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Video: Duggars would ‘welcome’ 20th child

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    MEREDITH VIEIRA, co-host: We are back now at 8:10 with an exclusive look at the newest member of one of our favorite families. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar welcomed their 19th child into the world back in December. Josie Brooklyn was born more than three months premature. Well, now she's back at home and doing remarkably well. And this morning the entire family is speaking out for the first time since Josie came home from the hospital. Hey, guys, good morning to all of you.

    Duggar Family: Good morning.

    VIEIRA: When Josie was born back in December, she weighed one pound, six ounces. We talked to you the following January and at that point she was still on a ventilator, still not out of the woods by any means. It was still touch and go. She's now eight months old, just got out of the hospital little over a month ago. How is she doing today? Michelle :

    Ms. MICHELLE DUGGAR: She is doing remarkable. She weighs 11 pounds and six ounces, and so she's gained 10 pounds since she was born, and she is just doing wonderful. We are so grateful.

    VIEIRA: I know -- I know, Jim Bob , that she was released from the hospital in April but had to go back in because her vital signs started to fall off, and now they've discovered that she is lactose intolerant. How is her eating now?

    Mr. JIM BOB DUGGAR: She's doing very well in her eating. She's on some formula that is lactose-free and her health is just thriving. So we're really grateful to God.

    VIEIRA: Does she still need a ventilator at all, or oxygen?

    Ms. M. DUGGAR: She uses supplemental oxygen when she's sleeping, but usually when she's awake now she's weaned off the oxygen to the point that she doesn't need it unless she's sleeping.

    VIEIRA: So prognosis, moving forward, what are doctors telling you, Jim Bob ?

    Mr. JIM BOB DUGGAR: Well, she is doing very well. They say by the time she's two years old she should catch up with someone, developmentally, that's, you know, two years old. So it's amazing how well she's doing, and we're just so thankful to God that she is just thriving and doing well.

    VIEIRA: Yeah, Michelle , you had some scares of yourself last year. You had a gallstone, I think, attack, and then you developed high blood pressure , pre-eclampsia. How are you doing? Are you back to normal?

    Ms. M. DUGGAR: I am, and I am so thankful. I definitely feel much better than I did seven and a half months ago with pre-eclampsia. And so my blood pressure is great now and I feel good. I'm really thankful. So just so grateful to have Josie . I think we just watched a miracle take place before our very eyes as she went through her third trimester right in front of our eyes. It was amazing.

    VIEIRA: You know, Jill , I want to bring you in. During the past eight months, a lot of the family -- most of the family , actually, temporarily relocated to a residence closer to the hospital to be near mom and Josie . Now that the entire family is back home, how are you doing? How are you getting back to normal?

    Ms. JILL DUGGAR: It's amazing. Everybody's loving being back home, and the time in Little Rock was good. We were able to spend a lot of good family time together, and -- but being back home is -- there's no place like home . So we are loving it and getting back into the swing of things here.

    VIEIRA: And, Josiah , how is Josie fitting into the family ?

    Mr. JOSIAH DUGGAR: She's fitting in pretty well. She's -- it's kind of weird bringing her back, though, you know, so small.

    VIEIRA: Yeah.

    Mr. JOSIAH DUGGAR: It -- yeah, it's very -- yeah, very interesting.

    VIEIRA: You know, before I let you go, Michelle , I read an article recently where you said you would consider having more children. Given the fact that this has been such a stressful time for you and your family , I'm sure there are people out there who might feel that that's irresponsible. What do you say to them?

    Ms. M. DUGGAR: Well, you know, I think when we look at Josie -- we were just talking about it this morning, and I thought, you know, even knowing that we went through the challenge that we did, we would do it again in the fact that here we have this precious gift and it's a miracle. I mean, it really is. And I spoke with a mother who was in the NICU the same time we were and as they were leaving the room where we were at, she came over and she spoke to me and she said, `This is my second baby that's been in the NICU .' And I think, you know, the precious life that we see here is not a coincidence. I just know it is a miracle. And so I don't take that for granted. I know that God is the one who gives life. And I 'm just so grateful and thankful, and we would welcome another if he saw fit, but we'll wait and see.

