Learning to manage my blood disorder crises
Maimuna and Urma Maiyaki-Oyekan were married a year ago and are thrilled that their first baby is on the way. However, the path to this point has been far from straightforward due to Maimuna's potentially life-threatening disorder, sickle cell.
One of the major decisions facing the couple before having children was to make sure Urma was not a carrier of the sickle cell disorder, an inherited condition.
If he had been a carrier of the condition, it would have made it likely any children the pair had would have sickle cell disease.
As he is AA, which means he is does not have the disease and is not a carrier, their children will not have the condition, although they are likely to carry the sickle cell gene.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
Maimuna, who lives in Leicester city centre, said: "I love my husband very much but I am not sure that we would have got married if he wasn't AA.
"You have to be mindful of your choices. Sickle cell is not something I would want to pass on to anyone else."
Sickle cell is a condition in which faulty stem cells produce red blood cells which are crescent instead of disc-shaped.
They are rigid, which means they cannot squeeze through smaller vessels. This leads to blockages that deprive parts of the body of oxygen.
Maimuna, 30, said: "I have had it all my life but didn't really understand it until I was about 18."
She spoke of her first "crisis" when the red blood cells became jammed.
Maimuna said: "I was in so much pain and it felt like my breathing was shutting down and I was in hospital for a week until it eased.
"Since then, I have had a lot of crises but I do manage the condition much better.
"Cold weather can bring it on and becoming dehydrated, so I make sure I keep warm, that I drink enough and if I am feeling tired I don't do too much."
Despite knowing her body so well, three years ago, in 2009, Maimuna suffered a life-threatening crisis when the blood vessels near her chest were affected.
She was then put on a drug used to treat leukaemia which helped the condition.
She said: "For the first time in my life I felt like a normal person, it was fantastic."
However, Maimuna was warned it could lead to infertility so in February she came off the drug. In July, she discovered she was pregnant.
She said: "I do suffer pains easily but I am being very careful, making sure I keep hydrated and take it easy.
"There is a joint team of clinical experts looking after me and I will be closely checked throughout the pregnancy."
Once she has breast fed her baby, Maimuna will consider going back on the medication used to treat leukaemia.
She said: "There is no cure but I would like to see more information for people.
"There is still a stigma attached to sickle cell and people who say they will pray to God it won't be passed on to their children.
"There would be far less pain if people made informed choices."