Mia Jacobs Turner and her husband knew they both had the sickle cell trait and that their children would have a 1 in 4 chance of being born with the disease, but they decided to take their chances. Either way, they would still love and care for any baby they would have.
“Knowing there was the possibility gave us more time to prepare,” Mia says. It wasn’t until a few weeks after the birth of their first child, Nia, that the Turners learned their little girl had the disease. They sought medical attention right away at Children’s of Alabama.
Nia was started on penicillin therapy, which she takes daily to decrease the risk of infection in her bloodstream. The treatment has worked wonders. Nia has never experienced the pain of a crisis. “She has a very mild case of sickle cell,” Mia says. “The disease has never reared its head!”
If anything, when her hematocrit (red cell concentration) is low, she may become tired. Mia says she has learned to read these symptoms in her daughter and respond accordingly with rest time or extra fluids. “We just try to take precautions, like if she gets a cold I don’t let it linger too long before taking her to the doctor. We try to prevent her from getting infections.”
Nia is now 8 years old and doesn’t let her disease slow her down. By all accounts she is a typical elementary school girl who enjoys playing with dolls. She also loves her little brother, who has the sickle cell trait but does not have the disease. “We knew there was a chance our son could have sickle cell, too. But we took our chances because we already know what to expect,” Mia says. As for her daughter, life continues on as normally as possible.
“She knows she has sickle cell, but she doesn’t know the extent of it. With it being so mild, it hasn’t been an issue,” Mia says. “And we are truly grateful for that.”