Grab your birthing pool and page your midwife because it’s time for a Duggar birthin’ episode!
Every season, a Duggar gal (or a girl who has married into the fertility-blessed family) finds herself huffin’ and puffin’ on a couch in her living room, expelling the fruits of her honeymoon humpin’ into the world. (Ok, let’s be fair: these are the Duggar girls, so most of the time, the crotchfruit is expelled at a hospital, following a ridiculously long and dangerous home-birth attempt.)
This time, the one doing the couch huffin’ and puffin’ will be Joy. Over the last few episodes, Joy has been absolutely miserable and ridiculously pregnant, so she’s surely eager to finally have her baby. (After all, she may get a day or two off from laboring in Austin‘s Home-Flipping Shop of Horrors due to giving birth!)
Before anyone can spew amniotic fluid, though, we first head to Jessa‘s house, where she is hosting a quiche-filled brunch for all of her pregnant sisters. Joining her are Jinger, Joy and Kendra (who has giggled her way quite nicely into the folds of this show, despite not being a Dug by birth.)
Jessa tells us that her son Henry’s first birthday party is being held that afternoon, but she’s taking the morning to tell her pregnant sisters horror stories about labor and delivery. (Most moms would be running frantic the morning of their kid’s first birthday party, trying to get everything ready, but not Jessa! She— and by “she” we, of course, mean Jana— has it under control enough to chat over quiche!)
Jessa has the three expecting mothers line up on her couch to dish on potential baby names, which none are willing to share, so… that’s fun. Joy is, as per usual, miserable and barely able to force herself to participate in the peppy baby talk.
“So…y’all have any baby…names?” she asks Jinger robotically. (Seriously, can someone check Joy’s pulse. Someone who’s not Jill, please…)
Joy and Austin say they’re not telling anyone which names they are considering because they don’t need to hear anyone’s opinion. To be fair, with a kid being born into this family roughly every other week, the chances of getting your favorite name snatched up by someone else are pretty high, so maybe these three are just playing it smart.
By the time poor Jana has a baby, though, the only available Bible-themed name left will be “Jezebel.” But, hey, it’s still better than “Spurgeon!”
After chatting about baby names and indigestion, the topic turns to baby delivery, specifically the big ol’ blessings that will soon shoot out of these three. Jessa excitedly reminds the girls that all of the Duggar girls have welcomed 9 pound babies during their first dip in the birthing pool. She gleefully explains how bad those big baby heads hurt as they rip through your delicate lady garden.
All three of the pregnant girls look more terrified than Michelle in a condom factory. Jessa then turns to poor Jinger and tells her that she is even more likely to pop out a super-sized spawn because of Jeremy’s height.
Jessa’s bedside manner is similar to Joe’s table manners: non-existent.
“Duggar babies… we just grow ‘em big, I don’t know why,” Jessa says. (Um…probably because you don’t get proper prenatal care, aside from having Jill move her trusty Doppler over your blanket-draped baby belly on occasion.)
Jessa then comments on the large heads that baby Duggars are born with.
The producers then cut to said big-headed Duggars to get their thoughts on “Duggar heads.”
“What is a Duggar Head?” a producer asks an assortment of Dugs.
No, seriously…this is an actual quote from the show. You can’t make this stuff up…
John-David tells the producers “you’re looking at” when asked about the massive-domed Duggar phenomenon, while Josiah and Jason give some lazy descriptions using their hands. (They refrain from asking Duggar Gigglebots Jeremiah and Jedidiah that question. They probably figured that they wouldn’t be able to air footage of the twins chuckling like Beavis and Butthead and uttering, “He said ‘head’…huhuhuhuhuh…”)
Then poor Kendra is asked about the large-headed child she’ll soon be shooting out of her blessing-maker and, per Fundie protocol, she talks about it while serving up a Michelle Duggar-like cheerful smile.
Before Jessa serves up her frozen breakfast pie, Kendra talks about her current food sensitivities which include spinach, fried foods and any form of tater tots, whether casseroled or not. (Sorry, Jim Bob.)
Seeing as how Joy is about one water heater installation away from popping out her big-headed baby, the girls switch the conversation to Joy’s “birthing plan.” It’s quite obvious that Joy is not thrilled to be having a baby, and even less thrilled to be doing it with a camera crew and basically every member within 200 miles watching.
