During a routine check-up Thursday, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar received the heart-wrenching news that their 20th child
no longer had a heartbeat and Michelle's pregnancy had ended
"Our doctor said it was wise to let this miscarriage happen naturally," says Michelle, 45, who is resting at home. "And so that is what we are going to do."
The reality television stars of TLC's 19 Kids and Counting
are parents to children Joshua, 23 (who is married to Anna, 23 and has two children
, Mackynzie, 2 and Michael, 4 months), twins Jana and John-David, 21; Jill, 20; Jessa, 19; Jinger, 17; Joseph, 16; Josiah, 15; Joy-Anna, 14; twins Jedidiah and Jeremiah, 12; Jason, 11; James, 10; Justin, 8; Jackson, 7; Johanna, 6; Jennifer, 4; and Jordyn, 3, and weathered youngest daughter, Josie's premature birth
on Dec. 10, 2009.
Michelle's doctor recommended that she allow the miscarriage to occur without using medications that cause her uterus to contract, due to the cut that her emergency Cesarean for Josie created.
"I am resting and I have felt good physically, which is strange," says Michelle, who was 19 weeks and 1 day into her pregnancy when the miscarriage was diagnosed (the baby measured at 16 weeks).
After giving birth to oldest son Josh, Michelle and Jim Bob, 46, suffered her first miscarriage when Michelle got pregnant while taking oral birth control. She has previously said it was one of the reasons the couple no longer chooses birth control.
"We named that baby Caleb even though we didn't know if it was a boy or girl because that miscarriage was early," she says. "We will name this child and will know that we will see those children again someday in heaven."
Their daughter, Jill, 20, has been studying to become a midwife and had listened to the baby's heartbeat on Nov. 25, Michelle says. "She's been taking notes and keeping good track," says Michelle. "On Dec. 3, I felt a little uncomfortable but I thought it was just something I'd eaten. It could have been the beginning of something going wrong. I had my blood drawn yesterday, and it showed that my progesterone levels had dropped so something was not right [with the pregnancy]."
She says Jim Bob and the children are making sure she's resting. "The kids are mothering me now," she says. "Jill just brought me some food and they are taking good care of me."