As celebrity super-couple Nick and Vanessa Lachey gear up to host the 2019 Miss U.S.A. pageant on May 2nd, they are sharing new, private disclosures about their personal tragedy when they almost lost their youngest son right after he was born.
People reports about Vanessa's revealing words. "Speaking to E! News‘ Carissa Culiner for Mom2Mom, the 'Top Chef Jr.' host, 38, discussed the complications after her son — who was born 10 weeks premature following an umbilical-cord prolapse — contracted RSV and was hospitalized."
Vanessa was in the hospital on bedrest starting when she was only 29 weeks pregnant. Shortly thereafter, her water broke and she was rushed into emergency surgery due to the cord prolapse.
She calls that time “the most memorable and impactful year of her life.”
“Umbilical cord prolapse is a complication that occurs prior to or during delivery of the baby.
"In a prolapse, the umbilical cord drops (prolapses) through the open cervix into the vagina ahead of the baby. The cord can then become trapped against the baby's body during delivery.”
It is a life-threatening emergency.
In Vanessa's case, the condition prompted the immediate delivery of Phoenix Robert - ten weeks early. In trying to save their son's life, the Lacheys unwittingly opened him up to a series of other life-threatening complications common among babies born so early.
Vanessa and Nick went public back in 2017 shortly after their baby boy, Phoenix Robert was born prematurely, then came down with a rare and life-threatening illness shortly after he was born.
“When I gave birth to my youngest, Phoenix, at 30 weeks, I knew he would need extra care." The mom of three shared.
“But I wasn’t aware that he was at an increased risk for a common respiratory virus called #RSV due to his under-developed lungs and immature immune system.
“So when he was hospitalized for six days for severe RSV disease, I was shocked and terrified. I wish I had known more about RSV before this traumatic experience.”
According to the CDC, "Respiratory syncytial (sin-SISH-uhl) virus, or RSV, is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Most people recover in a week or two, but RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults.
"In fact, RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) and pneumonia (infection of the lungs) in children younger than 1 year of age in the United States. It is also a significant cause of respiratory illness in older adults."
"At the time, Vanessa shared a photo of Phoenix, now two and an 'incredibly amazing and healthy' little boy, wrapped up in a blanket, wearing a hospital gown, with a breathing tube up his nose."
Vanessa has opened up further about what she calls "the most challenging part of her marriage" to singer Nick Lachey and it's something that neither she or her husband has gotten over yet.
“He was in the hospital for seven days in the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit),” revealed the former Miss Teen USA. “[We] could have almost lost him.”
"Did you know that while every baby is at risk of contracting #RSV, babies born prematurely – like my son Phoenix – are at an increased risk for developing a severe RSV infection?
"In fact, preterm infants are 2-5 times as likely as full-term infants to be admitted to the hospital for RSV-related symptoms in their first six months of life.
"I’ve joined forces with AstraZeneca to encourage parents to talk to their pediatricians about if their child may be at risk and ways they can help prevent the spread of RSV disease this season. More at the link in my bio and at RSVProtection.com. ❤️"
Because of her experience, Vanessa has decided to join forces with a leading pharmaceutical company to help raise awareness of the sometimes life-threatening illness that strikes the very youngest kids.
She hopes to spare other parents the trauma, worry, and fear that she went through due to not understanding the risks and nature of RSV.
"Today was my due date for this little guy, March 1, 2017. But he decided to show up 10 weeks early, Dec 24, 2016... our little Christmas miracle. Because he was premature, I knew it would be a tough road, but I didn’t know how tough during RSV season!
"Babies who are premature or who have lung or heart conditions are considered high risk and need to be extra careful during cold/flu/RSV season! People always forget about RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus). It’s like the flu’s evil cousin!
"It’s an extremely contagious virus and almost ALL babies by two-years-old will get it! This photo was taken last year, this time. Phoenix was 1. He got RSV and we were scared for his life. I encourage ALL you Mommies & Daddies to read up on it and ask your doctors if your baby is a high-risk baby.
"I hope you never have to experience what we did. Sending Love & Light and the power of knowledge! I will never give up talking about it, spreading the word and sharing my story. There’s a link in my bio to a website that I hope you will find helpful! ❤️"
And how did the family of five get through those dramatic seven days when Phoenix' life was hanging in the balance? "Thankfully, I have such a supportive husband who was like, 'I got the other two, you focus on Phoenix,' " Vanessa Lachey recalled of husband Nick.