Bun in the oven

I’ve gone and got myself knocked up. Got myself into trouble, bun in the oven, all the clichés of pregnancy that good Catholic (unmarried) girls should avoid. Pregnant and HIV-positive; a state that ten years ago would have been met with effusions of pity and foreboding. So how do I feel? Pretty good, actually.

I would love to take the moral high ground and claim that my pregnancy was planned with SAS precision and facilitated by a gleaming, sterile, turkey-baster. But I’d be lying. More like a one-off act of Easter abandon, probably brought on by the heady excess of too many chocolate eggs. I suppose I could be held up as a harsh example to teenage girls in convent school – you only need to do it once to get pregnant. Okay, I may have done the deed many more times than once, but it was the one unprotected time and BANG, up the duff. Not bad for a 35-year-old with geriatric ovaries hurtling towards menopause.

I found out I was enceinte in Geneva, attending a conference. I did a wee on the pregnancy stick in my hotel room, expecting the result to be negative, but a faint blue line on the stick appeared, screaming: “You’ve got a bun in the oven, girlfriend!”

Reeling, I picked up the phone and called the first person who came to mind at midnight – my HIV doctor. He was wonderfully reassuring and congratulatory, despite his Patient From Hell calling hysterically in the middle of the night. He reassured me that the risk of transmission to the baby was less than 1% as I had an undetectable viral load and, more surprisingly, that I did not need to change my medication. My blind panic gradually changed into pleasure (with just the tiniest hint of fear).

My partner was initially paralysed with shock but has become rather pleasantly supportive and even turns a blind eye to my slovenly slothfulness.

The first few months of pregnancy haven’t been too bad. I haven’t been sick, despite the fact that in my previous two pregnancies I chucked up for England every day. I have been feeling exhausted and have fallen asleep a couple of times at my desk. Mild pregnancy stress-incontinence doesn’t go so well with the hayfever season and sneezing all day, but at least it’s encouraging me to do my pelvic floor exercises.

I kept my pregnancy very quiet until I had my twelve-week scan. I was terrified that the my medication would lead to some gross deformity in the baby. It was wonderful seeing all its bits in order. I can’t decide whether to have a caesarean or a vaginal delivery and I still worry about the tiny chance that the baby will have HIV.

Everyone has been very supportive about the news.

This first appeared in the September 2004 edition of Positive Nation magazine.

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Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap

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