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John David Duggar's wife Abbie reflects on 36-hour labor


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John David Duggar's wife Abbie reflects on 36-hour labor

John David Duggar, 30, and his wife Abbie, 28, are looking back at Abbie’s 36-hour-long labor in Tuesday night’s episode of Counting On.

The couple welcomed their first child, a daughter named Grace Annette, back on January 7 — and TLC is just getting around to spotlighting the little girl’s birth in the newest episode of the show.

In a preview clip obtained by , Abbie talks about only being dilated to five centimeters after a day and a half in labor, and how she needed Pitocin to finally move things along at the hospital before she gave birth.

New episode: John David Duggar, 30, and his wife Abbie, 28, are looking back at Abbie's 36-hour-long labor in Tuesday night's episode of Counting On

New episode: John David Duggar, 30, and his wife Abbie, 28, are looking back at Abbie’s 36-hour-long labor in Tuesday night’s episode of Counting On

Documented: Though TLC's cameras didn't come into the delivery room, they did have photographs taken

Their time: The shots show Abbie in labor, but the couple had more control over what people at home got to see

Documented: Though TLC’s cameras didn’t come into the delivery room, they did have photographs taken 

Baby: The couple welcomed  their first daughter, Grace Annette, on January 7

Baby: The couple welcomed  their first daughter, Grace Annette, on January 7 

Fatherly affection: John David gets a warm pat on the back from Abbie's dad

Fatherly affection: John David gets a warm pat on the back from Abbie’s dad 

Help! In a preview clip of tomorrow's episode, Abbie talks about being in labor for a day and a half when doctors gave her Pitocin to move things along

Help! In a preview clip of tomorrow’s episode, Abbie talks about being in labor for a day and a half when doctors gave her Pitocin to move things along

'My body obviously wasn't making progress, and I was really exhausted by this point,' she said

‘My body obviously wasn’t making progress, and I was really exhausted by this point,’ she said

While nearly all of the Duggar women have allowed TLC’s cameras in the delivery room — or, in the case of home births, into the houses serving as delivery rooms — Abbie and John David opted for more privacy during the momentous occasion.

So though the two spoke on camera about the experience, there is no professionally-recorded footage taken during Abbie’s delivery.

However, the pair did have one of Abbie’s sisters present to take photos, which flash on the screen during TLC’s new episode.

Abbie, who worked as a nurse before she got married, didn’t head to the hospital until she’d been in labor for a full day, and it is several hours later when the preview clip picks up. 

‘At 10 p.m., I got rechecked at the hospital, and they said that I was still only dilated to a five,’ Abbie says in a confessional recording. ‘I’ve been in labor for over a day and a half, and I’m still only dilated to five centimeters.

‘At this point, we talked to our doctor, and he recommended that we start Pitocin and have an epidural because my body obviously wasn’t making progress, and I was really exhausted by this point,’ she adds.

Delay: The new episode is airing Tuesday night, almost eight months later

Delay: The new episode is airing Tuesday night, almost eight months later

'At 3:21 a.m, our little girl was born,' John David says in the clip

‘At 3:21 a.m, our little girl was born,’ John David says in the clip

Private: The only images from the delivery room are black-and-white shots taken by a photographer

Private: The only images from the delivery room are black-and-white shots taken by a photographer 

'So between 11 p.m. and midnight, I was able to move rooms and get the Pitocin and get the epidural,' Abbie says

‘So between 11 p.m. and midnight, I was able to move rooms and get the Pitocin and get the epidural,’ Abbie says 

'I wasn¿t feeling any contractions, and the nurse came in around 2:15 to recheck me. She said, "Congratulations you¿re at a 10,"' she says

‘I wasn’t feeling any contractions, and the nurse came in around 2:15 to recheck me. She said, “Congratulations you’re at a 10,”‘ she says 

Great! At that point, it was safe for her to start pushing ¿ which she did for 30 to 45 minutes before Gracie entered the world

Great! At that point, it was safe for her to start pushing — which she did for 30 to 45 minutes before Gracie entered the world 

‘So between 11 p.m. and midnight, I was able to move rooms and get the Pitocin and get the epidural. After they gave me the epidural, I was able to go to sleep and actually rest for a couple of hours.’

