The Miracle of Life

I like to read obituaries and month or so back, I read one about a man who served with the Navy during World War II as a doctor.  He was on the ship that treated soldiers who had been wounded on Omaha Beach during D-day.

Very Impressive.

Well, it gets better… he was among the first to use antibiotics to combat infection.  Can you even imagine?  Just do a little research and see what it was like before antibiotics.

I was born in 1964.  And, because I was born after the widespread use of antibiotics, I can expect to live to eighty or more years.  Before antibiotics, I could have expected thirty-five to forty years.  Now, let’s think about those first doctors who were witness to the miraculous results that antibiotics brought to the world.  Did they  know what a marvelous thing that they were privileged to be a part of?

My husband is a veterinarian.  Specifically, he is an equine veterinarian.  He has limited his practice to horses for the last thirty years.  Many days can seem much like the last, but on occasion, he will witness little miracles that keep him invested in the daily grind.

In the last year, he has seen one procedure used in foals (newborn horses) that falls into the ‘big deal’ category.  It doesn’t affect human life like antibiotics did but in the equine world, it changes the way veterinarians have viewed and treated Neonatal Maladjustment Syndrome (NMS).

Foals that were born with Neonatal Maladjustment Syndrome were often referred to as ‘dummy foals.’  While a politically incorrect term, it was accurate.  These foals were thought to have had a traumatic birth, one that had deprived them of oxygen.  They look as if they are asleep. As a prey animal, they need to be aware of dangers and be capable of fleeing.  These foals rarely react to strangers, can’t find their mothers and run into walls.  Many times they lack the sucking instinct.

These cases were hard work for both the veterinarian and the owners with low odds of success.  Usually, the mare would be milked and baby had a nasal gastric tube passed so that the nourishment and colostrum went right to work.  If the baby could maintain strength and keep nursing, it would come out of this haze about half the time.

A few years ago, a vet at the University of California, Davis began looking outside of the box when he started noticing that a hormone that keeps the foal ‘asleep’ and is present before birth was still present and at high levels in these dummy foals.

He came up with a ‘squeeze method’ of treatment that mimics the pressure of contractions during foaling.  This squeeze triggers a sort of off switch for three different hormones that keep foals ‘asleep’ prior to birth.  He was amazed at the difference he saw.

Check out this  link, to see Dr. Madigan and his procedure in action.

Late last Monday night, my husband was called out to see a new foal.  Safe Harbor Equine and Livestock Sanctuary was fostering the mare and the day before she had foaled and the foal was not thriving.  So off he went.  But, before he left he went by the clinic to pick up some plasma in case the foal did not get enough colostrum from the mom.

He ran an IgG test and baby’s levels were fine.  He passed an N/G tube and fed the baby with it’s mother’s milk.



Baby was still very inactive.





So, he talked with the owners and they decided to give the ‘Madigan Squeeze’ a try.
















Once the ropes were tied, he held a little pressure for about twenty minutes.









Baby was quiet that night but by the next morning, this is what happened…


I find this fascinating.  After almost thirty years of the same old treatment, a new way of seeing changes everything.  If I am looking for God in all things, it certainly isn’t all that hard to find him here.  I am amazed at how there are lessons everywhere, if only we will pay attention.  And, it made me wonder…

How many times have we been asleep in our own lives when suddenly disease or tragedy squeezes us and we wake up and see things in a whole new light.

This new procedure is not only helpful to the veterinary world, it is also going to help researchers who are studying autism.  Pretty amazing, huh?

My little doxie, Lucy, likes to hug.  Yes, you heard me, she likes to hug.  She will raise herself up and lean into you in the best little embrace ever.  Granted, many times it’s at dinner time.  But, I’ll take it anyway.

I got to thinking about hugs one day and I asked my husband, “Why is it that we like to hug?  Why do we like to be squeezed by another person so much?”  He thought for a moment and then said, “because it mimics the process of birth…it’s what brings life.”

I think that’s very cool.  What about you?

About The Author

Jean Heaton

I am a daughter, sister, aunt, mother and probably most notoriously, ‘the Vet’s wife’.


  1. Robert | 23rd May 16

    This is awesome…..

    • Jean Heaton | 5th Jun 16


      I just discovered all of your comments. They have been going to spam. So bizarre. I wish I understood this format more. I will have my young techy friends take a look. Thank you for your comments.

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