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Rated: ASR · Essay · Experience · #1356933
Story about pregnancy and HIV
I was so excited! After experiencing a miscarriage just months before, we were pregnant! I was due to deliver my baby in May. I went for my prenatal doctor visit and all was well. At that time, I was informed that it was mandatory that all pregnant woman have an HIV test. Actually, the doctor informed me I could be tested then or wait until I gave birth and then have the baby tested. Naturally, I consented to the test. I was not in any high-risk groups for HIV. I never gave it another thought.

A few weeks later, the phone rang at my home.  My doctor was on the line, asking me to come in to the office. For some reason that escapes me, I wasn't able to. I remember a feeling of dread. I asked him if there was a problem. I remember him saying something to the effect of he'd rather not explain over the phone. I told him it was okay to tell me.  I wanted to know, and I didn't want to wait until I could get to his office.  I felt fear in the pit of my stomach, but I didn't know why.  I just knew this wasn't good.  So, he told me. On the telephone. "Your lab tests have come back." I'm afraid you tested positive for HIV." I thought I heard him wrong. I remember becoming numb with shock and crying out to my husband. "What, my husband asked?" I stammered something to him, I don't even remember what I said. Bottom line. I was three months pregnant and HIV positive.

My first, my very first thought, was that I was going to die. My baby and I were going to die. I cried like I have never cried before. How could this be? There has to be a mistake. Surely there was some mix-up at the lab.  I don't use drugs.  I've never had a blood transfusion.  I'm not homosexual nor promiscuous.  I'm just a regular person living my life.  What was going on?  This just couldn't be happening.  I felt as if someone had thrown me into a deep, dark pit and I would never be able to see sunlight again. 

Unfotunately, there was no mistake nor a mix-up at the lab.  I eventually went into the office and talked with my doctor. He was wonderful and sympathetic.  He referred me to people who are knowledgeable about HIV.  Through my tears, we evemtually narrowed down the source of my infection to an ex-boyfriend.  But what did it matter where I got it?  I had it.  It was killing me and my baby even as we talked.  What about my baby?  That was my main concern. 

These medical professionals were absolutely wonderful.  They were extremely knowledgeable and capable.  My baby would be fine, they told me.  I was to begin medication immediately.  Once my child was born (by caesarean, as HIV can be transmitted through the vaginal fluids), he would take medication as well for the first three months of his life.  He would have monthly blood tests until my antibodies were completely out of his system.  I think that was the worst of it.  Having to hold my screaming infant while someone poked a needle into him.  I cried each time along with him.

It has now been eight years since that fateful evening. I did not die, nor did my baby. My son is now seven years old and very healthy, as a matter of fact. He saved my life.

I was given a second chance at life because of my pregnancy. Had I not become pregnant, I more than likely would not have had the HIV test and never known I was positive until I became symptomatic. I could have had a much more serious outcome. I could have died.

I have become much more educated about HIV since that fateful night. I now know it is not the death sentence I thought it was. But, when the doctor spoke those words to me, in my heart and in my mind, the only thing I could think was that I was going to die.

Since then, I have maintained my health, am raising my son with my devoted husband and am trying to live each day as it comes. Facing death, or even the thought of death, has changed me forever. I am now thankful for each day I'm alive.

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