Jill and Derick Dillard: We Feel So Blessed

PEOPLE exclusively goes inside the Dillards' dramatic journey to parenthood


After 70 hours of intense labor, Jill and Derick Dillard welcome their first baby boy, Israel David. Subscribe now to read more about their dramatic journey to parenthood in this exclusive PEOPLE interview.

When Jill Dillard learned she was expecting her first baby just weeks after her wedding last June to husband Derick, the mom-to-be hoped for a natural delivery at her home in Rogers, Arkansas.

“His birth didn’t go as expected,” Jill tells PEOPLE of her son Israel David, born April 6. “But having him here – it’s worth all of it. I wouldn’t do anything differently.”

The second-oldest daughter born into the Duggar family, stars of TLC’s hit show 19 Kids and Counting, Jill didn’t get discouraged when her March 24 due date passed.

“I told myself first-time moms often go a week and a half over,” says the 23-year-old, who turned to spicy food to help kick-start her labor.

Then, 41 weeks and five days into her pregnancy, Jill’s water finally broke, but complications followed.

Jill tested positive for strep B, a common bacteria that can be transferred from mom to baby during birth, and began taking antibiotics via an IV.

After 20 hours in labor – with contractions just one minute apart – and little progression, Jill saw a faint stain of meconium (the earliest waste of an unborn infant, often a sign of fetal distress) and decided it was time to move to the hospital.

“I was praying to God to give me strength,” she recalls. “I was really scared and nervous, but I was praying.”

Once there, Jill initially declined Pitocin (a hormone that greatly speeds up labor) and pain medication, but after 70 hours in labor, the baby had flipped into a transverse breech position (sideways and upside down), was experiencing irregular heart rates and had not yet descended.

After hearing the doctors’ concerns, the couple decided to move forward with a C-section and finally welcomed their long-awaited 9-lb., 10-oz. baby boy at 11:49 p.m.

“I love our birth story because it bonded us so well,” says Jill, who’s happily settling in at home. “I still haven’t changed a single diaper. Derick has been changing them all.”

Fans of TLC’s hit show 19 Kids and Counting can see the birth of Israel David on May 5 in advance of Mother’s Day. This Tuesday night, a special message from Jill’s newly courting brother Josiah and his courtship partner Marjorie airs at 9 p.m. ET.

For more of Jill and Derick’s exclusive interview – and for personal photos of their son Israel David – pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

Want more Duggars? Click here to get weekly updates on the stars of TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting in the Duggar Family Newsletter.

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