Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thankful Thursday: Pigs Saved My Life and My Baby

Our little miracle who arrived at the end of June.

"Pigs Saved My Life and My Baby"...
That title might sound dramatic, but it is the truth.
After having two miscarriages last year, my physician tested me for a number of things. Turns out I have not one, but two, genetic blood clotting disorders. For both disorders bloodclots that cause miscarriage are one of the main side-effects.
One of the disorders is called "Factor V (five) Leiden".
You can learn more about it here:
If this disorder goes undiagnosed, a woman may experience repeated miscarriages and these may occur at just about any point in pregnancy. You can imagine that it just takes a small blood clot to stop the flow of blood through a tiny umbilical cord. Factor V can also cause a dangerous blood clot in the mother (aka ME).
When I was diagnosed I realized I had been walking around like a ticking bomb. I had two healthy pregnancies with my daughters, now 4 and 2, but I was doing some very risky things for a person with Factor V, including long-distance driving, sitting in long meetings without moving around, and simply being pregnant. I could have lost either child at just about any point or had a life-threatening blood clot at just about any moment.
I thank God for the quality care I have recieved from my doctors and nurses and the hematology team at the Roger Maris Center in Fargo that I was able to work with, especially since I live in rural North Dakota in a community of just 15,000 people.
There is no cure for Factor V, but once diagnosed it is fairly simple to treat. I just have to give myself a daily injection of an anticoagulant ("blood thinner") when travelling long distances (ex: long overseas flights where I can't move around very frequently) and during pregnancy.
So here is where my background in agriculture and animal science helped me realize something very interesting.
When Jeremy and I found out we were expecting again in November, I was reading the information on my injection- the generic name is "enoxaparin sodium" and the trade name is "Lovenox"- and right there on the package it said "derived from porcine intestinal mucosa".
That means that this wonderful drug that kept myself and my newborn son alive is from PIG GUTS!
I was ecstatic!
I realize it might sound a bit wierd to be so excited about pig guts, but once upon a time, I raised pigs. I know how much work it is, and I am SO VERY grateful to God for making these wonderful creatures that can sustain human life not just as a source of food, but also pharmaceuticals. I am also grateful to those in the swine industry who have dedicated their lives to the quality care of these animals. I am especially grateful to the scientists who discovered and developed this amazing link between pigs and human health!
Thanks for stopping by on this THANKFUL THURSDAY!
Sarah :)
*If you have had suffered the loss of a baby, know that you are not alone. Feel free to contact me, or talk to a friend or family member about your feelings, or contact one of many support groups:
May God keep you in His tender loving care in your time of need.


  1. Thanks for sharing this Sarah. I'm crying happy tears after reading it. We have so much to be thankful for!

  2. Sarah this was so bold of you to share and I love how you shared your animal science connection. You are blessed and we are so thankful for your health and new farm boy! See you soon. Much love prairie mama!

  3. This is amazing! I had no idea that such drugs were made from pig intestines. I can relate to your experience as my grandfather, now in his late 70s is still alive because of a bovine aortic valve replacement on his heart. He was a farmer his whole life and raised many cattle. To know that the same animals he spent so much of his life with saved his life is just amazing to me! Thanks so much for sharing your story.

  4. Great story! Thanks for sharing such an important message - especially important for those who don't realize the importance of all aspects of ag.

  5. Thanks also for letting me know it is heritary!

  6. Thanks for the support ladies- just trying to shed a little light on an often unappreciated area of agriculture :)

  7. Sarah:

    Just found your blog today. Hope you the baby are doing OK in 2013.

  8. My mom has had upwards of 25 surgeries and suffered from blood clots as well. This last year she broke her leg, then her hip, and her leg again and had to use Lovenox after every surgery as well. After the last surgery I was giving her these shots daily and realized the exact same thing-the pigs that I love so much were keeping my mom safe and healthy!

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I hope all is well!

  9. Hey Sarah... And with the research that you uncovered you were able to share with your family and cousins and I found out I too have Factor V, I too have two angel babies and I am now mom to a beautiful healthy baby girl and used Lovinox throughout my pregnancy with Abby! YAY PIGS!!!! Thanks cousin!!!!!

  10. Hi Sarah, I'm very sorry for your losses and so glad you were able to have your rainbow babies with the help of science and pigs. I have an angel as well and am pregnant now. I'm also thankful for the scientists and doctors who figure out all these ways to help us stay healthy.