Happy Birthday, Jordyn Duggar!

Update, Fri. Dec. 11, 2009 — Michelle Duggar gave birth by emergency C-section to Baby Josie, at 25 weeks gestation. Prayers to all involved, particularly the wee babe. More than 50% of babies born at this stage will survive, but many will have life-long problems related to their prematurity. I pray that Josie will be one of the lucky ones who has few or no long-term problems.

Many of you are probably aware of the now-famous Duggar family from Arkansas who have 17 — now 18 — children! While I feel like I’ve got my hands full with two children, they seem to be able to manage their large brood very well. I don’t know how Michelle, the mother, does it, but she always seems to be so sweet and in a perfect mood, and everything is just a blessing, and there is no stress in her life (while I feel a great deal of stress managing my two plus my home and husband). They homeschool the kids, and all of the children play the piano and violin. More power to ’em!

Anyway, if you don’t know about the Duggars, here is more information from their official website. (My 9-year-old niece is a Duggar expert, having seen all of the TV shows they’ve been in, and even knows most of the children by sight. So if I get any of this wrong, I’ll have to get her to correct me.) All of their children are their biological children; they have two sets of twins. I know she had had two previous C-sections (possibly both of her sets of twins were born via C-section; but I think that one of her babies — maybe #15 — was transverse or breech when her water broke or she went into labor, and that was one of her sections).

This baby was also born via C-section, and the reason was not stated in the article I read (I guess I can find out on Monday when the show about it will be aired). On the Duggars’ website, it is stated that the baby was due in January; the baby’s stats are 7 lb. 3 oz. and 20 inches long, so while she arrived ahead of her expected due date, she does not seem to be “preterm”, but was probably at 37-38 weeks.

I wonder why she was born by C-section. I probably shouldn’t speculate, but I wonder why. The Duggars do not believe in using birth control; instead they trust their fertility to God, planning on having as many children as He allows them to have. Unless they’ve changed in the past nine months, they may well have even more children. She is only 42, so possibly has a few more years of fertility before menopause sets in. The more C-sections a woman has, the more she and her future children are placed at risk of potential problems in subsequent pregnancies, including things like maternal hemorrhage and hysterectomy, and placental problems like placenta previa, percreta and acreta. Women who want large families are generally advised to avoid multiple C-sections — and Michelle Duggar definitely wants a large family!

One problem with a first C-section is the current VBAC ban in so many hospitals prevents women from ever having anything but a C-section. For women like Mrs. Duggar, if she has any unnecessary C-sections, it increases her risks in future pregnancies for no current benefit — and until she has a hysterectomy or goes into menopause, she will have future pregnancies. So, if this C-section was done “because she had had a previous C-section,” then she definitely increases her risk, as well as that of future babies. Now, if her C-section was necessary, that’s another story entirely. In a Duggar show a few years ago, I remember seeing her obstetrician, who talked somewhat (to the TV audience) about the risks of having so many children as well as having a vaginal birth after a Cesarean, but said that the Duggars understood what was going on, and it was her (the OB’s) job to make sure the woman had a safe and healthy birth; and in light of her desire to have so many children, that meant as few C-sections as possible. If they kept the same OB, I have a lot more trust that this C-section was indeed necessary.


6 Responses

  1. In my 40s, with no birth control, regular relationship with my husband, I had exactly two pregnancies. One was a stillbirth at 20 weeks when I was 43, but the other was a full term health pregnancy at age 46. Biologically Michelle is just about done with her family – it’s just nature’s way.

    • Elena,

      That’s what I think too, but I mentioned it to one of my sisters-in-law, and she said that when a woman has a lot of pregnancies especially later in life, that it delays menopause. Not sure where she got that info, but her mom had a total of 6 children (plus two miscarriages), most of them later in life with her second husband, so that may have been something her mom learned then. Of course, a lot of people just don’t go through “the change” at the normal time — my mom got her tubes tied after she had me at the age of 30, and she didn’t go through menopause until her late 40s and wasn’t completely done until her early 50s; and she started her period when she was 10, so she had a long time dealing with Aunt Flo! 🙂

  2. The cesarean with this baby was due to transverse lie again.


  3. Okay, this is weird, this was reported on another site that the baby was just over 1 lb (but doing well) and they had to do an emergency c-section because when Michelle went into the doctor for a gallbladder issue she was found to have pre-eclampsia that was not responding to treatment and they were forced to deliver. Now I have to go find out why the difference…..

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