Kirsten Andersen

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‘Miracle’: Congresswoman rejects abortion, baby becomes first ever to survive Potter’s syndrome

Kirsten Andersen
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WASHINGTON, D.C., July 30, 2013 (LifeSiteNews) – Is it a miracle, modern science, or perhaps a little bit of both?  One Republican Congresswoman is crediting both divine intervention and cutting edge medical care with the survival of her two-week old baby girl, something previously believed to be impossible.

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, 34, and her husband were told during pregnancy that their daughter had Potter’s Syndrome, a condition in which the kidneys fail to develop properly, leading to insufficient levels of amniotic fluid to allow the lungs to fully form.  The resulting pressure on the baby from the uterine walls often causes significant physical deformities, as well.  Up until now, the condition was considered 100% fatal.  The Beutlers were told to expect their baby to be stillborn or die of suffocation within minutes of birth – or have an abortion, which is something the pro-life couple would not do.

“There is no medical solution available to us,” the Buetlers wrote on Facebook after the diagnosis. “We are praying for a miracle.”  

Unwilling to give their daughter up without a fight, the Buetlers traveled to Johns Hopkins University for an experimental treatment called amnioinfusion.  Each week, doctors injected the congresswoman’s womb with a saline solution, giving little Abigail more room to grow and develop her lungs. 

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“With each infusion we watched via ultrasound as Abigail responded to the fluid by moving, swallowing and ‘practice breathing,’” the Buetlers wrote on Jaime’s Facebook page.  “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.”

Then, after only the fifth injection, Herrera Buetler went into premature labor, at only 28 weeks pregnant.

For four days, doctors tried to stop the labor and give baby Abigail more time to grow (a normal pregnancy is 40 weeks).  But on July 15, despite their best efforts, the little girl made her way into the world, weighing just two pounds, two ounces. 

Upon her arrival, she took a deep breath and cried.

“The doctors and nurses were prepared for the worst, but immediately after she was born, she drew a breath and cried,” Herrera Beutler said. “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.”

Because Abigail was born without kidneys, a condition called bilateral renal agenesis, she is on dialysis and will remain so until she can receive a kidney transplant.  But she is, in the Buetlers’ words, “active, stable and breathing on her own.” Doctors believe she is the first patient of her kind to survive.

The Buetlers announced the birth on Facebook Monday and thanked their team of doctors as well as the many people who prayed for them.

“We are grateful to the doctors and nurses … who, like us, were not willing to accept the fatal diagnosis, but were willing to fight for the impossible,” the couple wrote. “We are grateful to the thousands who joined us in praying for a miracle. But most of all, we are grateful to God for answering those prayers.”

“Abigail is making new friends in the NICU from all walks of life receiving exceptional care,” wrote the Buetlers.  “Although Abigail will need ongoing care after she comes home, we have every expectation that she will lead a full and healthy life.”

Said the Buetlers of their newborn daughter, “She is every bit a miracle.”

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