Being pregnant with H.I.V. Hello everyone, I hope you are well. In honour of World Aids Day 2019, I want to share my story about living with H.I.V. I have been living with H.I.V. for six years. And I feel I am in a place where I am ready to live life in full and talk about it. I have spoken about my pregnancy journey in a previous post. However, I have not discussed things a little further. It has been a long journey since my pregnancy diagnosis in 2013. I have learnt so much and still learning, and I feel ready to share my story.
Being Pregnant With H.I.V
I was three months pregnant when I was diagnosed with H.I.V. I had little knowledge about the virus. The last time I heard about the virus was in Primary School, portraying H.I.V. as a death sentence. So just hearing the letters – H.I.V. freaked the hell out of me.
I was scared, confused, like, what does this mean? Am I going to die with a baby growing inside of me? Will I even have the baby? I mean, this is the U.K. People don’t get H.I.V. in the U.K. – I was so naive. I thought only people in Africa would get such a thing.
I asked the doctors to double-check my details to make sure they were considered H.I.V. positive. It turned out it was me. I couldn’t handle the news. However, as soon as the doctors said H.I.V. was not what it used to be back in the 70s/80s, I shouldn’t worry because I would not die. That gave me a sense of relief.
Getting Advice and Information
I told my parents as soon as I found out. My mum believed that the virus was a death sentence and didn’t think what the doctors said about it. My family and I had more than one Doctor’s appointment to discuss things further. First of all, how was this even possible? What happens now? Will the baby have the virus? How can I protect the baby and myself? How can I protect myself and others around me? The list goes on.
We just wanted to know as much as possible to be prepared. My mum still could not accept the doctors’ information in the mix of things, which led to negative drama and disagreements. Let’s say – the lines were crossed. As a mother, I fully understand why she acted like that. We didn’t talk to each other during the pregnancy and two years after my daughter’s birth.
I felt I wasn’t getting enough support from my family. I even thought they were planning to take my child away from me as soon as she was born. Our only hope was that the virus would be less likely to pass on to the baby due to an early diagnosis and starting treatment.
When it was time to start medication, I was very uncomfortable. I have never had to take any medication in my life before. This was scary, and thinking I was about to start a journey without end for the rest of my life was the worst feeling ever. I just kept telling myself; it was for the baby. Do it for the baby.
I had my first consultation with my Doctor, who ensured everything would be alright. The baby will NOT be infected with the virus. It was at an early stage, and it took three months for the virus to be detected in your body. What we needed to do now was to find the proper medication to prevent the baby from the virus and keep me safe.
Finding The Right Medication
I cannot remember the name of the first medication I took. However, I remember it gave me some side effects – Dizziness and Headache. I went o back to the Doctor to complain about it, and he gave me a different one, which worked perfectly.
I had to take nine pills daily:
- That’s 3 in the morning,
- 3 in the afternoon
- 3 in the evening.
Nine pills every day for the rest of my pregnancy. It was hard. Sometimes I did not even want to take them, but then I remembered the baby. Regular appointments to the clinic and scans and check-ups just kept me busy. I was eating healthily, staying active and not drinking any alcohol. However, with no money and enough support from my family, I could not afford to eat as much as I should have. I had lost my appetite to eat or drink anything. My head was all over the place. It was worrying enough to be disabled and pregnant but now with H.I.V. too. There were no words to describe how I felt.
Negative Thoughts Leads To Suicide Attempts
I remember being so lost in dark thoughts, leading to multiple active suicide attempts, including drowning while having a bath and overdosing on my medications. I even took a knife and placed the tips on my belly. It was a challenging time. The Doctor’s voice, ‘I’m sorry to say this, but you are H.I.V. positive,’ was on playback in my head. My mother’s tears, the arguments the family had, everything was pressing me down; I wanted to die.
My advice to anyone going through a similar issue is to be healthy. Be sure to soak in as much information from professionals, not only from friends and family. You can tell your loved ones some particular things, which solely depends on the solid relationship between both parties. If only I had listened to my doctors more, I would have just gone back to my apartment and lived peacefully to enjoy the pregnancy.
I hope you enjoyed that.