She tells everyone that she’s “doing home birth, of course.”
Joy explains that, once she goes into labor, she and Austin will be bringing in their midwife along with Michelle, Jana, Jill, Jessa, Mama Forsyth, Megan Forsyth and Jing (if she’s willing to bring her own splash-zone poncho, that is.)
Jinger looks horrified just thinking about that many people ogling at her pickle pocket. She throws some shade at Joy regarding the number of people she’s planning to have present for her baby’s birth saying, “Woah! You are going to have a party!”
Joy then says she might go rogue and “kick everybody out.”
(Sorry Jana, you’ll still have to be there… someone has to hose down the place afterward, right?)
As for Kendra and Jinger, they prefer to keep their body fluids off of their hardwood floors so they will be giving birth in a hospital and birthing center, respectively. If Joy happens to need medical attention during her home birth (spoiler alert: she will), never fear, the hospital is only 30 minutes away…
Joy feels confident, though, that she’ll be fine, given that Austin used to be an EMT. (I swear she keeps saying “ENT,” though, which concerns me…)
Jessa looks at Kendra and Jinger with a bit of judgement. After all, she’s flung two babies from her cooter in the comfort of her own home, just like a good Fundie girl should do!
Later at the Duggar Compound, Jessa and assorted siblings set up a construction-themed birthday party for Henry and Tyler, who we later learn is Michelle’s great-nephew and “a part of our family for now.” (If you’re still wondering who the hell this Tyler kid is, this explains things better than Michelle did.)
The Baby Jesus has chosen not to bless the Duggars with good weather on the day of the party, so Jessa decides to move the bounce house plans indoors. Before long, an array of children are jumping around like wild animals. They are LITERALLY SWINGING FROM THE RAFTERS.
Soon, even Jim Bob and Michelle join in on the bounce house fun. (Luckily, Michelle’s uterus didn’t fall out with all the jumping. Phew! There’s nothing like prolapsed lady parts to ruin a first birthday party, am I right?!)
Kendra and Joe find the chaotic party to be pretty funny. Kendra says the party theme may be construction but it’s more of a deconstruction of the whole house. Joe and Kendra both think this joke is hysterical for some reason.
After the kids get their fill of bouncing for the moment, Jim Bob and Michelle and Ben and Jessa give the birthday boys a shout-out. Since Jessa hasn’t shared enough fun memories on this episode already, she forces us to relive Spurge’s first birthday, namely the part about him throwing up into his birthday cake. Oh, and the accompanying video, too. Thanks for that.
The next day, the newly engaged Josiah and Lauren stop by Jim Bob and Michelle’s 9,000-square-foot house renovation. Shortly after their arrival, Jim Bob asks the couple if they would be willing to “house sit” once the place is complete until it is sold—after they tie the knot of course.
Lauren is thrilled to be gifted a free giant house, but she does recognize that living in such a palace will result in her constantly cleaning. (I mean, it’s not like Josiah is going to do any housework. After all, he has a penis. It wouldn’t be right!)
“Siah” and Lauren are sold on the idea and even more so when they find out the house has a freaking elevator.
If I was Joy, I’d be downright pissed. She spent her first months of marriage crammed into a sweaty, ant-filled RV, while her brother gets a Hillbilly Mansion (complete with elevator) for free!
In a much smaller, non-elevator-equipped house, Joy is nearing her due date so she’s spending her last moments of freedom by cooking a ton of food with Michelle, Jana (of course) and Austin’s mom. Joy is barely managing to move her pregnant self around the kitchen, but she knows she’s going to need to have a supply of Austin’s favorite meals in the freezer for after she gives birth.
God forbid Austin have to make whatever “Helper” they’d be dining on after his wife literally just brought a human being into the world!
Instead, Joy is forced to spend her last days before becoming a teen mom preparing meals that her husband likes.
While they work, the women once again start talking about big babies. Michelle thinks Joy’s big-headed blessing will be about 8 pounds and Joy doesn’t seem to care as long as the thing makes its way out of her soon. She looks like she’d give her last denim skirt for a chance to nap and put her feet up.
The producers ask Austin if he’s worried about any complications during the birth (#foreshadowing) and he’s not too concerned as long as Joy manages to get all of her chores done before everything goes down. Joy again tells us that Austin’s “ENT” work will be helpful during her labor.
