Seven months earlier, the denial had come easy—a simple tweet decrying the whole idea as "fake news"—but now Kim Kardashian was waffling.
Asked if reports were true that she and husband Kanye West were planning to have a fourth child, the Keeping Up With the Kardashians standout fumbled for her words. "I don't know. I don't know. I read something that it was, you know—none of that was true," she told E! News at August's Christie's x What Goes Around Comes Around 25th Anniversary Auction. "But I've been really open about it and talked about it on our show, so, I don't know."
She was somewhat ambivalent, clearly, or at least unwilling to delve into the details of what is obviously a personal decision, but revealed if she did choose to give North West, 5, Saint West, 3, and Chicago West, 11 months, a sibling, viewers would be able to watch the whole process play out. "We start filming season 16 next week, so if I think about it more and it's gonna happen, you'll definitely see it on the show," she shared. "But as of now, no."
Of course things change fast in Kardashian Land. Because not long after that equivocation, the 38-year-old reality star turned mogul and her 21-time Grammy winning husband, 41, pushed forward with plans to implant their remaining embryo in a gestational surrogate. And having held their breath for the initial weeks following the procedure, learning they were expecting a fourth child this May—Us Weekly reports that it's a boy—was far better than a stack of Cartier bracelets, a painted Hérmes Birkin and a $14 million Miami condo rolled into one.
"They love having their kids run around and be able to grow up and enjoy each other as siblings," an insider reveals to E! News. And with a handful of cousins to serve as extra playmates—Rob Kardashian's daughter Dream Kardashian turned two in November, Kylie Jenner's girl Stormi Webster marks her first birthday this February and Khloe Kardashian's True Thompson will hit that milestone two months later—the couple, says the insider, are quite simply "over the moon excited to have another child."
For most any couple, childbearing is a trying process of wait-and-see, but the stars' journey to becoming West, party of six, was even more complex. The preeclampsia and retained placenta—a condition that led to a doctor arm-deep inside her scraping out her placenta—Kim experienced with both North and Saint meant carrying another baby herself was simply not an option.
"You never know that you might not have the same type of problem that might be more serious this time. You're always taking a little bit of a chance,"obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Paul H. Crane shared on a painful 2016 episode of KUWTK that saw Kim exploring her options when it came to a third pregnancy. "There are situations where retained placenta could be life and death."
Yet despite his dire warning, and similar caution from fertility specialist Dr. Andy Huang, that reality was initially hard for Kim to come to terms with.
"I hated being pregnant," Kim shared in the April issue of Elle. "But as much as I hated it, I still wished I could have done it on my own. The control is hard at the beginning. Once you let that go, it's the best experience. I would recommend surrogacy for anybody."
Ceding control of such a crucial operation was tough for a woman so regimented she irons her children's name into their clothes and deletes the majority of her text message conversations to keep her life as streamlined as possible.
"It is frustrating, like, to not be able to do it on your own," Kim revealed on KUWTK in 2017. "It is a weird dynamic. Like I go to all the doctor's appointments and I try to be really present, but when you're not carrying it yourself it is such a fine balance of how much you're going to be in their lives. Of course I want to know ever last detail that's going on with my baby and that's super frustrating, but I really trust my surrogate and I don't want to be that person that's trying to control her every move."
To that end, the KKW Beauty mogul placed just a handful of restrictions on the woman who became like family to her during the 2017 ordeal. She requested that the gestational carrier use her doctor and deliver in the same L.A. hospital where she had welcomed North and Saint and, if at all possible, fill up mainly on healthy, organic eats.
Though, that last one was more of a suggestion, she admitted to Elle: "I straight-up told her, 'Look, I ate doughnuts every single day. If you want doughnuts and ice cream, go for it. Do whatever you feel. I'm not going to be picky like that. That's just ridiculous.'"
The pair maintained close communications for the full nine months and when the time came for Chicago's Jan. 15 arrival, Kim and older sister Kourtney Kardashian were in the delivery room with Kanye in an adjacent area playing Connect 4 with friends.
"Kim witnessed the birth and had first skin-to-skin contact when she was born," a source told E! News at the time. "Kanye was waiting behind a curtain in the room and held her immediately after Kim did."
In that moment, any fears Kim had held that she might have trouble bonding with this baby, disappeared. "All of that goes out the door, and instantly she's ours. It was such a good feeling," she would later share with Ellen DeGeneres. As she wrote on her blog, "The connection with our baby came instantly and it's as if she was with us the whole time."
