by Steven Ertelt || 7/29/13
Doctors told Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler, a pro-life Republican from Washington state, that her baby had a potentially fatal diagnosis that would claim her life shortly after birth.
Beutler posted a message on Facebook in June saying her unborn child has been diagnosed with Potter’s Syndrome, a condition which prevents the child’s kidneys from developing properly and is typically fatal for the baby.
“Our baby has a serious medical condition called Potter’s Syndrome,” Herrera Beutler announced Monday on Facebook.“We have had a second opinion and the medical diagnosis was consistent with the initial news: there is no medical solution available to us. We are praying for a miracle.”
In Potter’s syndrome, the unborn baby has an atypical physical appearance as the result of oligohydramnios, a decrease in amniotic fluid volume that causes developmental problems and babies with Potter’s Syndrome typically die within a couple days of being born.
In a post on Facebook today, Beutler announced the birth of her daughter and said little Abigail Rose Beutler is doing well — two weeks later.
"With great joy, gratitude and hope, we are pleased to share with you the news of the birth of our daughter, Abigail Rose Beutler, on Monday, July 15 at 3:13 AM at Emanuel Legacy hospital in Portland. She weighed two pounds, twelve ounces and was only 28 weeks along. She is every bit a miracle.
A few weeks ago, we shared the news of her diagnosis of Potter’s Sequence. In Abigail’s case, Potter’s was caused by bilateral renal agenesis. The condition caused a complete absence of amniotic fluid, critical for lung development in the womb. Multiple doctors explained that based on medical evidence her condition was incompatible with life and that, if she survived to term, she would be unable to breathe and live only moments after birth. We were also told that dialysis or transplant were not possible. The options we were offered were termination or “expectant management,” that is, waiting for her to die. Instead, we chose to pray earnestly for a miracle. Many of you joined us.
Through the outreach of a parent who had faced a similar situation, we found a group of courageous and hopeful doctors at Johns Hopkins who were willing to try a simple, but unproven treatment by amnioinfusion. Every week for five weeks, doctors injected saline into the womb to give Abigail’s lungs a chance to develop. With each infusion we watched via ultrasound as Abigail responded to the fluid by moving, swallowing and “practice breathing.” The initial lack of fluid in the womb caused pressure on her head and chest, but over the course of the treatment we were able to watch them reform to their proper size and shape. Her feet, which were clubbed in early ultrasounds, straightened. There was no way to know if this treatment would be effective or to track lung development, but with hearts full of hope, we put our trust in the Lord and continued to pray for a miracle.
A day after the fifth infusion, Jaime went in to pre-term labor. After four days of trying to prevent pre-term delivery, Abigail prevailed and arrived. The doctors and nurses were prepared for the worst – but immediately after she was born, she drew a breath and cried! After a few minutes, it was clear that her lungs were very well developed for a baby born so early. The infusions had stopped the Potter’s Sequence....
As far as every doctor we’ve spoken with knows, Abigail is the first baby with bilateral renal agenesis to breathe sustainably on her own.
Abigail is making new friends in the NICU from all walks of life receiving exceptional care. Although Abigail will need ongoing care after she comes home, we have every expectation that she will lead a full and healthy life.