Usually when you go to your routine, second-trimester ultrasound, the biggest news you expect to get is whether you have a boy or a girl baking away in there. Some couples aren’t so lucky though -- they get the devastating news that their child has a fatal condition and will die.
That’s what happened to first-time mom Jaime Herrera Beutler and her husband Daniel last spring. “It is the worst moment in your life,” said Jaime, a U.S. representative from Washington.
He was looking at us, he was telling us "your baby has no options." It’s incompatible with life, it’s terminal. And at that moment, she was moving. She was moving in me, and he is telling me she’s not going to live ... It was an amazing reality check.
But baby Abigail Rose defied the odds and was born a relatively healthy 28-week preemie on July 15. Nearly two months later, she’s thriving and, aside from requiring dialysis, is a normally developing preemie.
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Thanks to an experimental treatment, Abigail might be the only child to ever survive Potter’s Syndrome. The condition occurs when there isn’t enough amniotic fluid for the fetus’ lungs and kidneys to develop. Babies affected by Potter’s die shortly after birth, no longer receiving oxygen through the umbilical cord.
The Beutlers were turned down by many doctors after asking for help to try and save their unborn daughter. They finally got some from a doctor at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, who injected Jaime’s womb with saline solution over the course of weeks to take the place of the missing amniotic fluid.
The baby began to develop normally. She was born early and without kidneys, but her parents and doctors believe she’s an absolute miracle. She’ll need a kidney transplant next year, but her progress is mind-blowing.
“She is doing amazing,” Jaime said. “In the last couple of days, we got to the point where we’re holding her. She’s playing. She will scream when her diaper is dirty. She is like any other baby. She has a few challenges, but man, she’s determined.”
It’s not surprising that this little girl is a fighter, given the determination of her parents to save her. I can’t imagine what they went through, going to doctor after doctor only to be told over and over that nothing could be done to save their baby.
They hope that their story encourages other parents in similar situations. Daniel said:
There are no guaranteed solutions and there’s no necessarily magical cures, certainly for (Potter’s Syndrome), but don’t be satisfied with one opinion because there are a lot of intelligent doctors with different perspectives and experiences and opinions, so work to find one who will partner with you to find anything possible.
Does this story warm your heart as much as mine?
Image via Marie Smith/Flickr