It’s almost time for 256th Duggar grandchild to make its debut and Joy is already basking in that home birth glow—aka alternating between putting her head down on random countertops and wandering around while looking like she’s going to pass out.
Once Michelle (who for reasons unknown keeps referring to herself in the third person as “Mama”) gets word that Joy is 6 centimeters dilated, she heads over to Joy and Austin’s house along with Jana, the ever-elusive Jill and Johanna… because what’s one more sibling tagging along, right?
(Even though Jill’s no longer appearing on ‘Counting On,’ thanks to her hubby, Derick, it’s clear that she put her foot down and insisted she be present at Joy’s labor. After all, Jill basically raised Joy, so it makes sense that she’d want to be there, with her trusty Doppler in hand!)
While Joy attempts to find a comfortable and water-resistant place to sit in around her house, the women hang out in the living room.
Joy looks like death warmed over. She is lying on some sort of mattress in the middle of a closet (or something), begging anyone within earshot to give her advice on how to breath through the unbearable pain. (If Jessa were there, we know she’d be sitting there with a s**t-eating grin on her face saying, “Told ya!”)
Johanna is sitting next to the mattress, holding Joy’s hand and clearly trying to figure out her exit strategy so that, in six years or so, she’s not the one on the dirty closet mattress with a kid stuck in her pelvis.
At this point, Joy has been in labor for nine hours and appears to be in a lot more pain. Jill assures her that things are looking good while Austin pets her face like she’s a dog, because evidently “ENTs” in Arkansas do that sort of thing.
Back at the Duggar Compound, Jim Bob and an assortment of Dugs and Dugs-in-law are sitting around, chewing the fundie fat while waiting to hear news of Joy’s birth. Things are jolly at first, but soon, Jim Bob receives word that the home birth plan isn’t going well (shocker) and Joy is going to the hospital.
Jim Bob puts the crew on prayer patrol and hits the road to be with Joy and her entourage.
Joy tells the producers that after about 19 hours of labor, the midwife realized the baby was breech.
For the love of Jim Bob, why did it take this midwife 19 HOURS to discover that the baby was breech!? This poor teenager labored almost a whole day before someone thought to check how the baby was laying. Jill, girl, where you at!?
Austin says HE was discouraged when he found out Joy had to go to the hospital.
“We were really hoping we could just have a home birth,” he says. “But at the same time, I was ready to have this baby.”
Because of the baby’s position (and Joy’s exhaustion), Joy, like Jill, ends up having a C-section. She tells us that being cut open was her biggest fear before going into the labor. (Hey, Joy, at least they didn’t have “ENT” Austin do the surgery, so there’s that!)
We find out that Joy has birthed a baby boy that weighs more than 10 pounds! That’s a whole lotta fundie baby!
Back at the Duggar Compound, the kids get a call from Jim Bob with the good news, which only Jenny is privy to initially because she was Joy’s former “buddy.”
Jenny shares the news with John-David who, for the second time this season, announces a baby’s gender using something that explodes.
After Johnny-D fires off the confetti cannon, the room fills with a sea of blue paper pieces… that Jana will have to vacuum up later. Back at the hospital, we see Joy and Austin’s baby boy, who Joy tells us has Austin’s nostrils. Well isn’t that… sweet?
Joy still looks like a used dishrag at this point (which, is, of course, understandable, given all she’s been through). However, the TLC camera crew has no shame, zooming right in on her exhausted face. Joy tells everyone that she and Austin are not announcing the baby’s name yet.
Two days after the baby is born, Joy and Austin are back home and finally decide on a name for their son: Gideon. Later on, they decide to give little Gideon’s immune system a workout by bringing over a van full of little Duggars to spread their love, kind words and assorted germs and bacteria.
Joy sits in a chair and holds Gideon as the pose for a family photo. Of course, we know this will probably be the only time poor Joy will be permitted to sit down going forward.
Next time on ‘Counting On,’ Kendra and Joy have a joint baby-shower celebration, Jeremy takes a wild ride on a mechanical bull and some of the Duggar kids go on a thrift store date, which in Duggar world is probably just called a date.
To read our recap of the previous ‘Counting On’ episode, click here!