fbpx
HIV Series

Being Pregnant With HIV

Being pregnant with HIV. In honour of World Aids Day 2019, I want to share my story about living my life with HIV. I have been living with HIV for 6 years now. 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 really discussed things a little further. In this post, I am going to talk about how it was like being pregnant with HIV.

Being Pregnant With HIV

Finding Out

I was 3 months pregnant when I was diagnosed with HIV. I had very little knowledge about the virus. The last time I had heard anything about the virus was in Primary School and it was portraying HIV 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? I am 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 HIV in the UK- I was so navie. I thought it was only people in Africa that will get such a thing.

The doctors to double-check my details, to make sure it is me they were referring to as being HIV positive. Turned out it was me. I couldn’t handle the news. However,  as soon as the doctors said HIV is not what it used to be back in the 70s/80s and I shouldn’t worry because I was not going to 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 believe what the doctors were saying about the virus. My family and I had more than 1 appointments with the doctors 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 we can so we can be prepared. In the mix of things, my mum still could not accept the information given by the doctors, which led to negative drama and disagreements. Let’s just say lines were crossed. As a mother, I now understand fully why she was acting like that. We didn’t talk to each other during the whole pregnancy and 2 years after my daughter’s birth.

Personally, I felt I wasn’t getting enough support from my family. I even began to think that they were planning to take my child away from me as soon as she was born. As the only hope we had was that due to an early diagnosis and starting treatment, meant it was less likely for the virus to pass on the baby.

Starting Medication

When it was time to start medication, I was very uncomfortable. I have never had to take any sort of medication in my life before. so this was scary and to think that I was about to start a journey that has no end for the rest of my life, was the worse feeling ever. I just kept telling myself, its for the baby. Do it for the baby.

I had my first consultation with my Doctor who ensures that everything will be alright, the baby will definitely NOT be infected with the virus. It was at an early stage and it takes 3 months for the virus to be detected in your body. What we needed to do now was to find the right medication that prevents the baby from the virus and keep me safe as well.

Finding The Right Medication

I cannot remember the name of the first medication I took. However, I remember it gave me some side effect – Dizziness and a Headache. I went o back to the doctors to complain about it and he gave me a different one and that worked perfectly.

I had to take 9 pills per day, that’s 3 in the morning, 3 in the afternoon and 3 in the evening. 9 pills every day for the rest of my pregnancy. It was hard. Sometimes I did not even want to take them but then I remember the baby. With regular appointments to the clinic and scans, check-up just kept me busy. Eating healthily, keep active and not drink any alcohol. However, with no money, and no enough support from family, I could not afford to eat anything.

In fact, I had lost 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 HIV too. There were no words to describe how I felt.

Negative Thoughts Leads To Suicide Attempt

I remember being so lost in dark thoughts which leads to multiple active suicide attempts. Which includes drowning while having a bath, overdosing my medications, I even took a knife and place the tips on my belly. It was a very difficult time. The doctor’s voice ‘I’m sorry to say this but you are HIV positive’ just kept playing on a repeat in my head. The tears of my mother, the arguments the family had, everything was just pressing me down, I wanted to die.

Advice

My advice to anyone who might be going through a similar issue is to be strong. Be sure to soak in as much information from professionals, not only from friends and family. There are some certain things you can tell your loved ones and that only depends on how strong the relationship between both parties. If only I had listened to my doctors more, then I would have just gone back to my apartment and lived in peace to enjoy the pregnancy.

21 Comments

  • Norma

    This will be really helpful for other women who may have a diagnosis of hiv and are thinking about or are already pregnant. Expecting a baby is such an emotional journey! Thank you for sharing your story.

  • Daphne Takahashi

    Can’t even begin to image how you felt with your diagnoses! Thank you so much for sharing your journey and all this valuable information on HIV. It’s so brave of you to share this story and give strength to others.

  • Lene

    It must’ve been so hard having to such major events happening at the same time. Each separately would be a challenge, but together? Wow. You’re so strong that you came through it to where you are now. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  • vidya

    thank you for sharing your story. i can imagine the shock you must have had when you heard the news, considering, like you said, we don’t think of HIV as something that can happen to us , today and in the places where we live. During one of my pregnancies, we had a hepatitis scare as well and then it was an anxious few weeks for retests for both hubby and me before it was over and turned out to be a false positive..

  • Lindsay Brown

    This is such an important article. Thank you so you so much for sharing your story because this is the only way to get the knowledge out there and help others in understanding this diagnosis. I’m so glad to know there is treatment for HIV during pregnancy. Thank you again for sharing your journey!

  • Kelly Martin

    It must’ve been a huge shock to get that diagnosis. Especially while you were pregnant. Thank you so much for sharing your story and helping to reduce the stigma around HIV.

    • Jessica Collazo

      This is so brave from you to talk about this life experiences with H.I.V. there’s so much to learn about it from the patient perspective and personal experience. I hope you can keep informing us with this topics.

  • Sarah

    Thank you for sharing your story. It’s so important to understand the ways to prevent complications and be safe as well as taking care of yourself.

  • Despite Pain

    That must have been such a shock and a difficult time to receive a diagnosis. You must have had so many thoughts swirling in your head. Thank you for sharing your story. It’s only through awareness that people can learn the realities of living with HIV. I’m glad it’s no longer as frightening as it was all those years ago.

  • Kim

    Wow! This is a lot to take in, and I can’t even imagine what it was like for you to find out during pregnancy. I appreciate your openness and sharing.

    • Tiffani

      Thank You for being so transparent and sharing your journey! So glad that you sought treatment and are a very strong and positive advocate for those going through similar 💗

  • Marta

    This post took my breath away. First, I’m praying for your peace of mind. I can’t imagine the thoughts that run through your head on a daily basis. Second, I’m so proud of you for fighting just one more day. Please, continue to fight for you and that precious baby of yours. Third, has your mother come around? I hope she’s realized that you need your family now more than ever.

  • Kristie

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! My brother has HIV and is thriving. It’s so important to share that it isn’t a death sentence just as long as you take care of yourself. Your story will definitely help others!

  • Adriane Thompson

    Oh how I’m so proud of you for sharing your story so you can encourage others. This is so authentic and real so I know it will connect with mamas going through the same thing. One of the most impactful interactions I had with a person was a young girl in college whose mother was HIV positive when she had her. She did not have the virus (which I didn’t realize was possible either). Her mother wasn’t able to get the medications that you had so she was VERY sick for years until she passed when the girl was about 12. This girl was on a mission to educate people, raise money and help others with HIV. I’m happy to hear you have reconciled with your mom and that you are fighting the good fight <3

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.