Michelle Duggar and her husband Jim Bob are expecting their 20th child, the couple revealed exclusively to TODAY.
"We are so excited," Michelle Duggar told TODAY Moms before the broadcast. Now three and a half months pregnant, the mom of 19 says she was actually surprised to discover that she's expecting again at 45. "I was not thinking that God would give us another one, and we are just so grateful."
The super-sized family stars in its own reality TV show, “19 Kids and Counting,” on TLC (guess they will have to update the title!).
When the Duggars visited TODAY last June, it was the longest Michelle had gone without a pregnancy in more than 20 years. Backstage, she told TODAY Moms that her baby days might be over – and she was fine with that. But the Duggars have always said they leave their family planning up to God, eschewing birth control.
“When we look at Josie … even knowing that we went through the challenge that we did, we would do it again,” Michelle told TODAY’s Meredith Vieira last year from the family home in Springdale, Ark.
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Michelle Duggar’s last pregnancy was fraught with danger. She suffered from gall-bladder problems as well as preeclampsia. In order to save her life, doctors delivered daughter Josie three and a half months prematurely – she weighed only one pound, six ounces at birth, and endured a series of health emergencies, including a perforated bowel. Josie eventually went home with the rest of the Duggar family, and is now a healthy toddler who will celebrate her second birthday in December.
“The precious life that we see here is not a coincidence,” Michelle Duggar told TODAY last summer. “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.”
Michelle told TODAY Moms that she's over her first-trimester morning sickness, has been indulging her cravings for dill pickles, and is feeling great. She said her doctors have given her the green light for this pregnancy, and so far she hasn't had any health worries. For the past year, she said, she's been working out five or six days a week: "I'm really in better shape than I've been in 20 years."
The Duggars' 19 children, who range in age from 23 years to 23 months, are: Joshua, Jana, John-David, Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph, Josiah, Joy-Anna, Jedidiah, Jeremiah, Jason, James, Justin, Jackson, Johannah, Jennifer, Jordyn-Grace, Josie.
The kids thought family patriarch Jim Bob was joking when he broke the news that they would have a new brother or sister, Michelle said. They lined the family up on the staircase for a photo, she recalled, and Jim Bob said, "Smile -- Mom's going to have another baby!"
"Their mouths dropped," Michelle said, laughing at the memory. "They all looked at me to see if he was joking."
Jackson, age 7, immediately started rooting for another boy. They'll find out the gender around Christmas, Michelle told TODAY Moms.
Jim Bob told TODAY Moms that he's thrilled for their 20th child. "Michelle and I both feel like some of the most blessed parents in the world. Our children are so sweet... we are so grateful to God."
And, he adds, "We didn't want to stop on an odd number."
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The season finale of "19 Kids and Counting" airs tonight on TLC, and you can catch a special on the family's travels to Scotland and Ireland on Sunday on TLC.
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