After spending months under the supervision of doctors in California, U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler’s infant daughter got to come home to Camas this week.
Herrera Beutler shared the good news in a statement Wednesday. She also announced she would travel to Washington, D.C., this week to vote on a federal budget deal, and that she would resume her full congressional duties in January.
“We are so grateful to the medical team at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital (in Palo Alto, Calif.) for their care of Abigail during her first months of life,” Herrera Beutler said. She also asked for “continued patience and prayers in the coming weeks as our family adjusts to life back home.”
While in the womb, Herrera Beutler’s first child, Abigail Rose Beutler, was diagnosed with Potter’s Syndrome. It’s a condition that stifles kidney development, reduces amniotic fluid production in the uterus and typically prevents the baby’s lungs from developing.
The diagnosis Abigail received was previously considered fatal. After receiving the diagnosis, however, Herrera Beutler underwent an experimental treatment — saline injections in her uterus — that allowed the baby’s lungs to develop while still in the womb.
After the treatment, Abigail was born prematurely in July with fully developed lungs. Her kidneys weren’t functioning, though, and she was whisked off to the California hospital for dialysis treatments. She will eventually need a kidney transplant.
The Republican congresswoman has been on leave since her daughter’s birth. She has traveled to Washington, D.C., to take a few crucial votes, including one in October to end the partial government shutdown. She also relies more heavily on her staff to communicate with 3rd District constituents.
“My staff and I will continue serving the residents of Southwest Washington just as we have throughout this challenging time,” Herrera Beutler said. “Like the millions of working mothers in this country, I will balance the responsibilities of my job with the needs of my family.”
Abigail has drawn national media attention and has been described as a “miracle baby.”
During the first few months of her life, Abigail received manual dialysis treatments administered through her abdomen. In November, Abigail was transferred to outpatient care and now receives dialysis treatments by machine. Abigail weighed 2 pounds, 12 ounces when she was born prematurely on July 15. She now weighs 10 pounds.
This week, Congress is expected to move on a two-year budget agreement reached by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. The $85 billion agreement would restore some of the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts, also known as the budget sequester, that were triggered in March by congressional gridlock and inaction.
Some federal lawmakers criticized the Murray-Ryan deal for glossing over long-term spending problems and for letting unemployment benefits expire. Supporters say the deal helps keep the nation from lurching from one manufactured economic crisis to the next.