Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler celebrates "miracle baby," first survivor of rare condition

Jaime Herrera Beutler is a second-term Republican Congresswoman from Washington State, an acolyte and former aide of the state’s other prominent conservative women legislator, Cathy McMorris-Rodgers. She’s one of the younger faces on the Hill, and she and her husband welcomed their first child in July. And, what a story, culminating in the blessing of a daughter who may be the first known survivor of her rare condition— Potter’s Syndrome.


OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) – U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler’s first child has survived two weeks after birth despite a pregnancy problem that is usually fatal.

Herrera Beutler (BUT’-ler) announced Monday that her daughter, Abigail Rose Beutler, was born July 15. Doctors had diagnosed a serious problem during the pregnancy called Potter Syndrome, in which impaired kidney function leads to low amniotic fluid. It is typically fatal because it prevents the unborn child’s lungs from developing.

Abigail has no kidneys and had no amniotic fluid in the womb. During the pregnancy, doctors injected saline solution into the womb in the place of amniotic fluid.

Abigail was born early but had fully developed lungs. She requires ongoing dialysis and will eventually need a kidney transplant.

Thanks to an experimental procedure at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, little Abigail had saline in the absence of amniotic fluid, which allowed her lungs to develop:

Most children born with the condition are unable to breathe on their own.

Despite the seemingly hopeless situation, the congresswoman and her husband, Daniel, said they were praying for a miracle and would continue with the pregnancy.

She underwent an experimental procedure at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore called amnioinfusion, in which doctors injected saline solution into the womb to facilitate lung development.

She had the procedure every week for five weeks.

Having continued to work in Congress during the bulk of her pregnancy, Beutler went into labor prematurely in mid-July in her home state.


Herrera Beutler and her doctor seem to have stumbled on the treatment during her diagnosis. Here’s hoping it can be used for other children.

Herrera Beutler heard discouraging opinions from two doctors before she saw Hopkins physician Jessica Bienstock. The perinatologist injected her uterus with saline for an ultrasound. What she saw looked like a textbook case of BRA-caused Potter’s sequence, according to a statement from the hospital — no kidneys, a deformed head and chest.

But at another checkup a week later, they were surprised to find that the saline — only intended for the diagnosis — seemed to be helping: The baby was developing and moving around. Herrera Beutler asked for more infusions; Bienstock gave her five over several weeks.

She was born at 28 weeks and a little over two pounds, but is now breathing on her own.

“She is every bit a miracle,” the new mother, from Washington state, said in a release.

Abigail Rose has a kidney transplant and an uncertain future ahead of her. Keep her and her family in your prayers.

Correction: I changed the spelling of Jaime Herrera Beutler’s first name, which I got wrong the first time around.


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