Being pregnant with HIV. Hey everyone, I hope you are well. In honour of World Aids Day 2019, I want to share my story about living with HIV. I have been living with HIV for six 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 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 three months pregnant when I was diagnosed with HIV. I had very little knowledge about the virus. The last time I heard anything about the virus was in Primary School, 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? 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 HIV in the UK – I was so naive. I thought it was only people in Africa that will get such a thing.
I asked the doctors to double-check my details to make sure they were referred to as being HIV positive. It 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, 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 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. My mum still could not accept the doctors’ information in the mix of things, 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 two years after my daughter’s birth.
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. The only hope we had was that it was less likely for the virus to pass on 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 that I was about to start a journey that has no end for the rest of my life was the worst feeling ever. I just kept telling myself; it’s 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 NOT be infected with the virus. It was at an early stage, and it takes three months for the virus to be detected in your body. What we needed to do now was to find the proper 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 Headache. I went o back to the doctors to complain about it, and he gave me a different one, which worked perfectly.
I had to take nine pills per day, that’s 3 in the morning, 3 in the afternoon and 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 remember the baby. With regular appointments to the clinic and scans, check-up just kept me busy. Eating healthily, stay active and not drink any alcohol. However, with no money and enough support from my family, I could not afford to eat anything.
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, 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 HIV positive,’ just kept playing on a repeat 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 who might be 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, and that solely 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.
I hope you enjoyed that.