In the Mother's Day special, we also go behind the scenes of Jill's baby shower
From the baby shower all the way to the complicated, 70-hour delivery, no stone was left unturned in the episode that also had Duggar matriarch Michelle, 48, opening up about her own many pregnancies – including the one that sadly ended in a stillborn birth.
Jill, 23, had always planned to deliver her first child with husband Derick, 26, at home. An important part of that is the midwife home tour, which allows your midwives to know where everything is in the event that something happens or if they show up while you’re in advanced labor.
As Jill went over her birth plan with her midwives – Plan A was certainly to deliver at home, but they also had contingencies in place for getting to the hospital – Derick shared that he had “no idea” what was involved in birthing a baby before Jill got pregnant, adding that he was trying to “soak it all in” and that he wanted to be present and help with the delivery.
A student midwife, Jill acknowledged that it might be difficult to “step aside and realize I’m not the midwife here. That’s why I’ve surrounded myself with people who I feel are competent and can take care of me.”
Those people include not just her midwives but also her mother and eldest sister Jana, 25.
Michelle Doles Out Motherly Advice, Opens Up About Her Stillbirth
As this episode of 19 Kids revealed, Michelle has spent a total of 850 hours in labor. To put it in glaring perspective, that’s five weeks.
So, she was fairly well-equipped to share that, truly, anything can happen during a birth. When she delivered Josh, she needed an epidural and a long recovery afterward. Her first set of twins, Jana and John David, were born via emergency cesarean section and, finally, Jill was a natural birth.
Michelle went on to tell cameras that there came a point in her pregnancies where she could no longer have a midwife at the hospital and had to have a doctor instead because she was deemed “high risk” after delivering so many children.
When the youngest Duggar, Josie, was born at just 1 lb., 6 oz., it was “traumatic,” said husband Jim Bob, but “it was really something that drew our whole family closer together.”
And when Michelle was pregnant with baby number 20, the family was “delighted and thrilled,” she said. However, she “knew instantly that something was wrong” when she went to get an ultrasound. As it turned out, there was no heartbeat.
“That was probably one of the hardest things for Jim Bob and I go to through, when we realized that Jubilee had died. Our baby had died. And then, to drive back home to all the children back at the house waiting for us to find out whether it was a boy or a girl and to have to go and tell them that there wasn’t a heartbeat that was really that was hard.”
However, the kids ended up comforting their parents. “I’m so happy to have the friends and family that were around me during that time to support and encourage me [including] picking a symbol for little Jubilee to remember her by. Every time I see a butterfly, I thank God for Jubilee.”
While Jill had been to more than 50 showers, Derick had been to just one. It’s not necessarily customary for men to attend baby showers, however, but Derick decided to attend (as did his brother Dan and his brother-in-law Ben Seewald).
Jim Bob, 49, admitted that he didn’t think he had been to any of the showers of his 19 kids, but, “I think that dads should take more in a role in that. I should’ve gone [to the baby showers].”
The shower went off without a hitch despite the heavy snow, but the men had some ideas on manlier baby showers moving forward (though Derick insisted he was still “secure in [his] manhood”). Ideas involved “diving in a pool,” “toughness contests” and “meat,” among others. “I think Jill would appreciate a man shower,” said Derick. Heh.
“The shower was so much fun,” said Jill. “We had a blast.”
Jill’s Water Breaks
When Jill’s water finally broke, she was 11 days past her first due date. It started in the early hours of the morning, and she decided to go back to bed while her contractions were still far apart.
Seventeen hours into her labor, the birthing pool had been set up and the contractions were kicking in “very hard” and with not too long of a break in between.
At 20 hours, she called in reinforcements: Michelle, Jana and her midwives.
Forty-eight hours into her labor, Jill noticed that her baby was in fetal distress. “It was more mild,” said Jill, “so it was like, ‘Okay, he’s not doing too well but it’s not like, emergency at this point.’ ” However, at that far into her labor, she still wasn’t able to “get things going,” so they decided that it would be “a good time to get to the hospital.”
There, at 50 hours into her labor, she was told that she and the baby were fine and that they would continue to let her labor. At this point, they had gone from their original birth plan to their non-emergency hospital plan.
From a midwife perspective, said Jill, she knew that everything was progressing as normally as it could. “On the other hand, I’m like, ‘This is my baby! This is me! We have to do something about this!’ ”
At 60 hours into her labor, on April 6, she had been contracting every two minutes for hours and was going to be given an epidural. As positive as Jill and Derick were throughout the process, she looked like the labor was taking its toll.
Not long after, the doctor told Jill and Derick that it was time for a C-section: “I just feel like it’s time to do what safety calls for.”
After all that, Israel David Dillard was finally born on April 6 at 11:49 p.m., a screaming, crying, healthy baby boy. Jill said it was “overwhelming” to have carried the baby for nine long months and to welcome her “little big guy” – he weighed in at 9 lbs., 10 oz. – into the world.
“He’s worth every contraction,” Jill gushed. “Every pain that I had all this long labor. Just getting to see that little baby and hold him, everything, just well worth it.”
Four days later, Jill left the hospital and introduced Israel to the expansive Duggar clan.
“Jill’s life is changed forever now that this little man is here,” said Michelle. “She is enjoying motherhood, and, if they do as good a job raising this little man that they have in their arms now as they did going through labor, they’re going to do an awesome job. I know they will.”
19 Kids and Counting airs Tuesdays (8 p.m. ET /7 p.m. CT) on TLC.
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