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Eight children under one roof: The daily life of a super-mum.

Canon
Thanks to our brand partner, Canon

As the mother of eight children, including quintuplets, Kim Tucci’s life is governed by numbers.

Seven; the time the quins wake up. Ten; the number of little eyes staring at her eagerly awaiting breakfast. Three; the litres of milk the family will go through by nighttime. 20; the number of nappies that will be changed. 12; the number of volunteers who help her wash, cook, clean and play her way through the day, until 10:01 when she can finally shower in peace. And finally, 347,626; the number of followers eagerly awaiting her Facebook posts.

But beyond the numbers lie countless little moments. Moments in which things slow down just for a second, just long enough for the Perth super-mum to remember another number…one in 55 million; the odds of those five little babies coming into the world.

It’s then that the 27-year-old reaches for the camera. For her, photos are a way of keeping up with a life that always seems to be sprinting ahead.

“There’s so much to do in our household that it’s so easy just to forget the simple things,” Kim told Mamamia. “We’re so tired, so run off our feet most days that if we didn’t take photos I doubt we’d even remember them.”

One she’ll never forget, though, the moment an ultrasound revealed five little heartbeats.

mother of quintuplets
The Tuccis. Image: Kelly Brown.
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Already mother to three children - a son from a previous relationship and two young daughters with her carpenter husband Vaughn - the former makeup artist was trying for another boy to join her tight-knit little brood.

In July 2015, just a week after ovulation and eager for a result, she took an at-home pregnancy test. And there they were: those two thrilling little lines.

The result looked dark and clear for so early on, Kim thought, but beyond that nothing seemed unusual; nothing to indicate that not only would she receive the son she wanted, but four more daughters as well.

When doctors shared the news, the overwhelm was instant.

“I asked them to double check, because I didn't believe them,” she said. “I think I was in total shock. The first thing I thought was, ‘I can't do this’.”

“But I just had to put on my big-girl pants and move past it, really. I didn't really have a choice. Or at least that's the way I felt.”

mother of quintuplets
Play time. Image: Surprised by Five.

The months that followed were plagued with challenges and complications. On top of the agonising back pain and 12 trips to the bathroom each night, Kim had to force herself to consume 6000 calories daily (roughly three times normal) just to sustain the pregnancy.

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In the latter stages she also suffered tachycardia - rapid heart beat - which had doctors fearing she could be in danger of heart failure.

“The biggest challenge was having to slow down, really. I had to have a lot of bed-rest, and it was really difficult for me because I've always been a really hands-on with my other children [now 10, six and three],” she said. “That, and I think just the pressure of incubating five babies was pretty huge.”

Despite that pressure, those little babies finally arrived on January 28, 2016, at just shy of 30 weeks. Tiffany, Ally, Penelope, Beatrix and Keith were helped into the world by Dr Jan Dickinson at King Edward Memorial Hospital, in a birth that took roughly two minutes from the first delivery to the last.

“It was overwhelming,” Kim said. “Dr Dickinson was pulling each baby out, and it was just strange kind of seeing that they were real, if that makes sense. It was almost like a dream before that.”

mother of quintuplets
"It was almost like a dream." Image: Surprised by Five.

Fifteen months on, Kim and her unlikely family are famous. Famous not only from the initial, international media coverage around the quintuplets' birth, but from the ongoing catalogue Kim keeps of their lives on social media.

Hundreds of thousands of people dip in to the Surprised by Five Facebook page every week to see what's happening in the Tucci's Baldivis home.

And almost daily she'll share a glimpse through the lens of her camera.

Precious photographs of her children packed into a pram, or the home-cooked meal she's lovingly prepared for them, of the time they bravely ventured out to meet Santa, of the doctor's waiting room when all five caught colds.

Of the many laughs, and many, many struggles.

“I'll have a vent [online] and it's nice to know there's other parents out there that just get it,” she said. “I do feel really alone sometimes, and in that moment it's comforting to feel the support of others.”

mother of quintuplets
Vaughn's first cuddles. Image: Surprised by Five.

Thanks to her husband Vaughn's love of the camera and her popularity with her followers, Kim sometimes even makes an appearance within the photographs (something most mums will appreciate as a rare thing).

And while the page was begun for that community and - she freely admits - in the hope that she might be offered much-needed resources, this page also serves as the ultimate family album.

One that the children will eventually look back on to revisit the hazy chaos of their early years.

Until then, for Kim, it serves as a reminder of a simple notion that is all too easily forgotten when eight lives are so intertwined with your own...

“Just to slow down, to enjoy this time, because it goes so quickly.”

How well could you handle quintuplets? Tell us below.

This content was created with thanks to our brand partner Canon

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