Inside Jinger Duggar's 18-Hour Labor with Baby Felicity — and Why She Chose a Hospital Birth
"I think it'll help me be more relaxed in the long run," Jinger (Duggar) Vuolo said of a hospital birth
As Jinger (Duggar) Vuolo prepared to welcome her baby girl into the world, the mama-to-be prioritized safety as she readied for her due date.
Last month, Jinger, 24, and her husband Jeremy Vuolo welcomed their first child, daughter Felicity Nicole Vuolo, into the world, and on Monday’s Counting On episode, audiences watched as the couple became parents.
Ahead of the birth, Jinger and Jeremy, 30, had an appointment at a birthing center, where they met with their midwife, Alisa, to discuss the upcoming delivery.
“We had an appointment last week and my doctor and midwife both thought that it would be best to get things rolling at this point just because my sisters have had such huge babies that they thought it’d be better if I kind of went closer to my due date,” Jinger said. “They want to induce me, so we’re taking all of our bags with us today and the baby car seat, and so it’s pretty crazy thinking that I’m just days away from being a mom and actually having the baby in my hands.”
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To help her body ready for the delivery, Jinger was walking three miles a day and doing over 100 squats.
“So she’s been doing what we like to call natural nudging,” Alisa explained. “Jinger has been taking some herbs to help her body get ready and she’s been walking and she’s been doing things to help the baby get into a good position.”
Alisa added, “Based on the family history, some of the sisters have had a little bit of a harder time with bigger babies. Jinger, Jeremy and I have talked at length about trying to see if we can keep this baby’s size a little bit smaller and maybe seeing if this baby could come closer to the due date instead of going a week or two over, which is typical for the Duggar women.”
Following the appointment, Jinger said that her plan was “to continue tonight with more herbs, walking and if things move along, then just going to the hospital I think and starting some inducing.”
While some of Jinger’s sisters had home births, she and Jeremy opted for a hospital birth — a decision she said put her “at ease.”
“Some of my sisters have been through a bit of a tough time with labor and delivery, so I have decided just to go ahead and switch to the hospital. I think that just kind of just puts me at ease knowing, okay, if I need anything, it’s here,” she said. “And I think it’ll help me be more relaxed in the long run.”
On July 17, Jinger was admitted into the hospital, and a day later, she started Pitocin, which is a drug that induces labor by causing or strengthening contractions.
“I started Pitocin this morning and that is to get things moving along and so from here on out, we’re just kind of waiting it out until the baby’s here,” she said.
Over the next few hours, Jinger’s contractions strengthened, but she did not fully dilate. After 18 hours in labor, Jinger was fully dilated and started pushing.
“She went from hardly any progress at all and such hard work to ready to push her baby out! She pushed for 30 minutes and had this beautiful baby,” Alisa said.
WATCH: Jinger Duggar Gives Tour of New House to Siblings
During the labor, Jinger received an epidural, and she explained of the anesthesia being administered, “So I got an epidural and I was sleeping quite well. I had some pressure and cramps and stuff, and so I wasn’t sure what was going on, but I felt pretty good considering the 12 hours of labor without that. And by the time I woke up, my nurse came in and she checked me and she’s like, ‘Wow, you’re dilated to 10!’ And I was shocked because I was like, ‘How did this happen? How did this happen? I was just sleeping!’ They had me rotating every 30 minutes and I think all those things really helped.”
“When it was time to push, it seemed like everything just went so fast,” she said. “It was really, really good. It wasn’t what I expected it to be, of course because I had an epidural. I was expecting a lot more difficulty with that, but I was grateful, everything went really quick.”
At 4:37 a.m. on July 19, Jinger and Jeremy welcomed baby Felicity. She weighed 8 lbs. and 3 oz. and was 19.5 inches long. Multiple family members were present, including Jeremy’s parents, Michelle Duggar, Jana Duggar, and a surprise visit from Jessa (Duggar) Seewald, Ben Seewald and their two sons, Spurgeon and Henry.
In a statement to PEOPLE following the birth, Jeremy said, “God is so kind. Both mom and baby are healthy, doing great, and resting well. We are very thankful for her safe arrival and look forward to life as parents!”