July 30th, 2013
10:49 AM ET
12 months ago

Congresswoman shares photo of 'miracle baby'

(CNN) – Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler and her husband shared a photo Tuesday of their "miracle baby," which was born in mid-July surviving an often-fatal medical condition.

Herrera Beutler, a Washington state Republican, gave birth on July 15 to a daughter who had been diagnosed with Potter's Syndrome while still in utero. The disorder is associated with low levels of amniotic fluid, which is essential to the healthy development of a baby's lungs.

Abigail, the daughter of Herrera Beutler and her husband, was born more than three months premature without kidneys

"When delivered pre-term at 28-weeks' gestation in Portland, it is believed Abigail became the first baby on record with bilateral renal agenesis to breathe sustainably on her own," the congresswoman's office said in announcing the baby's birth.

The couple first announced in early June that their baby was experiencing a serious medical condition in the womb.

"There is no medical solution available to us. We are praying for a miracle," they wrote on Herrera Beutler's Facebook page.

But in their announcement of Abigail's birth, the couple describing finding doctors at the Johns Hopkins Hospital who administered serial amnioinfusion, which amounts to injecting a saline solution into the womb as a replacement for amniotic fluid.

"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," the congresswoman and her husband wrote, describing a 5-week process of undergoing the injection treatments.

Initially the lack of fluid in the womb caused "pressure on her head and chest," though eventually they shifted into normal sizes and shapes. The statement announcing the baby's birth didn't specify whether those early setbacks had any other effect on the baby's development.

"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," they wrote.

Their daughter was born with fully intact lungs – a sign the infusions of saline solution were successful. Her lack of kidneys, however, was a serious risk, and the baby was put on dialysis at the Packard Children's hospital at Stanford University in California.

Abigail remains at the children's center, and Herrera Beutler's office said "doctors are uncertain what her future holds" and that she would require continued dialysis and an eventual kidney transplant.


Filed under: Congress
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    As a healthcare professional who is a medical biller in a clinic for special needs children, if Obamacare wasn't in place, the child's coverage would not be covered for a 365 day period because it's a pre-existing condition. However since she has FEP, under BCBS policy, a diagnosis resulting from an illness, injury or congenital defect or surgery will be covered. But she would have still had to wait to a year before the claims will be covered.

    July 30, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  2. Dixie

    God bless this child and her family. Grant them strength and healing and help them to deal with all the problems she will have.

    July 30, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  3. Steveo

    @Steven CaboWabo
    Amazing how some people confuse praying and miracle with good luck and science to the point that their own statement don't match.
    -------
    Amazing how some people fail to understand people of faith still exists!

    July 30, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  4. PJ

    All I know is that looking at that precious little face makes me happy. Good luck, little Abigail and God Bless!

    July 30, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  5. Doug Wilson

    Oh, what a bunch of nonsense. A miracle? Really? No, it is called science. How about giving credit to the doctors that deserve it, and not some mystical nonsense.

    July 30, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  6. OK

    BTW she is NOT in the Congress but at the state level!
    ---–

    She is a US Congressperson representing the 3rd district of Washington State.

    July 30, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  7. Mark

    Thank God for the baby that the congresswoman had government funded health care, and received all the care she needed to save her life. Every family in this country deserves nothing less. But I suppose that this lesson will be lost on this Republican.

    July 30, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  8. Zeke2112

    If you're going to give god the credit for this as a miracle, you should also hold him responsible for the lack of kidneys which will have this little girl dependent upon the medical system for a very long time.

    Some miracle.

    July 30, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  9. Seriously

    Clearly even the most desperate situations can lead to some good. Thank God for His miracles

    July 30, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  10. yeahright

    That health insurance isn't given to federal employees. You have to pay for it, just like everybody else does. It's not cheap either.

    ---–

    They only pay for part of it. There are numerous plans that all federal employees can choose from, and Congresspeople most often opt for a Blue Cross/Blue Shield Plan of which the govervment covers about 3/4 of the premium cost. The plans and rates are public information and are on line to view. A plan for a family of four runs somewhere between $300 and $400 a month (depending on the plan) out of the employees pocket for a family, the government pays the rest.

    July 30, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  11. Matt from CT

    @Malory Archer

    Matt from CT

    That health insurance isn't given to federal employees. You have to pay for it, just like everybody else does. It's not cheap either.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Yeah, except she isn't a "federal employee" – she's an elected official and doesn't pay a dime for her or her family's medical care.
    ******************************************************************************************************************************
    I know that. I was sort of responding to S.B. Stein, who claimed that all Americans should have the same health insurance options that members of Congress AND all federal employees are given. Federal Employees have the same insurance options as everybody else, and they ARE NOT free, nor are they cheap. Now Congress on the other hand, we all pay for their health insurance.

    July 30, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  12. Bonzo

    She's a wingnut who keeps voting to repeal AFCA, all the while sponging from Congress's Cadillac health plan. Prayers for the baby but the mom is an absolute disgrace.

    July 30, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    " How about giving credit to the doctors that deserve it, and not some mystical nonsense."

    I'm sorry, but that would require admitting that health care decisions, including decisions about how to legislate about health care systems, should be based on science and data, and that's just anathema to the GOP/Teatrolls. Ergo, she and the MSM must always refer to this as a "miracle" instead of a "carefully planned and executed success story for medical science."

    July 30, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  14. mergatroid

    yeah Dutch, so now the tax payers have to pay to keep this miracle child on all sorts of medical equipment. What the heck kind of life is that for a child? And for the parents? Sorry, I don't believe it in.

    July 30, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  15. Ava Tzername

    If one is born without kidneys, I'm curious as to how a kidney transplant would work . . .are the kidneys just not there, but the necessary nerves, blood vessels, whatever connects kidneys to the rest of the body are there?

    July 30, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  16. Saboth

    Born without kidneys? Man, that kid's going to have a rough life. Interestingly enough, Republicans are against science and progress of knowledge, yet they call this baby a "miracle baby", as if some kind of magical angel appeared that allowed their baby to be born. No, it was science and advancement that made that happen.

    July 30, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  17. M.E.

    Sure, just ignore the doctors who are making it possible for this "miracle" child to survive at all. So now the baby gets to live a "life" constantly hooked to machines for survival. That's not a life, that's mere survival.

    July 30, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  18. All Babies

    All babies are miracles. This baby is a credit to science as well as god. Everyone should have access to this healthcare. Hopefully she and other member of Congress should realize that everyone should have the same benefits as them.

    July 30, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
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