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Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar, stars of TLC's "18 Kids and Counting," welcomed daughter Josie Brooklyn, weighing 1 lb., 6 oz., at 6:27 p.m. Thursday.
By
TODAY contributor
updated 12/11/2009 6:46:46 PM ET 2009-12-11T23:46:46

Make that “19 Kids and Counting” — but not before something of a scare due to an emergency C-section and a very premature birth.

Michelle Duggar, America’s most famous supermom and star of the TLC reality series “18 Kids and Counting” (which is due for a title change), gave birth to her 19th child Thursday evening.

The infant wasn’t due until March 18, but after Michelle Duggar seemingly recovered from a weekend attack of gallstones, she was rushed into an emergency C-section Thursday at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Josie Brooklyn Duggar checked in at 6:27 p.m. She weighed 1 pound, 6 ounces and was reported to be resting in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit. A family spokesman told People magazine that the infant was expected to be fine.

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“The most important thing right now is for mom and baby Josie to get as much rest as possible,” a TLC spokesman said in a statement issued to People. “The family is grateful for all the prayers and well-wishes during their recovery.”

Hospital officials said Friday that Duggar had been diagnosed with preeclampsia, a life-threatening, pregnancy-related disease in which the mother's blood pressure can rise dangeriously high.

Grandchild 1, then child 19
The birth comes just two months after Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar became grandparents for the first time. On Oct. 9, their eldest son, Josh, and his wife, Anna, welcomed their first child, Mackynzie Renee.

The Duggars are devout Baptists and members of the Quiverfull movement, a Christian group that advocates having as many children as God gives them. They home-school all of their children and say that they live debt-free. They have always said that each child is a blessing and they would never try to avoid having more.

Images: The Duggar bunch

The family’s 18th member, Jordyn-Grace Makiya, was born just under a year ago, on Dec. 18, 2008. Josie Brooklyn is the ninth girl in the family, which also includes 10 boys.

In the Duggar family, younger children pair with older siblings in a buddy system, and the older girls help raise the infants.

After Michelle was hospitalized last weekend with the gallstone attack, she gave an interview to the Religion News Service. One of the questions she was asked was: “If you were ever advised not to have any more children for health reasons, would you consider some sort of family planning?”

“I don’t know,” she responded. “I’m not at that place. I guess we would just cross that bridge when we got there. If there was something that were life threatening for me, that would be a matter of prayer.”

There was no word from the family or the hospital what implications Josie’s premature birth might have for future pregnancies.

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