'19 Kids and Counting' Season 8, episodes 8 and 9: The Duggars visit a fertility clinic

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On Tuesday's (May 20) back-to-back new episodes of  "19 Kids and Counting ," the Duggars were all over the place. Washington D.C.! Ski slopes! Doctors! Kitchens! Birth centers and gyms! So many Duggars, so many activities.

And importantly, Michelle and Jim Bob visit an obstetrician who specializes in high-risk pregnancies to find out if there's some reason she may not be conceiving naturally. But more on that in a bit.

"Something New"

Jessa and Ben are still courting strong, and in this episode, Jessa spends some time with Ben's sisters at his family's house, learning to cook some of his favorite dishes. Jinger is the assigned chaperone for the visit (even though they're courting, they aren't left alone.) Jessa isn't one to mince words, and states plainly that she's not a good cook, but she pitches in to try. As an extremely conservative gender-role family, Jessa states plainly that she'll be doing the majority of the cooking, when Ben is at work. But as Michelle says, "expectations ruin relationships. Don't expect nothing!" But chicken alfredo and apple pie are made from scratch, and Jessa learns from his sisters that Ben ... snores. And she got roses from Ben for her troubles, and a big "I love you." Even non-romantic Jessa got swoony. 

Does anyone have any apple pie? No? Moving on.

Meanwhile, Jana and Joseph head up to visit Josh and Anna in D.C., and go skiing. Anna is a ski newbie, so she tags along to ski school with Mackynzie and Michael (but doesn't learn too much.) Anna will not be winning any medals for skiing. But, hey, she actually wore ski pants for the second half of their adventure. Without a skirt on top of them. Duggar record.

Also, as she has in the last few shows, Michelle spends some one on one time with Joy, learning how to play "Amazing Grace" on the violin. Or, should we say, trying to re-learn. Joy, however, has been playing for 13 years. Go Joy.

"Couple's Weekend"

On the second new episode, Jana and Joseph switch places with Jessa, Ben, and Jinger in D.C., we witness Jana and Jill help deliver a baby, and Jim Bob and Michelle visit a specialist. 

Jill and Jana are both training in midwifery -- Jill as a midwife; Jana, a doula -- so they visit a birth center to help a laboring mom. Jessa also attends to take pictures of the new baby (and after a particularly sharp wail from the mom, makes the best face possible. It was a cross between fear and panic, punctuated with a flight-or-fight shudder.)

Meanwhile, in D.C., Ben and Josh spend some bonding time together. They've only met once briefly before, so big bro Josh grills Ben on his intentions. But Ben smokes him in the gym, so it's a trade-off. Ben, as a brother himself, fully expected the grilling. They do some D.C. sightseeing, and spend some time hanging out. Ben passed the Josh and Anna test. 

Perhaps the biggest point of the episode though: Michelle and Jim Bob visit OBGYN Dr. Paul Wendell to, as Michelle says, "find out where I am in my life right now, hormonally speaking, as well as the ability to carry a baby and give birth ... to find out if that's possible at this point."

Dr. Wendell explained, plainly, that Michelle's chances of getting pregnant naturally after the mid-40s point, is "very unusual ... less than 5%." On top of that, in consideration of her preeclampsia with Josie, resulting in a very early birth, and her miscarriage of Jubilee, along with the increased risks for genetic complications, he worries about Michelle conceiving again and carrying a baby to term. She does get a blood test to determine if she's menopausal, and past the point of having another baby.

Let's be clear: they weren't trying to get pregnant again through IVF or anything of that nature. Michelle has given birth to 19 children. She's obviously put some stress on her reproductive system. Additionally, even if she'd not had one child, she's 47. While I applaud Jim Bob and Michelle for visiting a doctor to discuss her "season of life," the fact that she's not conceived a child for several years seems to point to the fact that, indeed, Michelle is done having children -- no matter what blood tests and doctors would say. Jim Bob says they're fine with "God's will" regardless (that's what gave them 19 kids,) but it seems they wanted the doctor to explain that to them. 

Next week, Derick is home! 
Photo/Video credit: TLC