By James Tillman

LITTLE ROCK, AR, December 15, 2009 ( – Michelle Duggar, of TLC’s “18 Kids and Counting” reality show, delivered her 19th baby prematurely by emergency c-section on Thursday, December 10th. Josie Brooklyn was at 25 weeks gestation when the decision to deliver her was made due to the fact that Michelle had preeclampsia, which can cause serious complications for both the baby and mother.

“The obstetrical and neonatal teams reached the collaborative decision that Mrs. Duggar needed an emergency c-section to ensure the blood pressure problem would not be detrimental to her or the baby,” said Dr. Paul Wendel, director of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).

Michelle Duggar had been admitted to a hospital over the previous weekend due to gallbladder issues; while there, it was discovered that she had preeclampsia, a condition characterized by high blood pressure in relation to pregnancy. It is a leading cause of maternal and infant illness and death, and is cured only upon delivery of the baby.

Josie is currently in stable condition in UAMS’ Neonatal Intensive Care Unit; she weighs 1 pound and 6 ounces. Babies born at 25 weeks have a 4 out of 5 chance of survival.

Over three thousand comments have been left on the Duggar blog entry announcing the birth; the vast majority of them are supportive and offer prayers and well wishes for Josie, Michelle, and the whole Duggar family. TLC has said that they will pass well wishes in comments on to the Duggars.

The Duggars have written a book about their experiences, including their decision to stop using birth control; in addition to their reality TV show they have been featured on numerous occasions in the media. Through such media they have spread their belief that “children are a heritage of the Lord,” as their website proclaims.