Duggars Rejoice: Baby 19, Josie Duggar, Comes Home, but May Have Tough Road Ahead (PICTURES)
(CBS) Josie Duggar is finally coming home.
The 19th child of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, the Arkansas couple whose enormous family is documented on the TLC series "19 and Counting," spent her first six months of her life in neonatal intensive care.
The pregnancy was dangerous for both mother and child. Michelle
Duggar suffered from preeclampsia and gave birth to Josie at only 25 weeks.
"It can be quite dangerous," says Eleni Tsigas, executive director of the Preeclampsia Foundation. "It is the leading cause of maternal death in this country. It's also one of the leading causes of a baby dying, and if not dying, at least being born prematurely, like the Duggars'.
Preeclampsia afflicts between five and eight percent of all pregnancies. In the US, few women die of the condition. But around the world, it contributes to 76,000 maternal and 500,000 infant deaths each year, according to the foundation. Stroke is often the culprit.
"It's very important that women know the warning signs," says Tsigas.
High blood pressure, swelling of the face and hands, sudden weight gain, headaches, vomiting, lower back pain, and changing vision are all signs, but many healthy pregnant women experience them as well, so a doctor must make the diagnosis.
The Duggars say they are now moving from the medical drama to focus on the home drama of managing a family of 19 children.
"It is good to be home," a laughing Michelle Duggar told People. "It is surreal to be here. It was such a long time we were away."
But Dr. Tom Easterling, a professor of maternal fetal medicine at the University of Washington and a high-risk pregnancy specialist who hasn't seen the Duggars, says the family may not out of the woods yet.
"It's still a long road," he says. "Babies that are born at 25 weeks have risk for cerebral palsy, blindness, deafness, and learning disabilities."
And Easterling says if there are problems, they may not appear right away.
"There are babies that seem to have perfect nursery courses that wind up with disabilities and others that struggle that wind up just fine," he says. "They don't really know yet."
For now the Duggars are just happy to be home with their new baby girl, who weighs 9 lbs., 1 oz..
"She has a double chin now," Michelle Duggar told People. "It is so precious."
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