While their route was by no means easy, there were certain benefits to not having to recover from labor. And Kim admitted she didn't really miss the constant nursing. "I will say, when it came to the breastfeeding time, I was like, 'Okay, this is the best decision I ever made,'" she said in May. "It's a game changer, having to not go through [nursing] every few hours. I can spend so much more time with the older kids and getting them used to the baby."
So as Kim readjusted to newborn life and strived to carve out one-on-one time with her other children, it made sense to wonder if she and Kanye were already thinking about expanding their family further. With Kim citing their gestational carrier as a dream maker it tracked that just maybe they'd already broached the subject of her signing up for another go-round.
Not quite. "They definitely aren't planning or discussing having another child yet," a pal noted to E! News in the days after Chicago's birth.
Acclimating back to sleepless nights and constant feedings not really being the time to make major life decisions, the friend insisted that talk was definitively back-burnered: "Kim always says she wants 'a million kids,' but they aren't acting on it currently."
Nor where they ready to pull the trigger, so to speak, this summer. But, the insider says, they began having conversations about what to do with their remaining stored embryo. While they hadn't come to any sort of decision, said the insider, "They definitely would want the fourth child to be close in age with the others."
That desire grew even stronger as they watched Saint take to his younger sister and increasing clan of cousins. While Kim has been open about North's struggle to adjust to life as an older sister, "Saint, every time he sees Stormi and True, he's like, 'I have a baby! Do you want to see my baby?!'" she relayed to People. "He's so obsessed with having a little sister. It is really, really cute."
Even North was coming around to the idea of another sibling, if only to keep Saint far from her collection of Vans and Alexander Wang bags.
"She's beyond jealousy now. She's just like, 'It's my world,'" Kim revealed on Ashley Graham's podcast Pretty Big Deal in October. "She said to me the other day, 'Mom…we just need to have another baby brother so that Saint can just leave me alone…so the girls can be on this side of the house and the boys can be on that side of the house.'"
With everyone on board, Kim and Kanye realized they were ready to move forward this summer, but they weren't exactly eager to have their fans keep up with every movement. While a source noted they always intended to try one more time, "the chance of it actually working is hard to know and for that reason they want to keep this very private."
As much as they would absolutely love a fourth kid, said, the source, "they really don't know if its physically going to work out. They both feel like if it's meant to be then it's meant to be and they want to take that chance and see."
That fate swung the way it did was a happy surprise at the end of what has proven to be a somewhat difficult year, with a reliably provocative Kanye airing his thoughts on how President Donald Trump speaks his mind, his increasing displeasure for Drake and even a confusing take on slavery during a TMZ Live interview that led him to speculate his wife of four years just might walk out on him.
"There was a moment where I felt like after TMZ, maybe a week after that, I felt like the energy levels were low, and I called different family members and was asking, you know, 'Was Kim thinking about leaving me after TMZ?'" he shared with The New York Times in June. "So that was a real conversation."
But while a pre-Kanye Kim wasn't one to really rock the boat with controversial viewpoints, she'll be damned if she's going to let anyone stop her man from doing so. "Look, I always say this: It takes him about four years to write a song to communicate what he wants to say. So when he tweets something in two seconds—what's going on in his mind, and what he thinks and what he's trying to say—he might not be the best communicator but he has the best heart and I know what he means," she explained on an October episode of The Messy Truth with Van Jones.
Besides, their 15-year relationship—one that started with an encounter in the early aughts and developed into a steady friendship before they crossed that platonic threshold in 2012—is far stronger than any momentary backlash.
"Kim and Kanye have a solid relationship, even with what's going on right now," a source assured E! News in May. "She loves and supports her husband. Even if they have differences in views and opinions, she knows his heart."
Because on the truly important issues, the ones that involve them and their ever-growing brood, the duo's Yeezys are in lockstep. "Family is very important to them," says the insider. "They always agreed on both wanting several kids and a big family."
And that they'll have a matching set of sons and daughters is more than they could have hoped. "Kim always wanted four kids and having two boys and two girls feels perfect," reveals another insider. "They were very happy with the entire experience the first time and are so grateful to have one more baby."
Though four may be the ultimate cut-off. "I don't think I could handle more than that. My time is spread really thin," Kim admitted to Elle. "And I think it's important that in all couples, the mom gives the husband as much attention as the kids."
And in that regard, the pair are rock solid. "Kim and Kanye are in a great place right now," a confidante shares. "They spend a lot of quality time together and with their kids." And should Kanye choose to take up his Twitter mantle again, Kim will once again stand by him, retweet finger at the ready. "They have a strong bond," says the confidante, "and always get through these episodes in a better place."