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HIV/AIDS Blog Central

Oh My God, We Made a Person

By Brooke Davidoff

October 14, 2010

Myles at nearly 3 months.

Myles at nearly 3 months.

I am totally in awe of my son. I never imagined the emotions that came with parenthood. I had no idea how in love with him I would instantly be.

I never babysat when I was younger; my youngest sibling is only four years younger than I am. To be honest I was horrified to be a parent. I had no idea what to do with a baby. I went to NO parent-to-be classes. I was too mentally enveloped in the recent tragic loss of my father, and still coming to terms with being HIV positive, on top of being recently evicted. A baby was hard to think about and even fathom.


The Hospital

The last time I had been in a hospital was not long enough ago, and the person I went to see did not live to make it out. I was not afraid I was going to die; I was so full of hospital memories it was hard to separate myself from them. We walked into the baby ward; however, in my mind I saw the Burn ICU floor that my father died on only months before.

My husband and I arrived at 7am on July 15. We checked in and were brought into a pre-op room. I was asked to change into a sexy hospital gown and put into a bed in a dark cold gray room with no windows, and no TV. I was hooked up to an AZT IV and one of saline solution.

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We sat in this room for more than four hours. We talked to numerous doctors, nurses, and anesthesiologists about what was going to happen. I was hooked up to a heart monitor and a contraction machine. Apparently I had been having contractions for more than a week, I just thought the baby was moving around a lot. I signed all sorts of paperwork that I did not read. I made my husband my power of attorney, in case something happened to me.

Every person who walked into my room introduced themselves, and then let me know they had read my columns on this Web site.

Nervousness came in waves, from thinking this was a dream, to excitement, and then fear. I was so afraid of the spinal. I hate needles, and I am afraid of pain.

Finally I was wheeled into the operating room, where I met more people who had been reading my columns before showing up to cut me open. My husband was left behind and given scrubs to get into. I was instructed to get out of the bed I had been wheeled into the room in, and get onto the operating table. It reminded me of movies about alien abductions. The table also resembles the one Death Row inmates are strapped to when they are getting lethal injections.

I sat down mostly naked and was told to push my back out. I held hands with some woman and hugged a pillow. I was told I would feel a little pinch. It was not half as bad as I thought it was going to be, and I think I even asked if 'that was it?'

Within minutes my legs were numb and I could not feel most of my body. I was laid down on the table under huge lights. I felt like I was on stage.

My pain meds must have kicked in because I began to feel funny, totally relaxed, and I began joking with the room full of doctors. I informed them I dyed my hair hot pink because the paparazzi wouldn't leave me alone due to my new fans from this page. In reality my sister-in-law did it because we were bored one night.

My husband was brought in; I didn't even recognize him. Maybe it was the scrubs, or the meds -- no idea.

The whole thing was a lot faster than I thought but I was also highly medicated, and time was not real for the rest of the week. Myles was born, the cord was cut, my husband cried; I looked at him, my son, still wondering what to do with a baby.

Myles Grady Robertson was born July 15, 2010 -- 7 pounds 4 ounces. They closed me up and washed him off. We were taken back to the pre-op room which was now called a recovery room. We were there until my numbing meds wore off, and I could move out of the bed I was in and into another one. This took hours and visitors were allowed in. My mother-in-law, and sister-in-law were there first. Then came my big brother and his girlfriend and our mutual best friend.

Pain meds, no food, nerves or something led to me throwing up the rest of the day. I had ice chips and beef broth, yummmm.

You sleep or you try to sleep. Some medical person comes into the room at least every four hours to check your vitals, your pee bag, the baby. They give you handfuls of pills for pain and infection. My HIV meds were given via IV the first night. The baby is given AZT -- for the first six weeks they need it twice a day, every six hours. Our times were 4 and 10. So you set an alarm for 4am to wake up your baby and give him his AZT in a medicine dropper, do it again at 10am. This gets to be a pain in the ass, but he's tested negative twice so I think we're in the clear.

I went into the hospital with a sore throat; everyone who asked me how I was feeling was informed of my sore throat. Not one person looked at it other than me once I got home from the hospital. I had red sores in the back of my throat; it hurt to eat and talk. I gargled salt water thanks to the advice of my mother-in-law and after three weeks it went away.

