Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar welcomed their 19th child Josie Brooklyn into the world on December 10, 2009; she weighed a miniscule 1 lb. 6 ounces.
“Jim Bob told me how small she was. He said, ‘Michelle, her head is the size of a pool ball,’ Michelle emotionally recounted. “I was thinking I’m thankful she was alive, but I’m scared for her life.”
On Sunday night’s newest episode of 19 Kids and Counting on TLC, the family took viewers through the dramatic journey of Josie’s birth.
“I was surprised, very surprised. I thought maybe it would not happen because of my age,” Michelle explained of her 19th pregnancy. “I was thrilled.” But while in her 24th week of pregnancy, Michelle was rushed to Mercy Hospital in Rogers, Arkansas for severe internal pains. Complications eventually led Michelle to be transferred three hours away to a hospital in Little Rock.
“We were all concerned because we didn’t know if the baby could survive at 24 weeks,” one of the Duggar daughters said. Michelle expressed her concern saying, “Definitely I realized this was a very serious situation.”
While the 11 oldest children went on a preplanned trip to El Salvador, Jim Bob stayed at the hospital with Michelle where her condition started to worsen. “The life of my baby is at stake. If the people that are assisting are not able to get that under control for me,” Michelle said of her rising blood pressure. “I could lose my baby and I could lose my life.”
Doctors diagnosed Michelle with pre-eclampsia, which is the most common of the dangerous pregnancy complications. “We’re hoping for the best and praying for the best, but also preparing for the worst,” Jim Bob said.
Unable to get Michelle’s blood pressure down, the doctors decided to deliver baby Josie via c-section, four months prematurely.
“I don’t have a clue what the next months are going to be like for Josie and for us, but I have hope,” Michelle said. “I do have hope.”
Although a baby’s chance of survival after being born at a stage like Josie’s is 80 percent, the Duggars remain in high spirits. “Jim Bob and I definitely have realized this is a new season of life,” Michelle said. “We’ve never experienced anything like this before or walked through anything like this with one of our children.”