With 18 kids still at home, one on the way and two grandchildren, how does Michelle Duggar get any rest?
“I am taking a power nap every day,” she tells PEOPLE. “And I’m eating a lot of protein and green vegetables and no caffeine, which is a new thing for me.”
Michelle, 45, and husband Jim Bob, 46, stars of TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting are expecting their 20th child after the premature birth of daughter Josie in Dec. 2009 following Michelle’s life-threatening preeclampsia.
“I read up a lot on preeclampsia [while pregnant with Josie],” says Michelle, “and it is a crazy, random thing. I have been getting counseled from a high-risk pregnancy doctor in Little Rock and taking good care of myself.”
The family’s frightening medical journey with Josie – born at only 25 weeks and weighing just over a pound – was documented on 19 Kids and Counting as the tiny micropremie was in and out of the hospital and Michelle’s own life was in danger.
Now, Josie has been released by Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock and is developing normally.
Michelle and Jim Bob watch her oxygen levels using a finger monitor. She accompanied her family on a recent trip to Europe (part of TLC’s Duggars World Tour: Scotland & Ireland, which airs Nov. 13 at 8 p.m.), and she also visited Israel with the whole family.
“The last day of the trip, Josie caught the cold that some of us had,” Jim Bob says. “She couldn’t fly back with a cold, so Michelle and Jill stayed longer in Israel with Josie.”
Michelle, who had just found out she was pregnant, says she had yet to experience any morning sickness.
“I get motion sickness anyway, but thankfully the morning sickness didn’t kick in until I got home,” she says, noting that it hit her hard upon her return but is now gone and she’s feeling good.
“We know having this many kids isn’t for everyone,” she says. “But we are open to receive whatever gifts God wants us to have. And we are so excited and thrilled about this pregnancy.”