    VIEIRA: All right. Well, Michelle and Jim Bob , enjoy Josie now that she is home. Thank you so much .

By
TODAY contributor
updated 8/3/2010 9:43:22 AM ET 2010-08-03T13:43:22

Surrounded by 18 children and one grandchild, Michelle Duggar dandled her newest baby on her knee and said she would risk another premature birth to add a 20th child to the brood she shares with husband Jim Bob.

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“When we look at Josie — we were just talking about it this morning — and I thought, even knowing that we went through the challenge that we did, we would do it again,” the supermom told TODAY’s Meredith Vieira Tuesday from the family home in Springdale, Ark.

“The precious life that we see here is not a coincidence,” she added. “I just know that it is a miracle. I don’t take that for granted. I know that God is the one who gives life, and I’m just so grateful and thankful. We would welcome another if He saw fit, but we’ll wait and see.”

Difficult birth
Michelle Duggar experienced gall-bladder problems and a dangerous case of preeclampsia while pregnant with Josie. To save Michelle’s life, doctors in one of Arkansas’ premier hospitals delivered Josie 3½ months prematurely in early December. The infant weighed 1 pound, 6 ounces. Her head was the size of a cue ball.

Michelle rapidly recovered, but Josie endured a series of medical emergencies, including a perforated bowel. She was finally sent home from Arkansas Children’s Hospital in April, but was rushed back with digestive problems that turned out to be lactose intolerance.

Josie was released again in June, more than seven months after her birth — and, the Duggars said Tuesday, has been thriving ever since.

“She is doing remarkable,” Michelle said of Josie, whose head was festooned with a huge pink bow and headband. “She weighs 11 pounds and 6 ounces, so she’s gained 10 pounds since she was born, and she’s doing wonderful. We are so grateful.”

Duggars Q&A: What’s the hardest part of having 19 kids?

The Duggars are conservative Christians who believe in having as many children as possible. The older girls take care of the smaller children, and all are home-schooled in their 7,000-square-foot home. The family stars in the TLC reality show “19 Kids and Counting,” which kicks off its fifth season Tuesday night.

Jim Bob Duggar agreed that Josie is doing very well. “They say by the time she’s 2 years old, she should catch up with someone developmentally who’s 2 years old. It’s amazing how well she’s doing. We’re just so thankful to God that she is thriving and doing well,” he told Vieira.

The infant still breathes supplemental oxygen when she’s sleeping, but the family said doctors say she’s developing normally.

Michelle confirmed that her health is back to normal. “I definitely feel much better than I did seven and a half months ago with preeclampsia. My blood pressure is great now, and I feel good. I’m really thankful; just so grateful to have Josie,” she said.

No place like home
While Josie was in the hospital, the family moved to Little Rock to be closer to her. The two oldest sons stayed at home to take care of the family’s real estate and used-car businesses. The family expressed delight at being back in their home.

“Everybody’s loving being back home,” Jill Duggar, 18, said. “The time in Little Rock was good; we were able to spend a lot of good family time together. But being back home — there’s no place like home. So we are loving it and getting back into the swing of things here.”

Josiah Duggar, 13, said Josie, “is fitting in pretty well.”

The oldest Duggar, Josh, is 22 and married to Anna, whose first child, Mackynzie, is two months older than Josie. Twins Jana and John-David, 20, recently returned from a church mission to Asia, the first time they had been so far away from home.

All the Duggar children have names beginning with the letter J. They are Josh, 22; twins Jana and John-David, 20; Jill, 18; Jessa, 17; Jinger, 16; Joseph, 15; Josiah, 13; Joy-Anna, 12; twins Jedidiah and Jeremiah, 11; Jason, 9; James, 8; Justin, 7; Jackson, 5; Johannah, 4; Jennifer, 2; Jordyn-Grace, 1; and Josie Brooklyn, 8 months.

Michelle, who likes to say that having too many children would be like having too many flowers, repeatedly expressed her gratitude at having Josie home and healthy.

“We have this precious gift, and it’s a miracle,” she said.

New episodes of “19 Kids and Counting” air Tuesdays at 9 pm ET on TLC.

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