Doctors Told This WA Congresswoman Her Baby Would Die. Today, Her Daughter Is Eight Years Old.

Photo by Storiès on Unsplash
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U.S. Congresswoman Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler had just announced her pregnancy when she received the words that comprise every expecting mother’s worst nightmares: “Your baby is going to die.”

At her baby’s 22-week anatomy scan, the technician went silent upon discovering the little girl had no kidneys, and Beutler and her husband were rushed to the hospital where doctors diagnosed the child with a rare condition, Potter’s syndrome.

“I didn’t know what that meant,” Beutler recently told CBN News. “I just knew it was bad.”

She explained that doctors told her, “Your baby has no kidneys, which means there’s no amniotic fluid in there, which means your baby is going to die. There is no chance your baby will live. No baby has ever survived this,’’”

“There is nothing to describe getting news like that,” the Republican lawmaker recounted of what she described as the “worst moment” in her life.

But when doctors recommended abortion or induction so she could briefly meet her baby before she perished, Beutler refused to give up on her unborn child.

“You are not getting that I do not want to be the one who ends this,” she said she remembered thinking. “I want this baby. I don’t want to end her life.”

It was at this time that an email devotional pointed her towards the healing power of Christ and she resolved to put her trust in the hands of the One who made her little girl, who in turn urged her “to contend” for her child.

“It was five different scriptures about healing — about Jesus and how he healed people,” she explained of the inspiring words. “There was a little message about contending.”

This is just what she did.

In a message to supporters at the time, Beutler revealed that she and husband Daniel were “praying for a miracle.”

“A few weeks ago, Daniel and I excitedly announced that we are expecting our first baby later this fall. This post is to let you know about a sharp turn our journey has taken,” she explained, describing the results of the ultrasound.

“There is no medical solution available to us,” she wrote. “We are praying for a miracle.”

The Lord would carry the devoted mother through the rest of her pregnancy, using Scripture as a guiding lamp.

“I felt like the Lord said, ‘I’m going to give you the next step and the next step and the next step,” she explained. “The Lord just really started to speak to my heart about what I was supposed to do in terms of contending for Abigail’s healing.”

On Capitol Hill, she discovered the “humanity” of her colleagues on both sides of the aisle, who showed her earnest support and shared their own experiences with loss and triumph in the face of adversity, although it was clear many pitied her for what they viewed as the inevitable death of her unborn baby.

However, at this time, her public story began to attract advice and personal stories from those who heard about the seemingly ill-fated pregnancy, including the novel suggestion to inject saline solution about the baby.

At first, doctors refused to try. Yet Beutler searched around to find one who would — and ultimately proved the rest of them sorely mistaken in assuming the procedure wouldn’t work.

“We watched as that first amount of fluid went in, and it started to fill,” Beutler explained. “We saw [Abigail] open her mouth and swallow the fluid, and her lungs started to practice breathing.”

This was the beginning of Abigail’s road to recovery, and what followed was a difficult delivery and years of dialysis for the little girl before her father donated part of his own kidney to her.

But when she cried after being born, stunning everyone in the room with her incredible survival, it became clear that, like her mother, the little girl was a fighter.

Today, Abigail is alive, well, and thriving.

“She is a happy, healthy 8-year-old sister. She is really bright,” the proud mother said. “She reads at, like, a 9th-grade level.”

Today, Beutler uses her position to encourage other families in the same position to fight for their own little ones in the womb.

“We have encouraged and wanted to reach out to other families who are in these situations,” she explained. “Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer.”

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