The sleep was a relief, and allowed her to rest at the Pitocin got her labor moving. 

‘I was asleep, and apparently I was able to progress while I was sleeping,’ she says. 

‘I wasn’t feeling any contractions, and the nurse came in around 2:15 to recheck me. She said, “Congratulations you’re at a 10.” 

‘I was so excited. And I was refreshed because I had actually slept for a couple of hours.’

At that point, it was safe for her to start pushing — which she did for 30 to 45 minutes before Gracie entered the world.  

‘At 3:21 a.m, our little girl was born,’ John David says with a smile. 

Family time: The couple has continued to document life with their first child

Family time: The couple has continued to document life with their first child

'Our lives have changed forever with the arrival of our baby girl,' the couple said in a statement in January

‘Our lives have changed forever with the arrival of our baby girl,’ the couple said in a statement in January

Little one: Grace, who was given her mother's middle name, was born at 3:21 a.m. and measured 20.75 inches long

Little one: Grace, who was given her mother’s middle name, was born at 3:21 a.m. and measured 20.75 inches long

'She's is a beautiful gift from God,' the couple said. 'We are so blessed the Lord has given her to us'

‘She’s is a beautiful gift from God,’ the couple said. ‘We are so blessed the Lord has given her to us’

Most of the footage and photos that will appear in the new episode likely appeared in a pair of webisodes on TLC’s website back in February. 

In the two online videos, Abbie suffered through ten hours of labor at home before she made her first trip to the hospital.  

‘We’re hoping to labor at home some, and then go to the hospital and use one of the low intervention rooms that have got, like, a laboring pool and wireless monitors,’ Abbie explained. ‘So, hoping to do that, and both of our moms should be there with us helping.’

John David’s mom Michelle helped, calling ahead to the hospital to reserve her a room. 

But not long after they got there, they returned home because Abbie’s labor had stalled.

‘Abbie’s a trooper. She’s staying calm and breathing through the contractions. They’re getting a little more intense,’ Michelle said.

Before: In February, TLC shared their birth story in a pair of webisodes

Before: In February, TLC shared their birth story in a pair of webisodes

A long time: They were initially sent home from the hospital because Abbie wasn't far enough along

A long time: They were initially sent home from the hospital because Abbie wasn’t far enough along

Supportive: John David was there to encourage his wife and rub her back

Supportive: John David was there to encourage his wife and rub her back

Ouch: She was in pain but had her husband there to comfort her

Ouch: She was in pain but had her husband there to comfort her

After a doctor’s appointment the next morning, Abbie was filmed at home in pain while John David comforted her. Michelle coached Abbie, telling her how she should moan through the pain. 

Finally, a full day after labor started, Abbie checked into her hospital suite.

But while the cameras showed a brief glimpse at the inside, they were soon booted from the room — and instead captured what happened with the other Duggars.

John David’s twin sister, Jana, called her mom — whom she has labeled Momma Duggar in her phone — and offered to bring over some necessities. 

She, her four youngest sisters, and her niece Meredith ferried over some snacks — but, like the camera, aren’t allowed in the room.

Meanwhile, Michelle, Jim Bob, and Abbie’s parents waited outside the delivery room, discussing the baby.

Chill: They finally got to the hospital, where Abbie stayed in a low-intervention room

Chill: They finally got to the hospital, where Abbie stayed in a low-intervention room

At one point, John David's twin sister Jana called to check in and offered to bring snacks

Oddly, she has her mother listed in her phone as 'Momma Duggar'

So she remembers her name! At one point, John David’s twin sister Jana called to check in and offered to bring snacks. Oddly, she has her mother listed in her phone as ‘Momma Duggar’

Just for them: John David and Abbie appear to have decided that childbirth should be private

Just for them: John David and Abbie appear to have decided that childbirth should be private

Different: The move sets them apart from all of John David's siblings. It's worth noting that John David was by far the oldest Duggar sibling when he got married and had his first child

Different: The move sets them apart from all of John David’s siblings. It’s worth noting that John David was by far the oldest Duggar sibling when he got married and had his first child

Finally, after doctors used Pitocin to move labor along and give Abbie an epidural, Abbie welcomed a 7 pound, 11 ounce baby girl.

