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Multiple Miracles: BMC Helps Sickle Cell Patient Deliver Healthy Twins

BMC’s Center of Excellence in Sickle Cell Disease cared for Helen Sarpong during her complicated pregnancy.
Collaboration between BMC’s hematology and
obstetrics teams helped Helen Sarpong give birth
to healthy twin girls, Ava and Layla, despite her
high-risk pregnancy. Today, the young family is thriving.

Today as Helen Sarpong smiles down at her beautiful twin baby girls, she is the picture of maternal bliss, but life has never been easy for the 34 year old. Helen suffers from sickle cell anemia, an often painful disorder of the red blood cells, which put her complicated pregnancy with twins at even further risk.

“A pregnant woman with sickle cell anemia is often more susceptible to acute sickle cell crises, which are extremely painful and stressful episodes on the body and organs. In addition, fetal growth can be a concern, so it is very important to monitor the blood flow between the mother and fetus. With twins, multiply the risks by two,” said Aviva Lee-Parritz, M.D., vice chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Boston Medical Center (BMC).

Because of BMC’s reputation for top experts, advanced research and state-of-the-art care for sickle cell disease, Helen sought out BMC’s Center of Excellence in Sickle Cell Disease for her ongoing treatment.

“I know hospitals, and when I came to Boston Medical it was amazing because they knew how to treat me as a patient. I didn’t feel like I was just a number, I felt that I belonged, and I felt like they wanted me to succeed, and in return, I wanted to fight, I wanted to get well,” explained Helen.

When Helen found out she was pregnant, it seemed a natural choice to begin her maternity care at BMC’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Experts from the hematology and obstetrics departments worked hand-in-hand to monitor Helen’s health and her pregnancy through prenatal screenings and ultrasounds.

“I was just worried about the babies pretty much surviving. And for them to survive the blood flow between me and the babies had to be good, and there were times when it wasn’t. But the doctors, they were on top of everything, every step up of the way,” said Helen.

In fall 2008, Helen delivered healthy baby girls, Ava and Layla, at BMC’s BirthPlace/Well Baby Unit.

“I was so emotional. It was like [after] 33-years of having sickle cell, it was like I didn’t have it. That I am a mother, that I have these beautiful babies, it felt amazing. It felt like I could do anything. That is exceptional care and that is what Boston Medical means to me,” smiled Helen.