Content note: This story contains discussion of miscarriage and graphic discussion of childbirth.
“I was really heavily bleeding”
Kim carried her own babies with kids number one and two (North and Saint) but medical complications meant that she had to use a gestational carrier for Chicago and Psalm — or risk losing her life.
Those complications were foreshadowed very early in her pregnancy with North, when it appeared that she had lost the couple’s baby.
Speaking on the All’s Fair with Laura Wasser podcast, Kim explained that she had been bleeding heavily and a doctor’s visit brought terrible news and a booking for a dilation and curettage (D and C).
“I thought I had a miscarriage because I was really heavily bleeding and in so much pain in Miami … I went in … and there was no heartbeat and he said, ‘You had a miscarriage’,” Kim explained.
“There’s a heartbeat!”
A devastated Kim and her doctor then made plans for a D and C the following day.
MORE Stages of Pregnancy
“My doctor said, ‘Come in the morning. We’ll do it Thanksgiving night so no one will see you’.”
Amazingly things changed overnight, although it’s not really clear what actually occurred. What we do know is that in early pregnancy, the gestational sac can sometimes be too small for the heartbeat to be detected.
‘Thanksgiving morning I came in to do [the D and C] and he said, ‘There’s a heartbeat!’. I was like, ‘Oh my God. This is a sign. It’s Thanksgiving morning’,” she continued. “We ended up obviously having North.”
“It’s what people die from during childbirth”
Kim went into lots of detail about her pregnancies and births, explaining clearly why she is now unable to carry her own babies despite wanting to grow her family.
“I had a really bad pregnancy [with North]. I had preeclampsia. I delivered six weeks early. She was four pounds,” Kim explained.
“I had something called placenta accreta where the placenta grows [onto] your uterus. It’s what people die from during childbirth, so you have to get the placenta out within a certain amount of time and you can internally bleed.”
“There’s no choice — and this is so graphic and gross — but he had to literally cut the placenta off with his hands, like with his fingernails, inside of you,” she continued. “It left a hole in my uterus. That muscle doesn’t grow back, so I could not get pregnant with Saint.”
“I’ve seen it all, but I’ve never seen this”
Amazingly, Kim was keen to go back for round two in the quest for a sibling for North.
“Luckily after I had North I did go through the process of getting embryos. [We then] tried to get pregnant for about a year and a half and could not. And so they said I would probably not get pregnant, so I used one of the embryos and was able to get pregnant with Saint.”
Conception achieved, Kim was nowhere near out of the woods.
“The same condition happened,” she said. “It was a little worse the second time. My mom, I remember her being in the delivery room and just saying ‘I’ve seen it all, but I’ve never seen this’.”
“They were about to do a hysterectomy but they were able to get the placenta out just in time. I ended up needing five surgeries in the next year and half to internally fix the damage that was done, which was really crazy and really traumatic.”
Keen to have more babies, it quickly became clear that she and Kanye would have to come up with a plan B.
“I asked the doctor [about further IVF] and he said ‘it would be malpractice if I put an embryo inside of you, because you will for sure, having gone through these conditions twice, you’re going to need your uterus removed. It’s not fair to do to your body’.”
What followed was using Kim and Kanye’s stored embryos and some assistance from two different gestational carriers to carry and deliver Chicago and Psalm.
Where there’s a will — and a fat wallet — there’s a way!