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The "Real Housewives of Atlanta" star Kandi Burruss welcomed her daughter Blaze through a surrogate.
She was going through surrogacy at the same time as her boss Andy Cohen and didn't know it.
Burruss said she shared her story on TV in hopes of helping other parents.
Kandi Burruss, a star of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta," knows that every pregnancy, conception, and child is a different ball game.
Burruss - a mom to a 17-year-old daughter, Riley; a 5-year-old son, Ace; and a nearly 2-year-old daughter, Blaze - has experienced motherhood through a conventional pregnancy, IVF, and surrogacy.
On the latest episode of People's "Me Becoming Mom" podcast, Burruss, 45, said she'd wanted to have a child with her husband, Todd Tucker, before she turned 40. That's when the couple turned to IVF.
"We both had daughters coming into our marriage, but this was for the both of us, us together, having a child together," she said.
Burruss said IVF was difficult for her
Through IVF, the couple welcomed Ace into the world. Burruss describes the process as an emotional roller coaster.
"This is something physically that you've really got to want to do. This is not anything that you just do on a whim," Burruss said, recalling the toll it took on her body and psyche.
At points in the process she had multiple viable embryos, and two embryos were implanted. But she said that only one took, and she wouldn't be having the twins she'd expected.
She said that the moment she held her baby boy, she knew all the angst and heartache she'd experienced through her IVF journey was worth it.
"It's just like, when you work so hard for something or someone, in this instance, to finally see him, to finally be able to hear his little voice, to see his little fingers and toes, like, that's the best part about having a baby!" she said.
After IVF, Burruss and Tucker explored surrogacy
When Burruss and her husband were ready to try again, they knew that IVF would be even more difficult, and they turned to surrogacy.
"Real Housewives" viewers saw this play out on the show. Burruss said she was proud to have played a part in normalizing surrogacy.
"I feel like it did help a lot of people," she told People. "I had a lot of people reach out to me after that and said that it helped them. And then, you know, it's kind of normalized it for a lot of people who felt like it was something that they wanted to do but they felt scared to try it because of the judgment of others."
Burruss said that when she found her surrogate, Shadina Blunt - herself a mom of three - she felt a connection.
Blunt received two embryos, and Burruss and her husband were expecting twins again. Then only one embryo stayed.
"You're super happy that you do have a healthy one, but then you're super sad that you lost one," she said.
Burruss said that she was the first one to touch the baby after she was born and that she was given a room in the hospital for them to bond during those initial hours. She said her surrogate pumped milk to feed Blaze for about a month, until the new parents switched to formula.
Andy Cohen kept her calm through the process
Waiting to see how the pregnancy would progress was stressful, but Burruss received some advice from the "Real Housewives" boss Andy Cohen - without knowing that he was going through the same process at the same time.
"He just calmed my nerves about the whole situation," Burruss said. She added that Cohen initially said it was a friend, not him, who was expecting a baby through surrogacy.
Burruss said that when Blaze was born, she and her family were thrilled. And she said they still kept in touch with their surrogate.
Burruss also made one thing very clear in the interview: Parents who welcome babies via surrogacy are just as valid as parents who carry, and Blaze is as much a part of her as Ace and Riley are.
Read the original article on Insider