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It’s always helpful to ask your mum friends for advice. After all, they’ve been there and done that and they can share with you their honest advice on everything parenting related – from the baby products they swear by to managing life in general when you have a small human to look after.
So, imagine you knew someone who was a mother of eight children – yes, you read that correctly: EIGHT! – and you could ask them anything about their parenthood? Surely, they would have some absolute gems to offer up!
We spoke to Australian mother Kim Tucci, 30 who in 2016, gave birth to naturally conceived quintuplets, a one in 55 million chance.
Kim and her husband already had three children, making them parents of eight!
Kim now lives in Perth with her husband, Vaughn, and their children, Kurt, 12, Aiva, eight, Indiana, six, and four-year-old quintuplets, Keith, Allie, Penelope, Tiffany and Beatrix.
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In 2016, Kim Tucci gave birth to quintuplets – four girls and one boy.
Take us back to 2016. You already had three little ones and then your quintuplets arrived. What were those first few days and weeks like?
I think a huge part of me was in denial, it was really hard to comprehend the gravity of the situation in the first few days after finding out I was pregnant with quintuplets. The weeks that followed were full of morning sickness that would last all-day, looking back at that time now, I don’t know how I survived being so sick all the time.
It didn’t take long for me to realise that I had to just pull myself together and be strong for the sake of my unborn children. I found a strength I never knew I had and that made the pregnancy easier mentally.
What help did you have in the early days and what help do you have now?
We had so much help in the early days, it was an amazing experience knowing that so many people who hadn’t met us before wanted to help us with the quintuplets. When Keith, Penelope, Beatrix, Allie and Tiffany turned one we realised it was time to start cutting down on help outside of the home. After establishing a good routine with our children, we haven’t needed much help over the last three years.
What was your reaction when you saw five heartbeats at the ultrasound?
It was a mind-blowing moment hearing five heartbeats flickering away during my first ultrasound when I found out I was expecting five babies! I had to ask the sonographer what the term was for so many babies and I was so shocked when she said quintuplets!
What was your pregnancy like?
My pregnancy with the quintuplets was an experience I will never forget. From the intense, all day and night sickness in the early stages of pregnancy to having a belly full of arms and legs!
I relied on my husband to look after me and our other children as I just couldn’t do it myself during the pregnancy. At the end of the pregnancy, I was so uncomfortable! My belly was so big I could barely sit down or lie down due to all the pain and pressure on my internal organs. I had a beautiful friend that would come and see me every day in the last 10 days of the pregnancy to give me a massage.
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Kim Tucci’s advice is solid… I mean, she has had EIGHT babies!
How did you manage to find time to sleep with five newborns?
We were incredibly lucky that we had help at night with the quintuplets in the early days. Without that help, I would have lost my mind as I don’t cope well when I don’t get enough sleep.
These days we run our house with military precision, everyone eats, baths, plays and sleeps at the same time. We are also teaching the quintuplets to be very independent with getting themselves dressed and ready to start the day. Each day is a bit like Groundhog Day in our home but that’s the easiest way to run our household as the quintuplets know what to expect each day.
What did you consider to be your must-have baby product?
The most essential baby product that I can’t recommend enough is the 4moms Mamaroo. It was such an amazing swing for helping calm an unsettled newborn or five!
What would be your number one piece of advice for new mums?
It would be to not sweat the small stuff, tomorrow will bring a new day with a fresh start. I am also a huge advocate for self-love, if you’re tired sleep and if you need some time out make sure you take it. I can assure you that the world won’t end while you take an hour break.
Kim wants her book to make your parenting life a little simpler, a little cheaper and a lot more fun.
Can you tell us about your new book, I’ve had 8 babies, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned…
My love for writing began when I started my Surprised by Five Facebook blog in 2015. I always knew I wanted to write a book and it’s an amazing feeling seeing it come to life, I can’t wait to share it with the world!
I feel like I have really climbed the ladder when it comes to finding hacks to make life easier as a parent. As a mother of eight, I have had to find the easiest solutions to all the common questions we ask ourselves as parents. If I can help make life a little easier for any mums or dads out there then this book has well and truly served its purpose.
How difficult is it for you to split your time and give each child individual attention?
It is near impossible to give each child enough individual time. If I gave each child one hour of quality one on one time, that would be eight hours of my day gone. I try to be as present as I can be when we have family time to keep a good balance in our home. Luckily, the quintuplets enjoy each other’s attention so it isn’t as demanding on me.
What have been some of your most memorable parenting highs and lows?
I suffered from postnatal depression when the quintuplets were babies, it was a dark time in my life and looking back now I know I wasn’t coping with the new dynamics of my life.
My parenting highs would be getting through toilet training, watching my children grow and bond with one another and just surviving the last four years without too many battle scars!
Pregnancy with one child can be hard on a woman’s body, let alone carrying five children. How is your health?
I had a lot of chronic pain after I had the quintuplets, I went to see my gynaecologist and he said that a hysterectomy might help alleviate my pain. I suffer from endometriosis and adhesions, since having the hysterectomy my pain is mostly gone; although I have needed a few operations in the last few years to stop my bladder and bowel from sticking together. The recovery wasn’t too bad but I did struggle with being on bed rest after the surgery.
It was a very difficult decision to make, not because I wanted more children but because I didn’t want the option taken away from me.
My health is pretty good at the moment; I am currently going through menopause but apart from that life is looking up!
What self-care do you do for you?
I take time out if I am run down and tired. I love a good Netflix series to binge or if I am really stressed out I like to listen to classical music and just zone out. I try and be as social as possible as well because I know if I don’t my mental health will suffer and let’s be honest, everyone parent deserves some time out now and again!
I’ve had 8 babies and if there’s one thing I’ve learned… by Kim Tucci (Plum, RRP $19.99)