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Congresswoman’s “Miracle Baby” now at home, defies predictions that baby was “beyond hope”

by | Dec 12, 2013

 

By Dave Andrusko

U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler and her husband, Dan Beutler, pause for a photo with their daughter, Abigail Rose Beutler

U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler and her husband, Dan Beutler, pause for a photo with their daughter, Abigail Rose Beutler

Abigail will be home for Christmas!

The story of Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler’s “miracle baby” was one of the true feel-good stories of 2013. Now the baby that was given no chance to live was released this week to go home to Camas, Washington, after spending months on dialysis in a California hospital.

“We are so grateful to the medical team at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital (in Palo Alto, Calif.) for their care of Abigail during her first months of life,” Herrera Beutler said. She also asked for “continued patience and prayers in the coming weeks as our family adjusts to life back home.”

For newcomers to the story, Jaime and her husband Daniel had received devastating news when they came in for a routine ultrasound: their baby—their first—had a fatal condition (Potter’s Syndrome) for which nothing could be done.

Abigail was thought to be beyond hope because babies with Potter’s Syndrome lack amniotic fluid, which is crucial for lung and kidney development.

“It is the worst moment in your life,” Jaime, a U.S. representative from Washington state, told Savannah Guthrie of THE TODAY SHOW.

“He was looking at us, he was telling us ‘your baby has no options.’ It’s incompatible with life, it’s terminal. And at that moment, she was moving. She was moving in me, and he is telling me she’s not going to live,” she told Guthrie. “It was an amazing reality check.”

The congresswoman and her husband refused to give up hope. Doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital offered an ingenious therapy: inject saline solution to offset the missing amniotic fluid. (“Jaime said they learned about the Johns Hopkins physician after another parent slipped her a name and said, ‘Here’s a doctor who might try,’” according to Eun Kyung Kim who wrote the story that appeared on the TODAY website.)

After the treatment, Abigail was born prematurely July 15 with fully developed lungs. “Her kidneys weren’t functioning, though, and she was whisked off to the California hospital for dialysis treatments,” according to Stevie Mathieu, writing for The Columbian.

Abigail, born at 2 pounds, 12 ounces, was transferred to outpatient care in November and now receives dialysis treatments by machine. (Previously she’d received manual dialysis treatment through her abdomen.) Abigail now weighs 10 pounds.