Although Michelle Duggar has managed to miraculously give birth to 19 children, her last and youngest child, Josie Duggar, was her most difficult delivery. After being born Dec. 10, 2009, Josie has suffered from many health problems, prompting fans to wonder how the littlest Duggar is doing today and if she's doing better. Although she's had a few health scares throughout her short life, fortunately, she seems to be doing a lot better now. Here's a complete rundown of everything we know about the youngest Duggar daughter!
She was born prematurely.
Josie was born at only 25 weeks old, three and a half months premature. Because Michelle suffered from preeclampsia, which is high blood pressure during a pregnancy, she had to have an emergency C-section to save both her and her baby's life. Little Josie was born at only one pound.
"Oh, the terror that went through my heart when they said this baby has to be delivered in 30 minutes. I thought, 'This baby is too small to live,'" Michelle said back in 2010. "I was terrified. I cried out to God to have mercy on my baby and me. This was too soon for this baby."
Although Josie was a "micro-preemie" who was in NICU for six months after her birth and suffered from health complications like "bowel perforation," the little baby plowed through, got stronger, and was finally able to come home, prompting her family to call her the "miracle baby."
"[When she was born] her skin was see-through," Michelle said. "She only had two layers of skin. It was transparent. I do not take for granted this precious life that we have here. She's a miracle that could have gone in either direction."
In 2014, she suffered a scary seizure.
Because Josie was a micro-preemie, she's susceptible to long-term health difficulties, like cerebral palsy, blindness, deafness, or learning disabilities, according to ABC News. That point was made clear back in 2014 when the little girl, who was five years old at the time, suffered a scary seizure that took place right in front of 19 Kids and Counting cameras. The situation was so serious, even the show's director, Scott Enlow, stepped in to assist a terrified Jana Duggar, who was in tears as she held Josie's body.
Although the whole scene looked frightening, Michelle later explained that Josie often suffered from seizures as a side effect. "One of the little glitches for Josie is that if she runs a fever she does have a tendency to have febrile seizures," Michelle explained. “All of Josie’s seizures have happened around a fever – normally an ear infection,” Josie's father Jim Bob added during an aftershow special. “Typically, children will outgrow these by the time they’re 10. So, hopefully, she will just get bigger and stronger and outgrow it."
Here's what Josie Duggar looks like now in 2018.
Today, Josie is a healthy eight-year-old and appears to be doing just fine. She's come a long way — so much so that it's hard to believe she was the tiny premature baby we were first introduced to.
“She is so strong. But she’s a miracle. Even though she was born prematurely, she’s caught up in every way now,” Michelle said. “She is still supposed to be careful to not get too much dairy in her diet, so I am teaching her about it.”
Does she still have health problems?
Not that we know of, or at least, none that the Duggars have opened up about. Many fans have come up with their own conclusions about the youngest Duggar, pointing out how she's very pale and developmentally smaller than her sister, Jordyn-Grace, who's just a year older.
Although she's only 8, she has plenty of hobbies.
Typically, Duggar daughters don't have hobbies outside of cooking, cleaning, and taking care of babies, but Josie, surprisingly, has shown she has a natural talent for music. Not only does she sing, she also plays the piano, the guitar, and even yodels!
While 19 Kids and Counting was still on the air, all of Josie's health problems were documented on camera, from her scary seizure to one embarrassing moment when five-year-old Josie accidentally pooped her pants. Many fans have criticized Jim Bob and Michelle for letting their youngest child's health problems be documented for TV. Even 19 Kids and Counting director Scott Enlow joked in 2015 about how Josie, when she's an adult, will hate him for allowing the "poop incident" to make it on the show.
“Little poops were falling out of the leg of her pants!” he said. “When she gets to be about 16 she’ll be like, ‘Why did you do that to me?’ Well, why wouldn’t I? You pooped your pants on TV!”
Fans think she's Michelle's "favorite."
Although we're sure Michelle and Jim Bob love all their 19 children equally, it is probably a little hard to give them the individual attention they all need or get to know each one on a deeper level. Because of Josie's tumultuous first year, she has spent more time with Michelle than a lot of her siblings, prompting fans to think that she's the "favorite." Fans have also pointed out that she appears to get away with behavior the other kids don't get away with, like licking the frosting off of a wedding cake or having temper tantrums in public. However, this is all speculation, and Josie herself appears to be like the average child. Here's hoping she continues to grow up healthy!