Daily Dispatches
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler and her husband Dan, pictured with baby Abigail.
Associated Press/Photo by the Office of U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler and her husband Dan, pictured with baby Abigail.

Congresswoman’s miracle baby survives ‘fatal’ pregnancy

Life

Washington Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler and her husband Daniel announced the birth of their miracle baby Monday, months after doctors diagnosed her with Potter’s Sequence, a fatal condition.

The rare pre-natal disease causes impaired kidney function and produces abnormally low amounts of amniotic fluid, which inhibits normal lung development. Doctors told the Beutlers that baby Abigail would not be able to breathe and would die only moments after birth. They told the parents their only options were to terminate the pregnancy or wait for the child to die. 

Despite the seemingly hopeless diagnosis, the Beutlers decided to carry their daughter to term. Jamie, a pro-life Republican, wrote on Facebook in June, “We don’t know what the future holds for our family, but we ask for your prayers and appreciate the privacy a family needs in such circumstances. … We are praying for a miracle.” 

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The Beutlers said a parent who faced a similar situation told them about an unproven treatment called amnioinfusion, and they found doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore who were wiling to try it. “Every week for five weeks, doctors injected saline into the womb to give Abigail’s lungs a chance to develop,” the parents said in a joint statement. “There was no way to know if this treatment would be effective … but with hearts full of hope, we put our trust in the Lord and continued to pray.”

On July 15, just 28 weeks into her pregnancy, Jamie Beutler gave birth to Abigail, who weighed only 2 lb, 12 oz. Abigail Beutler is the only known survivor of Potter’s Sequence. The Beutlers said that though the doctors and nurses prepared for the worst, their daughter drew a breath and cried immediately after birth. 

But Abigail was born without kidneys and has already withstood one surgery and dialysis treatment. The Beutlers said, “She is active, stable, and breathing on her own.” 

Dr. Louis Halamek, a neonatologist at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in California, said they are cautiously optimistic about Abigail’s future: “Despite Abigail’s prematurity, small size, and life-threatening disease, she is doing well.” 

The Beutlers say they are grateful to the thousands who joined with them in prayer, “but most of all, we are grateful to God for answering those prayers.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Alissa Robertson
Alissa Robertson

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