During an early pregnancy scan, the doctor “just started counting, 1 … 2 … 3 … 4 … 5. And I said ‘what?’ and she said, ‘yep, there’s five heartbeats’ and I was in absolute shock”.
Kim already had three other children – currently aged ten, four and six.
The quintuplets are now aged sixteen months. Kim says nothing could’ve prepared her for the past year.
As for bonding with her babies? It’s only just started. Now.
“It was really hard for me over the last year because I’ve had to learn to share all the ‘first moments’. Even letting strangers [who volunteer] into the house was really difficult for me. I’m quite a private person. So, I think it’s taken until now to really build that bond.”
And she believes that lack of bonding began with the birth.
“It was really overwhelming.
“There were so many people in the room. I think there was between 30 and 50 people in the room, so giving birth is meant to be a very intimate experience and I didn’t get that this time. I got healthy babies and I understand the need for all the medical staff.
“[But] it’s hard to relax in that situation.”
Even though Kim tried with every inch of her very full body.
“I was wheeled into theatre and I just felt different that morning. It was very serious. I was ready to take on whatever the world was going to throw at me.
“Then all of a sudden the babies were being pulled out one after the other and it was just overwhelming that I’d got to that point … It felt really, really surreal.”
Before Kim could bond with her babies, she felt she had to bond with her own body again. A body that had been through nine months of acute strain, fatigue and change. She’d suffered significant heart complications and her back has never been the same after carrying the extra pregnancy weight.
But it was her tummy, inside and out, that caused Kim the most distress.
“My skin! My belly was so big [that] my skin would bleed and then to give birth and to look at my body, it felt destroyed in a sense. It didn’t look like me anymore.
“I had a ‘tummy tuck’ to help with my muscles. I had a lot of pain and separation. My relationship is better with my body but at the same time it’s not the same as it was.
“I had a breast lift. The doctor also did some liposuction on the top of my abdo area.”
And while other women may judge Kim for her recent cosmetic procedures, she feels like it’s something she had to do to help her move forward.
“Change is something I find really difficult to cope with.
“It was really difficult to go through the pregnancy.”
Kim’s life seems as overwhelming as most of us can only imagine. But there’s one thing that gets her through every day, her puppy.
“She’s beautiful and I find that she’s like therapy for me.
“She’s so good with the babies … the babies crawl on her, walk on her, pull her ears and she doesn’t even lift her head.
“If I’ve had a really bad day she comes and sits with me and she doesn’t judge. She’s just lovely.”
A small comfort for a woman who’s been through pregnancy fives times over, all at once. Plus another three. Heavens.
Being the mother of quintuplets is as exhausting as it sounds. Kim Tucci sounds grateful but … tired. Really, really tired.
For a woman who doesn’t like change, her situation seems rather ironic. Kim’s life has been thrown upside down. Everything has changed rather dramatically: her body, her relationships, her parenting techniques, her friendships and her sleep.
The only thing that remains the same is the universal truth that multiple babies are given to sometimes the most unexpected but most capable mothers who never cease to rise to the challenge in whatever way they were always meant to.
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Canon Master photographer Kelly Brown has been a professional baby photographer for the best part of a decade. Here are our baby photography tips to help your capture beautiful images of your little ones: Make sure your focus is on their eyes, get down to their level and for babies moving about use a fast shutter speed to make sure you get at least one great shot. Let them go and and be natural to capture their little personalities. Above all, leave your camera out somewhere handy so you’re ready when you want to capture a moment.