In 1994, I met Prince Charming at my college campus. He was funny, suave and downright irresistible. Our courtship of two years later lead to a wedding and a couple of years later, the birth of my very own child. Before she was born, I had many wishes and dreams of what my child would do, who he/she could become and how much love I have to give her. What felt like a fairy tale suddenly turned to reality when I unexpectedly started to bleed at almost 38 weeks of pregnancy. I don’t remember the pain of childbirth but I do vividly remember what happened afterwards.
My baby had a hard time breathing and was kept in the NICU for days, which then became weeks and months. During this time, she started losing some her self sustaining abilities. She was not able to suck and swallow, gagging at the milk as she gently suckled. She stopped gazing at me, losing her vision. Her back started to arch unwillingly, developing the initial stage of scoliosis. We didn’t understand why until it was too late. She was diagnosed with herpetic encephalitis.
Back then, I had asked why me. I did the right thing. I listened to my parents. I finished on top of my class. I minded my own business. I never tried drugs, smoke, or even cursed. I followed the rules, with the exception of one. I lost my virginity to my then bf/husband at the age of 18. Still, why me?
My parents had always protected my sister and me from the outside world. I don’t blame them but I do wish sometimes that I had hoped that they’d given me the story about the birds and bees, maybe I would not be in the situation I am in right now. How do you get H from someone you trusted so much? It is possible.
My daughter is 16 now. She will never live up to the hopes and dreams that I had for her, but she will certainly have all the love that I have for her while she is with me. People will never understand the severity that H can inflict on a newborn. Today I do because I am living it everyday…Prince Charming left our fairy tale story but I remain to be with my princess until the day she needs me. She will never be like me or have the same experience that I have had, but she has certainly taught me a lot. Of many things, she reminds me of the naivety I once had and at the same time, she teaches me every day the unconditional love that I have always had deep down for her. In addition to me, she has also taught other people about acceptance and forgiveness.
We haven’t quite ‘outed’ ourselves yet but we won’t ever deny what has caused us to be the people that we are today. The ball still continues for us, even if Prince Charming has departed the scene. We have decided to create our own happy ending in more ways than one.
HSV-2 (Herpes Simplex, Type 2)
[Ed. Note: most people are unaware of it, but you can get HSV from nearly anyone.]