Vanessa Lachey Gives Emotional Look at Son's Premature Birth

From the outside, Nick and Vanessa Lachey have the perfect little family, but the couple revealed that their journey has been a scary and emotional one.

On Monday’s episode of Dancing With the Stars, the 36-year-old broke down as she explained that she underwent emergency surgery when son Phoenix Robert arrived 10 weeks early in December 2016.

“I was in the hospital on bedrest and then my water broke. I was only 29 weeks,” the mother of three told pro partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy in the couple’s pre-performance package.

Vanessa and Nick said their other children — son Camden John, 5, and daughter Brooklyn Elisabeth, 2 — were easy, full-term deliveries. Vanessa was due sometime in spring 2017 and the couple expected another simple, healthy birth, but life had other plans.

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“I’ll never forget. She called me in a panic: ‘They’re taking me in for an emergency surgery. Get here as quick as you can,’ “ husband and former 98° singer Nick Lachey, who is also a DWTS contestant, recalled. “I think as a man, you want to believe you can protect your kids, protect your wife. I felt so helpless.”

Vanessa vividly remembers the moments surrounding her emergency c-section: “I was on the operating bed and I looked up and I didn’t know a single face and I remembered thinking ‘I hope the baby’s okay and don’t worry about me. Just make him okay.’”

She told Chmerkovskiy that her song choice for the week, sung by her husband Nick, gave the couple strength during the six weeks they spent in the NICU with Phoenix. “This song got us through some really tough times and helped us bond even closer as a family,” she said.

For the show's Most Memorable Year episode this season, Vanessa chose 2017, "the year that our family was complete." During her rumba with Chmerkovskiy, she held back tears and glided her way to a 24/30 score from the judges.

Husband Nick opted for the year 2011 as his most memorable, the year he married Vanessa. The pop singer recreated the couple's first dance with his pro partner Peta Murgatroyd and earned a 22/30 for the number.

Photo credit: Instagram / @vanessalachey