But even then, the professional video cameras were absent: Footage taken from camera phones plays, showing the joyous moments after Abbie gives birth. 

The webisodes ended with John David and Abbie at home with their daughter as family members come to visit.

At one point, Abbie held Grace while her sisters-in-law — Jessa, Kendra, and Lauren — held their baby daughters. 

‘I’m glad you had an epidural because I know when you get exhausted… you’re just, like out. I wish mine would have worked!’ said Lauren, who had two epidurals and insisted neither worked.

Finale: Abbie holds newborn Gracie at home after being discharged

Finale: Abbie holds newborn Gracie at home after being discharged

Meet and greet: Many of the Duggars stopped by their small home for a visit

Meet and greet: Many of the Duggars stopped by their small home for a visit

The girls: Abbie posed with Jessa, Kendra, and Lauren, who also had daughters. Sex pest Josh's wife Anna, who had a daughter in November, was absent

The girls: Abbie posed with Jessa, Kendra, and Lauren, who also had daughters. Sex pest Josh’s wife Anna, who had a daughter in November, was absent

Lauren’s labor was documented in her own Counting On birth special — and unlike Abbie, the 21-year-old let the cameras in the delivery room as she moaned in agony for hours.

Kendra, 22, also had cameras up close when she delivered her daughter Addison Renee November 2, as well as her son Garrett. She is currently pregnant with her third child.

Jessa’s three births with children Spurgeon, Henry, and Ivy were all filmed, capturing the mother-of-three as she labored and gave birth at home. The 27-year-old’s most recent birth special showed the very moment she delivered Ivy on her living room couch, before excessive bleeding had her rushing to the hospital.

Though sister Jill, 29, is no longer on Counting On, the births of her sons Israel and Samuel were captured for the show.

Joy Anna, 22, was filmed while giving birth to son Gideon. TLC was not in the delivery room for the birth of her youngest, Evelyn Mae, who was born this month — though it’s unclear if that was due to personal preferences or COVID-19 restrictions. She and her husband Austin filmed much of it themselves and are sharing the video on YouTube.

Jinger, 26, was filmed when in labor with daughter Felicity, though the cameras disappeared during active labor. She is currently pregnant with another daughter.

Even Anna, who is married to sex pest Josh, gave birth to her first on camera.  

Labor pains: Lauren's labor was documented in her own Counting On birth special

Labor pains: Lauren’s labor was documented in her own Counting On birth special

Ouch! Kendra Duggar's labor with her second child was also documented for the show

Ouch! Kendra Duggar’s labor with her second child was also documented for the show

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The birthing couch: Jessa, 27, had the cameras rolling when she welcomed her daughter at home on the living room couch

The birthing couch: Jessa, 27, had the cameras rolling when she welcomed her daughter at home on the living room couch 

Painful: Jinger also allowed cameras in the hospital room when she gave birth to Felicity

Painful: Jinger also allowed cameras in the hospital room when she gave birth to Felicity

Abbie and John David first shared their baby news on January 9.

‘Our lives have changed forever with the arrival of our baby girl,’ the couple said in a 

Grace, who was given her mother’s middle name, was born at 3:21 a.m. and measured 20.75 inches long.

‘She’s is a beautiful gift from God,’ the couple said. ‘We are so blessed the Lord has given her to us. It’s still surreal to know that we are really parents but it’s a great new adventure that we are excited to take on together.’ 

Grace is the first child for the couple, who got married on November 3, 2018 and were, by Duggar standards, a bit older to be tying the knot.

John David’s older brother, sex pest Josh, got married at age 20, while most of his adult siblings wed in their late teens or early 20s and started reproducing soon after.

John David had joked about being a ‘bachelor ’til the rapture’ until he met Abbie, a nurse, and started courting her in June 2018, getting engaged just one month later.

The couple announced that they were expecting on August 1 of last year, nine months after saying ‘I do.’

‘We are on Cloud 9 about welcoming our own little Duggar into the world,’ the couple said, according to

‘We are thankful that God has blessed us with this new life and we look forward to taking on this new adventure!’

