They don’t call it labor for nothing! The final installment of TLC’s three-part special, Jill & Jessa: Counting On, shifted focus from Josh Duggar‘s sex scandals to a decidedly happier event: the birth of Jessa and husband Ben Seewald‘s first child. As her due date drew near — and then passed — Jessa, Ben and the rest of the Duggar clan prepared for the imminent arrival of the mysterious Baby Seewald. (The expectant parents knew the gender of their child but opted to keep it a secret until the big event.)
With Jessa and Ben nervously anticipating the delivery, various family members rallied to help them out. Notably absent from the preparations, however, were Jill and husband Derick Dillard, who had already gone to Central America with their infant son, Israel, for their missionary work. Still, thanks to video chat, Jessa’s sister was able to be virtually present for part of the labor, though not all, because it lasted for 48 hours. That’s two straight days, people.
More Adoption Talk
Long before any of her contractions began, however, Jessa was already talking about the possibility of adopting children with Ben. Recounting her visit to an orphanage with Jill, Jessa said, “It was heartbreaking to leave those kids.” Her husband didn’t miss a beat, chiming in that he “always thought it would be kind of cool” to adopt — and casually mentioning that he used to fantasize about having 15 sons.
Now, you might think that a woman days away from birthing her first child might not be crazy about the idea of adding 14 more kids to the brood, but not Jessa. “I think it would be awesome!” the former 19 Kids and Counting star exclaimed. “I’d love to have 15 sons!” Does anyone else sense a spinoff?
What’s more, Ben and Jessa may be in good company, as new parents Jill and Derick are also on board with adoption. From his new post in Central America, Derick confessed, “I can definitely relate to Jessa and Ben’s desire to adopt and to meet those needs. We both think it’s a wonderful thing. We’ve talked about it a lot and are definitely considering it.”
For her part, Jill looked downright giddy as she sat by her husband. “We came to Central America as a family of three and we could go home as a family of four,” she teased before clarifying, “But I’m not pregnant!”
Anna Gets Emotional
Meanwhile, back in the States, Anna, Jana and Jinger Duggar gathered at Jessa and Ben’s house to help prep some meals to make sure the new parents would have something to eat once the baby was born. The only wrinkle in the plan? This was the same house that Anna and Josh used to live in — and being back there brought up a lot of emotions for the mother of four.
“It was a lot fun, and refreshing,” Anna said of their day in her old kitchen before acknowledging that it was a “tender spot to go back and be in what was our starter home.” She admitted being back there brought “a lot of sweet memories” to her mind before deciding, “It was good to be back, I guess … and have some time to look back.”
When Jessa asked Anna how she was holding up, tears welled in Anna’s eyes. “I think for everyone it’s been hard, but I think it’s been a good opportunity to draw close to God and just trusting for his wisdom to take the next step,” Anna told her sister-in-law. (She did, however, compare her marital woes to a never-ending labor.)
Jessa (Finally) Goes Into Labor — for Two Days Straight
A few days after her due date, Jessa finally began getting significant contractions. In an attempt to speed things along, she went on an hourlong power walk, which didn’t quite do the trick. In a home video shot by mom Michelle Duggar, Jessa could be seen writhing in agony as she moaned about how much pain she was in. Ben lay behind her, cradling her head, and earned rave reviews from the Duggar matriarch.
“Ben was just solid,” Michelle praised. “He was there and he stuck by her side. It was really sweet.” But just because he looked solid to others didn’t mean he felt that way himself. “As labor was ramping up, she was in pain, so I was feeling the pain too,” he explained. (We’re going to assume he realized that the pain Jessa was suffering was worse than whatever he was going through.)
“It was pretty difficult,” he continued. “I was thinking to myself, Hopefully the baby will come soon so this can be over. But [labor] kept dragging on, and dragging on.”
After what seemed like forever (and practically was), the baby arrived. “When I got to the point where my body started pushing, it was really intense,” Jessa said. “But it was also like, ‘OK, this is happening for real. I’m not going to be pregnant for the rest of my life.'”
At 6:24 p.m. Jessa and Ben welcomed a healthy baby boy. “Praise Jesus!” Michelle cheered.
An Unexpected Emergency
“When the baby finally arrived it was like a big sigh of relief. We got to see our little son for the first time. It was a really special moment,” proud father Ben gushed. “We got to snuggle with him for a while,” Jessa added with a smile.
Then things took a turn as Jessa began bleeding. A lot. An ambulance was called and Jessa was whisked to the hospital. “I was a little bit nervous,” Ben admitted. “OK, a lot nervous.”
By the time Jessa was seen by a doctor, the bleeding had subsided, but whenever she stood up she would feel faint, thanks to the large quantity of blood she had lost. After a blood transfusion, Jessa felt “90 percent” back to herself and went home shortly thereafter to introduce her (still nameless) son to the rest of the family.
Asked whether labor had been better or worse than she had expected, Jessa laughed, “Worse!” She and Ben then revealed they had named their son Spurgeon Elliot Seewald. Though Michelle didn’t get a chance to offer her thoughts on the name, she did say that “he was like a barrel” and speculated his size and shape may have contributed to Jessa’s labor complications.
Despite the snag, Jessa was in good spirits. “The first thing I said to my mom was, ‘I don’t know how you did this 19 times!'” You’re not the only one, Jessa.
Tell Us: What did you think of Jessa’s 48-hour at-home delivery?
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