She's come so far. Michelle Duggar gave birth to 19 children, but her last and youngest child, Josie Duggar, was her most difficult delivery. Josie has suffered from many health problems, and many 19 Kids and Counting fans may be wondering how the littlest Duggar is doing today. They should be happy to hear that Josie, now 13, is happy, healthy and thriving!
"Josie was born on December 10, 2009, at 25 1/2 weeks gestation and weighed 1 pound 6 ounces," the Duggar family wrote via Instagram on December 10, 2018. "Today is a huge milestone for her. She is a healthy, happy 9-year-old that is full of energy. We are so thankful for everyone's prayers and all of the doctors and nurses at Arkansas Children's Hospital that saved her life. That was the most difficult time in our family's life, but by God's grace, Josie and our whole family made it through!"
It's hard to believe so much time has passed since Josie's birth was featured on the TLC series! Here's a complete rundown of everything we know about the youngest Duggar daughter and how she's doing nowadays:
What Happened to Josie Duggar?
Josie was born only 25 weeks into Michelle's pregnancy — three and a half months premature. Michelle suffered from preeclampsia, which is high blood pressure during pregnancy, and she had to have an emergency C-section to save both her and her baby's life.
"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."
Josie was a "micro-preemie" who was in NICU for six months after her birth and suffered from health complications like "bowel perforation." However, the little baby powered through, got stronger and was finally able to come home, prompting her family to call her a "miracle."
"[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."
Has Josie Duggar Experienced Health Problems?
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 in 2014 when the little girl, who was 5 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 dire that 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 Duggar, 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."
What Does Josie Duggar Look Like Today?
Today, Josie is a healthy teenager. Can you believe the girl above is the same tiny premature baby we were first introduced to? While she doesn't often make public appearances on social media, she was featured at the end of her brother James Duggar's 2022 Christmas YouTube video.
Fans receive occasional updates on Josie from her various family members. For instance, Michelle and Jim Bob celebrated their youngest child on World Prematurity Day in November 2021.
"I have a heart for micro-preemie moms. The one who has to leave her baby in the NICU every night, for months," Michelle wrote on the couple's joint Instagram account.
Outside of just being a kid and going on all these trips with her family, Josie also has a bit of a "career" as a singer. She's featured on the "Happy Heart" album, along with her sisters Jordyn, Jennifer and Johannah and their niece Mackynzie Duggar.
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.