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
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.
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.
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.