kids

'Four years ago, I had quintuplets. These are the questions I'm asked the most - answered.'

My name is Kim Tucci and just over four years ago, I found out I was expecting naturally conceived quintuplets. Just to confirm, that’s five babiesFive. 

I already had three other children – Kurt, who’s now 12, Ava who’s eight, and Indiana who’s six – and I was hoping for just “one more” baby to join our brood. I had the shock of my life when I went for an ultrasound and heard five heartbeats flickering away. Keith, Penelope, Beatrix, Allie and Tiffany will be four years old this week. My book, I’ve had 8 babies and if there’s one thing I’ve learned… will be released on 28th of January 2020 on the quintuplets birthday!

As a mum of eight children, I get asked the same questions by lots of different people, so I thought I’d provide a little window into my unique life by answering the five most commonly asked ones. Here’s what it’s really like to have eight kids.

‘Do you ever sleep?’

This has to be the most asked question out of them all. In the early days when the quintuplets were newborns, they would wake up at all different times of the night for a bottle. This made it hard to ever have any downtime. Luckily, we had a lot of help in the first 12 months so I was able to get a good night sleep most of the time. When the quintuplets turned one, we were able to establish an excellent sleep routine and not long after that, they were all sleeping through the night.

With that said, Penelope suffers from Coeliac disease and she often cries throughout the night if her stomach is upset. She is on a gluten-free diet and that helps keep her pain-free at night time. The stricter we are with her diet, the better she sleeps.

ADVERTISEMENT

Watch: Kim Tucci on toilet training her quintuplets. Post continues after video.

Video via SBS Insight

Luckily the quintuplets follow each other’s behaviour, so if one goes to sleep straight away then the others follow suit and go straight to bed as well. But then again, if one wakes up in the night, they all wake up to see what’s going on!

‘How much does it cost to feed your family?’

I have learned how to shop smart when it comes to shopping for a large family. I plan our meals in advance and only shop for what we need to prevent wastage. I go to multiple shops to make sure I am getting the best deal on groceries and household items. A weekly shop will cost around $200 for our family, give or take.

I always buy clearance items such as milk and freeze them until we need to use them. I also get my Nan and Mum to look out for any good markdowns at their local shopping centres for me.

Per week, we typically go through:

8 loaves of bread

2 large boxes of Weetbix

1kg of cheese

10L of milk

60+ pieces of fruit

‘What toll did your quintuplet pregnancy have on your body?’

The toll on my body from the pregnancy with the quintuplets has been one that I never expected to have. I thought after the pregnancy was over my body would soon return to its former glory, but it never did! I don’t think I will ever feel as strong as I did before the pregnancy with the quins.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Look how big my belly got towards the end of the pregnancy! One little kick would turn Into a chain reaction of rolls and movements. My belly would bleed the skin became so fine and stretched. After I had the babies I was wheeled back to my room, I felt so alone and defeated. As the days went by the “baby blues” set in and I was inconsolable. I would cry so hard no one could understand what I was saying. It was heartbreaking not being able to be there for my babies when I felt they needed me the most. My belly was deflated and I was left with so many stretch marks and loose skin. If I wore low cut pants my belly would hang over and if I wore high cut pants I would have to cram my belly all in to fit, I was so uncomfortable. I had chronic pain for months, If I tried to lift my children it left me in pain and I felt I had no core strength left. I knew I wasn’t strong enough to be the mother I had to be if I didn’t get my muscles repaired. I wanted to run around with my kids and be a fit and healthy mum. Sometimes it’s okay to put YOU first ❤️ it’s nothing to feel guilty about! The past year has taught me not to judge unless you have been in another persons shoes. It’s time to stop tearing each other down on the decisions we make as mothers, parenting styles and body and image! It’s each to their own ???? I respect that whole heartedly now. Much love to all the mummies out there. ???? #27weekspregnant #Quintuplets #5babies #HumptyDumpty #Love #Pregnancy #4girls1boy

A post shared by Kimberley (@surprisedbyfive) on

ADVERTISEMENT

My stomach stretched so much at the end of the pregnancy that it would bleed every day from the constant scratching of my stretched skin. I was lucky with my first three pregnancies, I only had a few small stretch marks but being pregnant with five babies is a whole new ball game. I remember looking down at my deflated stomach only a few days after the birth of the quintuplets and just thinking ” OMG!” What I can say now is this tiger definitely earned her stripes.

‘How do you cope?’

The simple answer to this question is: I don’t have a choice! Regardless of how I feel I need to keep marching on for the sake of my children. I don’t always cope, I’m not a super mum at all. I often break down and cry, sometimes I am so exhausted I can’t even put it into words.

There is always food that needs cooking, washing that needs to be done, a house that needs to be cleaned and an army of children that need their mum to try and keep it together.

I had a very low point about six months ago. I was so overwhelmed by everything in my life and at the time I was standing next to the sink trying to wash my dishes. Before I knew it the tears were rolling down my cheeks, I was just so tired. Kurt, Aiva and Indi all jumped up and without a word just started helping me clean. I think they all knew that I needed them at that very moment.

‘Did you breastfeed?’

I pumped my milk for my firstborn for three months, I breastfed Aiva for over two years and I had a really low milk supply when Indiana was born. I decided to formula feed a week after her birth because the stress of producing enough milk was upsetting me. I had every intention of breastfeeding the quintuplets but my supply was just so low that it was taking a mental and physical toll on my body.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I have been absent from social media lately, I haven’t been writing as much as usual, I feel so empty at times it’s like I have nothing else to give. In the last couple of months, I have been to three funerals to say goodbye to three people taken way too soon. It’s just been blow after blow. To be honest, my heart can’t take one more farewell. parenting is hard, right? I woke up at 3 am to one of the kids peeing all over me, all I wanted was 8 freaking hours of decent sleep, I would even settle for 5 at this stage. To make matters worse I had just changed my sheets yesterday and today’s weather is so bad I couldn’t get anything dry. I’m usually pretty optimistic and try to power through my daily tasks but this morning I stood by the kitchen sink and just cried. There is nothing worse than waking up to what feels like a tremendous weight on your shoulders. I knew that it would be hard to juggle eight kids, a husband, a dog and a household but man, this is not like I had ever imagined. I often daydream away while I’m driving about just driving away, a road trip or just momentarily leaving my responsibility behind. But then, I walk into the room and the quins all scream mummy with such excited. The one thing I want to run away from is the only thing keeping me going. I love my kids but I need a break. Who feels me? #tryingtokeepittogether

A post shared by Kimberley (@surprisedbyfive) on

ADVERTISEMENT

I asked if the quintuplets could be fed donor breast milk while they were in Special Care Nursery as I believed that it would give them all a good chance at helping build their immunity after being born ten weeks early.

Within six weeks they were all home, and they had no major complications. They were breastfed after that!

You can follow Kim Tucci on Facebook and Instagram, and buy her book, I’ve had 8 babies and if there’s one thing I’ve learned… here or in bookstores (RRP $19.99).

x
00:00 / ???