The tiniest member of the supersized Duggar family is home at last.
Josie Brooklyn Duggar, a baby born 15 weeks premature on Dec. 10, 2009 to reality TV stars Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar, was allowed to leave the hospital on Thursday after nearly six months of ongoing medical care. She now weighs 7 pounds, 6 ounces and is thriving.
"We're so happy that she's doing so well," Michelle Duggar told People.com. "She's finally home, home, home."
Josie weighed just 1 pound, 6 ounces when she was born by emergency C-section. She remained hospitalized until April 6, when the Duggars were thrilled to bring her home. But just two days later, she had to be rushed back to the neonatal intensive care unit of Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock, Ark. Serious constipation caused the baby girl’s vital signs to plummet.
She returned to constant, round-the-clock care until doctors could identify the cause of her gastrointestinal problems.
"Her digestive issues have been linked to lactose intolerance," Dr. Robert Arrington, co-director of the hospital's neonatal intensive care, told People.com. "We are happy that she is doing so well and fully expect her to continue to thrive. Today, as she's leaving, she looks like a full-term baby."
Staying 'close to the hospital'
The Duggars’ family life is regularly chronicled in the TLC reality series “19 Kids and Counting,” and Josie's homecoming will be featured on the series premiere on Aug. 10.
The Duggars’ oldest adult sons have been mowing the lawn and taking care of the house during the family’s six-month absence. Their oldest daughters have been helping with their younger siblings when mom and dad must spend long hours at the hospital.
For the time being, the family will stay in Little Rock close to Josie's doctors until they feel comfortable moving all the way back home.
"We're going to wait and see how it all goes," Michelle Duggar told People.com. "We're going to take it easy and hang out close to the hospital."