In the hospital, once I was given my HIV meds in pill form, they messed them up. All of you know that you cannot take Norvir without Reyataz. I had to explain that to the pharmacist and the nurse one night. Actually got into an argument with a nurse that night, and hopefully taught her to give all the HIV meds together from now on.

I was on so many pain meds I had a very hard time staying awake, remembering anything, and maintaining a conversation. Oxycontin every four hours will turn anyone stupid. I was told to take one pill every four hours for pain. I was also given a crap load of Motrin and Tylenol and told to take them as well. First of all I can say we HIV-positive people are on enough pills. Trying to save my kidneys and liver, I took as few pain meds as possible. The less I took the better I felt. That dizzy hot and sweaty drunkish feeling is fun for a few hours but come on -- for days? I was trying to learn how to take care of my son, not veg out and get pain-pill high.

I ended up taking most of my pain meds home.

The healing -- also nothing like I thought. I was up and walking by the second day. The pain of everything was minimal. The IV hurt more than anything else.


Fast Forward

My son is almost 3 months old and I'm back at work full time after my maternity leave. Myles is still negative and off his HIV preventative meds. My husband is a stay-home father, who quit his job to take care of our son rather than send him off to daycare. I'm getting back to normal. On new HIV meds and my CD4 number is still in the toilet, but as long as I don't feel or look sick life will go on like I'm normal.

See Also
More Personal Accounts of Women With HIV/AIDS

Reader Comments:

Comment by: Kk (ohio) Wed., Feb. 2, 2011 at 1:08 am EST
Wow! Im kinda lost for words ur so strong! May God bless u and ur family, keep up,the good work hun u have a wonderful spirit!
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Comment by: Denis (Bosnia) Sun., Nov. 7, 2010 at 6:46 pm EST
You are amazing.Stay strong!
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Comment by: MomtoOne (USA) Sun., Nov. 7, 2010 at 6:14 pm EST
So glad to hear your experience was "as normal as possible". Amazing that hospital people have no clue sometimes isn't it? I should have told you to take your meds with you, don't let them touch them! Thats what I did and dared them to try :-) One more test and you can leave that chapter behind. Have fun with your family and your new found "in loveness" it is the greatest gift you could have ever given yourself. To all that are thinking about conceiving...talk seriously to your doctor and know that it is so possible to have a wonderful experience as a Mom with a negative child. Good Luck Brooke and all the new moms to be and potential moms out there. Thanks for sharing!
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Comment by: Mich78 (caribbean) Wed., Nov. 3, 2010 at 11:40 pm EDT
thanks for the encouragement. I wish if things were different in my side of the woods. My main concern is always proper health care. thanks for share ur story. to me it is like food to go on fight.
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Comment by: Klaas (Amsterdam) Thu., Oct. 28, 2010 at 2:17 pm EDT
Thank you for this very inspiring blog.
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Comment by: Sandi (Leesburg, Fla) Mon., Oct. 25, 2010 at 9:34 pm EDT
Brooke you are an amazing writer, you certainly have the "saltzberg gift"
Your story is good and yet scary. . I hate that your sick, you had enough in your life already. But, good stuff also, a new husband and a wonderful child. I will keep you in my prayers always. Please know that i love you and will be there for you if you ever have the need to talk, cry, whatever. All the best to you..
Aunt Sandi and Uncle Tony
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Comment by: TINA (U.K) Mon., Oct. 25, 2010 at 7:08 am EDT
LOVE YOUr spirit I HAVE PUT AWAY HAVING A CHILD FOR LONG TIME TOO SCARED TO HAVE ONE IN CASE MY CONDITION DETERIORATE. I am now being threatened with an op to remove my womb as l have trouble with my pap smears remain abnormal,I just feel lost,not afraid to die but afraid to live the only child i have behind just feel hopeless sometimes.
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Comment by: Lelslie M. (Poway) Sun., Oct. 24, 2010 at 11:34 pm EDT
Brooke- didn't I tell you you would love your baby in a way you never imagined you could love anyone??? I am so glad Myles is doing well, and HIV negative. Glad that daddy is home with him, it makes leaving him easier for you. I wish all of you all the best and lots of love-Enjoy everything you can- they grow up so quickly! Lily is my love- at 8 months she is standing up by herself. Her giggling is the best sound I ever heard! Hope to meet Myles one day soon- Kiss him for me- Love, Leslie
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Comment by: Melody (New York City) Fri., Oct. 22, 2010 at 10:08 pm EDT
Having known Brooke for over ten years and grateful to have known her for so long, all I can say is that she has always had the most positive attitude out of anyone. She always had a witty way of putting anything. I am so proud of you, Brooklyn, for choosing to be a voice that is so needed to keep HIV/AIDS in the spotlight that it needs to be in so more research can be facilitated and done. There are words that can adequately describe how strong of a person you are. Myles is beyond adorable and I am so happy for you and Keanen. I am proud to be your friend. Your blog is truly amazing. Keep up the good work because I love reading it!

