Parents

Nick and Vanessa Lachey open up about preemie son: 'There's strength in sharing'

Vanessa and Nick Lachey may be competing against one another for the mirror ball trophy on "Dancing With the Stars" this season, but they are a unified couple at home.

This was never more necessary than during a terrifying time in 2017 when Vanessa, who was due to have their third child together, gave birth prematurely to little Phoenix Robert.

"I was in the hospital on bed rest, and then my water broke," Vanessa, 36, explained on the show Monday, where she performed a dance (with pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy) inspired by the experience. Phoenix was due in spring 2017, but instead he emerged at just 29 weeks, in December.

2 months and counting...... #phoenixrobertlachey

A post shared by Nick Lachey (@nicklachey) on

Ultimately Phoenix spent six weeks in NICU with his mom by his side, while dad looked after Camden John (now 5) and Brooklyn Elisabeth (now 2). Camden also visited his little brother in the hospital.

❤️👦🏻👧🏼👶🏻❤️😩

A post shared by Vanessa Lachey (@vanessalachey) on

"It's scary; there’s beeps and alarms and this and that and tubes and it's like you don’t want to … it’s a hard thing," Nick, 43, told reporters after Monday's show. "There’s just no two ways about it."

Still, as he noted, things have turned out all right.

Happy to say #MarchMadness looks a little different this year for me. #GoBearcats 🐾👶🏻

A post shared by Nick Lachey (@nicklachey) on

"What I've found is so many people go through similar experiences and there is strength in sharing those stories," he said. "It's one of the hardest things I've gone through, but honestly it's OK in the end and it's important to share that."

"Kids in general bring you closer together as a couple and anything you go through and you overcome, whatever that struggle might be, I think strengthens you in the end and you lean on each other," he added.

Follow Randee Dawn on Twitter.

TOP