightening. What was the moment like when Holden was born?

Rob: My wife yelled, ‘She’s perfect!’ Which I thought was pretty awesome. I can’t talk about it without getting emotional. As soon as she was born, a team from the NICU took her and started running tests to make sure she was breathing on her own. They were like, ‘Dad, come with us,’ and they whisked her upstairs to the NICU. It was literally like 40 people slow dancing down the hallway surrounding this baby. So I just followed them. I was with her the whole time.

They put her in a little isolette, which looks like an incubator. They basically just recreate the womb. We actually weren’t allowed to hold her for about two weeks because she was just too little. You can reach in and kind of touch her and put your hand on her, but they wouldn’t let you take her out or hold her.

PEOPLE: What was it like when you were finally able to hold her for the first time?

Rob: It’s the best feeling in the whole world. My only thought was I hope I don’t get hot tears on this baby. We were able to visit her 24/7, so my wife would go in the morning and I would go at night because we wanted her to have as much time with our child as possible.


PEOPLE: How emotionally tolling was it on you to leave your baby at the hospital every night for 117 days?

Rob: It never got easy. It’s really, really hard and it’s emotionally really draining because every instinct that you have is to stay there and to be with your child.

It never got easier, especially toward the end, you just want to get out of there. So it’s really hard to leave. We thought about doing a jailbreak, but ended up opting against it.

PEOPLE: Did Holden have any milestone moments while in the NICU?

Rob: One of the biggest moments was when Holden was big enough that my wife was able to nurse her. The breastfeeding thing was a huge victory. But she was always super strong and feisty. She very quickly got a reputation in the NICU for having very strong opinions about what she liked and what she didn’t like.

PEOPLE: And then you were finally told you could take her home.

Rob: That brought on a whole different rush of emotions and fears — it becomes a whole new type of terror. You become comfortable with a certain type of terror when you’re in the NICU because you’re so stressed out and so scared about the progress of the baby. The new fear is that I don’t want to screw it up now. I don’t want to sneeze on her or something.

They do a little graduation for you when you leave. They put her in a little stroller and you go to the doctors down the hallway and you wave to all the other babies! The other babies wave, they know how to wave. A lot of babies don’t know how to wave, which I think is really rude.

I think I drove about 10 miles an hour on the way home. I really thought I was going to get pulled over for going too slow. And it’s Los Angeles, so of course people were honking at me. I was like, ‘I’ve got my baby in the car! We just spent 117 days in the NICU!’ It’s really crazy.

Courtesy Rob Huebel

PEOPLE: Now that she’s home, what’s your favorite thing about being a dad?

Rob: There’s so much, and I’m such a young inexperienced dad. My favorite thing is really how much closer my wife and I became throughout this experience.

When you’re expecting a baby, there’s a lot you can plan for, but when it happens early you just have to jump into it. Whatever plans you had, everything goes out the window. It’s just brought us so much closer together, on a level that I did not understand or expect at all. My wife has just been such a badass about the whole thing. She’s exhausted all the time, but she’s just been a real rockstar.

PEOPLE: How is Holden doing?

Rob: She’s doing really great. At the end of the day, it’s really such a miracle. You see this tiny little vulnerable helpless thing come out. They’re so small. And now we have this baby that’s almost 10 lbs. and she’s able to do everything a full term baby can do. It just really takes your breath away.

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