They made the announcement with an airplane-themed photoshoot. John David, a pilot, also worked planes into his proposal.    

‘I’m really looking forward to having a little one around,’ he said. ‘I mean I’m really just thrilled and just excited for the next step in our little family’s life as we expand.’ 

Baby's here: They proudly announced Grace's arrival last month

Baby’s here: They proudly announced Grace’s arrival last month

One on the way! The couple announced that they were expecting on August 1, nine months after tying the knot

One on the way! The couple announced that they were expecting on August 1, nine months after tying the knot

Sticking to the theme: The two revealed the news with an airplane-themed photoshoot

Sticking to the theme: The two revealed the news with an airplane-themed photoshoot

Flying together: Their 'We're expecting a co-pilot' sign comes after John David's flying-themed proposal

Flying together: Their ‘We’re expecting a co-pilot’ sign comes after John David’s flying-themed proposal

'It really is amazing to think about being parents and having our own child to raise,' the added

‘It really is amazing to think about being parents and having our own child to raise,’ the added

But the first trimester was rough for Abbie, who suffered from severe morning sickness.

‘It hit her hard, and she was down for probably seven weeks with severe morning sickness,’ John David told . ‘She got diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum, and she was hospitalized a couple times.’

Hyperemesis gravidarum is a complication in which pregnant women experience severe nausea and vomiting, which frequently leads to dehydration. 

Celebrities including the Duchess of Cambridge, Kelly Clarkson, and Amy Schumer also experienced it.

‘We made multiple visits to the ER for dehydration,’ John David explained. ‘She couldn’t eat, pretty much, or drink, or anything. So she was actually on IVs and had IVs at home. So that was a pretty scary time.’  

He added that he was taking especially good care of his wife. 

‘I keep her water filled up, and her snacks for her. I keep her eating and just comfortable. Anything I can get for her, I try to. I run to the store, [get] whatever she needs, just keep her as comfortable as possible when she’s feeling bad.’

Abbie said he even went to the grocery store to by a heat pack around midnight, and has cooked and cleaned as well.

‘He’s just been an angel,’ she added.  

Abbie was still struggling with hyperemesis gravidarum when her sisters-in-law Jessa, Joy Anna, Anna, Kendra, and Lauren had planned a joint maternity shoot together.

The five women — all pregnant except for Jessa, who had just given birth — were in the middle of the outdoor shoot when Abbie pulled up to join them as a surprise.

She had been resting just moments before, but changed into a flowy dress and flower crown to join them for the photogenic occasion. 

Everybody gets a bump: Abbie joined five of her sisters-in-law for a maternity shoot

Everybody gets a bump: Abbie joined five of her sisters-in-law for a maternity shoot

Another pregnancy? She used the shoot to surprise the other women with the news that she was pregnant

Another pregnancy? She used the shoot to surprise the other women with the news that she was pregnant

In on the secret: Jana, John David's twin sister, was the only one who knew, and she drove Abbie to the shoot

In on the secret: Jana, John David’s twin sister, was the only one who knew, and she drove Abbie to the shoot 

Pink stuff: The couple showed off pictures from their gender reveal on Instagram

Pink stuff: The couple showed off pictures from their gender reveal on Instagram 

Grandparents: The new mom and dad are pictured with their parents

Grandparents: The new mom and dad are pictured with their parents

Later in August, the couple held a gender reveal party at the Duggar compound, inviting nearly the whole family over to come discover the sex of their baby.

They then shared the happy news with fans, talking all things pink and bows for their future child.

‘We are so excited to announce that we are having a baby girl,’ the couple said in a joint video.

‘We knew the gender of the baby but our family didn’t. Nobody else except Jana knew,’ John David said, showing off photos of their big gender reveal on the lawn of his parents’ house.

The pair surprised everyone by setting off pink streamers and confetti.

‘I’m so excited about hair bows and pink dresses and lots of sparkle,’ said Abbie. 

‘I’m really looking forward to having a little baby girl around the house. I already have one, so now I’m gonna have two,’ John David added, referring to his wife. ‘I just hope she’s as pretty as her mommy. I know she will be.’

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