You are in my thoughts and heart forever.

I love you!
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Comment by: Haley F. (New Haven, CT) Fri., Oct. 22, 2010 at 12:07 pm EDT
Brooke, I love it. Beautiful writing. Thank you for recording your story and finding a way to see how it fits into the bigger picture - you are using it as a way to educate and advocate. Your transparency is refreshing. I'm 100% behind you. Love you.
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Comment by: sandy p. (Philadelphia, pa) Wed., Oct. 20, 2010 at 4:19 pm EDT
Your story is sooo inspiring to me. Both my husband and myself are positive and talking about getting preg. It seems less scary to me after reading your blog,, thanks
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Comment by: mj (Auburn, WA) Tue., Oct. 19, 2010 at 2:27 pm EDT
Brooke, you are too modest. Give yourself the huge hug you deserve. I'm so proud of you and Keanen and how well you have handled this roller coaster year. No surprise; you are handling parenthood just as splendidly. Keep well, I love you.
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Comment by: Matthew Davidoff (who knows anymore) Fri., Oct. 15, 2010 at 3:30 pm EDT
beautiful! the best writing i've seen you do... really. you're so so brave brookey. i'll be there soon. hug the boys for me.
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Comment by: Nicole P (Seattle) Fri., Oct. 15, 2010 at 2:38 pm EDT
Glad you are back at your blog.....loved reading the updates...Myles is so stinkin' cute...can't wait to meet him! xoxo
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Comment by: Shelly D. (Houston, Tx) Fri., Oct. 15, 2010 at 2:19 pm EDT
Brooke, thanks for sharing your experience and your wisdom. You have taken a bad situation and turned it into a learning/educating experience. There aren't many people who have gone through what you have in the last year and kept so positive and proactive. You have my complete admiration, respect and love.
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Comment by: Positive (Maryland) Fri., Oct. 15, 2010 at 2:06 pm EDT
My baby girl just turned 3 months and her first two tests were negative as well. My husband is negative. Thank you for speaking up for positive women. Education is key.
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Comment by: SpdrWmn09 (Atlanta, GA) Fri., Oct. 15, 2010 at 1:30 pm EDT
You hang in there Kiddo ~ everybody goes thru that "what do I DO with a baby?" fear... You just let Mother Nature take over and all will be well. I hope your CD4 numbers get better and you can work out the meds issue. I'm glad Grady has tested neg. - that's one less thing to worry about. Try to have fun with your son - that's what life is all about :-) You are an inspiration to us all
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Comment by: Miriam M. (Vancouver, BC) Fri., Oct. 15, 2010 at 1:29 pm EDT
Wow Brooke, thanks for sharing, and congratulations on becoming a mom! You have a beautiful little boy. Hope you'll keep us in the loop as you make your way through the ups and downs of motherhood.
Sincerely,
Miriam Martin
Positive Women's Network
www.pwn.bc.ca
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Comment by: Jocelyn (Emporia, Virginia) Fri., Oct. 15, 2010 at 11:18 am EDT
this story is real inspiring im also positive and planning to have a child myself my motivation to take all my meds is my fiance and unborn child. Thanx for writing this very supportive
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Comment by: allreb (New York) Thu., Oct. 14, 2010 at 4:43 pm EDT
I can't get over how cute Myles is. Glad to hear you're both doing well!
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Voice of ONE


Brooke Davidoff

Brooke Davidoff

Brooke was diagnosed HIV positive in January 2010 -- two months married and 11 weeks pregnant with her first baby -- and has already begun to educate others about HIV. She lives in Seattle, and her poetry has been featured on TheBody.com. Her son was born on July 15, 2010.


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