Surprised by five: Perth mum pregnant with quintuplets

Kim's belly at 12 weeks, and her early ultrasound.
Kim's belly at 12 weeks, and her early ultrasound.  Photo: Supplied/Facebook

"I was lying down, but my legs started shaking and all I could do was laugh. Then I asked them to please check again."

This is how soon-to-be-mum of multiples Kim described the moment last month when she discovered she was pregnant with quintuplets.

It was the 18th of August and 26-year-old Kim, who does not want her surname revealed for privacy reasons, was scheduled for an early pregnancy ultrasound after experiencing some bleeding. 

She suspected she might be pregnant with twins as blood tests showed that her hormone levels were much higher than usual for early pregnancy and were climbing fast, but never imagined she was carrying five babies.

Initially sonographers could only see two babies, but after moving Kim to a second machine for a more detailed view five tiny heartbeats were seen.

"I called my husband, but he didn't believe me at first. He rushed to the ultrasound place and was so excited by the time he arrived."

Kim is now almost 12 weeks pregnant and all five babies, who were conceived without the assistance of fertility treatment, are doing well and measuring slightly ahead in dates. 

The quintuplets each have their own gestational sac. Experts say the chances of a quintuplet pregnancy such as this is about one in 60 million.

Kim, who moved back to Perth from Sydney last week to be near family support, said doctors had told her there had been no quintuplets born in Western Australia since the 1980s.

There have been less than 15 sets of quintuplets born across Australia since the 1960s.

Kim and her husband already have two daughters together, aged two and four, and were keen to fall pregnant again in an attempt to have a boy.

However after six unsuccessful months of trying to conceive another child, Kim underwent a laparoscopy to determine the cause of a pain on the side of her stomach.

She was found to have endometriosis, the markers for polycystic ovary syndrome were present, and a scar from an earlier caesarean section had attached to her bowel.

"With all these issues I thought we would have to have IVF to fall pregnant again, so I was very surprised when I discovered I was pregnant at the end of July," Kim said.

"I'm not sure if somehow the laparoscopy stimulated ovulation, but it was after having the procedure that I fell pregnant with quintuplets."

While being pregnant with quintuplets is exciting, it is also a stressful time for Kim and her family.

Kim has been admitted to hospital three times: twice with dehydration due to extreme morning sickness, and once with an elevated heart rate.

This prompted the move to Perth without her husband so Kim could be near her parents and extended family for much needed support.

"The girls are missing their daddy terribly, but I was in and out of hospital and my husband was having to take too much time off work to look after me because we didn't have family support in Sydney," she said.

"I needed to move back to be near my parents, and my husband will pack everything up and organise to move over when he can find work here."

Also adding to Kim's worry is the knowledge that the babies, who will be delivered at Perth's King Edward Memorial Hospital for Women, are likely to arrive as early as 28 weeks.

"Knowing we are going to have five premature babies to care for is something I am still trying to get my head around at the moment," she said.

With five babies on their way, Kim is hopeful at least one will be a son.

"We haven't found out the genders yet, but surely we won't get five more girls," she laughed.

"The lady who did my ultrasound last week has been doing them for 40 years and she told us at least one of the babies looks as though it is a boy, but it was too early to confirm yet."

Kim this week started a Facebook page to document her quintuplet pregnancy, and is drawing strength from hearing stories of other families high order multiples.

"It's nice to have support and understanding from others who know what we are going through," she said.

You can follow Kim's quintuplets journey on her Facebook page, Surprised by Five.