Illustration by Carlo Patricio P. FrancoIT IS NOW a hundred days. A hundred days in between January 15 to April 24, 2008. In these hundred days, things have changed.

The morning sun scorches Hanna’s shoulders as she steps out of the house. It has taken her quite a while to get dressed, having been so busy trying to find “non maternal” clothes. She signals her baby Julie’s nanny to hop in the car. The nanny hurries toward the car, carrying shoulder bags and pushing Julie in her stroller.

“Manong, let’s go to St. Luke’s,” Hanna says to the driver. Today is Julie’s hundredth day, and Hanna wants to start her day with Julie’s monthly pediatric consultation. In the afternoon, they will head to the grocery, buy baby diapers, and then head home so the baby can rest.

Hanna gazes at her sleeping child, watching the gentle rise and fall of the baby’s chest.

It has been exactly a year since that fateful night in Palawan, when she and Danny did it–the first time in their five-year relationship. It took three months for Hanna to realize that she was actually pregnant. At first, she thought she was delayed because of the stressing load of term papers, but the constant vomiting in the morning made her decide to visit the doctor.

“Congratulations, Miss Hanna, you’re having a baby!” the doctor jumped out of her seat and handed the ultrasound result to Hanna.

The pregnancy took her like a snake bite. She attempted to kill the baby and even asked Danny to help her with an abortion, but the lad would not give in and instead assured her that they will plan things out and get married after college. Hanna’s mother, Marge, was most supportive, but Danny’s parents were against the pregnancy.

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Eventually, Danny gradually showed less and less support for her and the baby as his parents relentlessly told him to abort the baby or leave Hanna and their child. With all these, and the shame she felt toward herself, Hanna lapsed into depression and would not eat just to kill the baby. Her own weight dropped and she got thinner, compromising both her health and the baby’s.

In her seventh month of pregnancy, Marge found her a psychiatrist and Hanna began to change for the better. But although she was starting to recover and was exerting all effort to keep the baby healthy before being born, her labor was a difficult one. Losing consciousness halfway through the delivery, Hanna was even asked if she wanted to risk her life for her baby. Hanna and baby Julie spent weeks recovering in the hospital. Danny never showed up even after the baby was born.

“Ma’am Hanna, we’re here,” the nanny says, rousing Hanna from her thoughts. She carefully takes the sleeping Julie from the nanny as the driver opens the door for her. Hanna gets off the car and makes her way toward the hospital.

***

It is almost three in the afternoon when Hanna arrives as the grocery. As she rummages through the colorful baby bottles she intends to buy for Julie, a familiar voice causes her to turn around.

“How is the accident?” Fabianne, Danny’s mom, asks, her eyes looking down at Julie in her stroller.

Hanna feels herself turn white. She looks down, then replies, “She is doing quite well.”

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“You should have aborted that accident,” Fabianne says. “My son made a wiser decision to go on and not let that ruin him.” With that, Fabianne turns and walks her way.

Hanna’s hands grip the pushcart so tightly she thinks it will break. The nanny rubs her back and calms her down. “Let’s head home,” the nanny whispers.

***

“You know, I saw Fabianne today,” Hanna says, looking at her mother. She arrived at home about and hour ago and has just breastfed Julie.

“You did? How did it go?”

“Well, let’s just say it was not the happiest of conversations,” Hanna replies.

“Honey, you know that you should not let that woman’s words get into you,” Marge says.

“I won’t.”

“Well then, I’ll go down and check on dinner,” her mother says, then goes out of the room.

Today marks one year from that unplanned pregnancy. Last year would have been the best summer of her life, but everything changed and it pushed her into adulthood. She is now a mother without a husband.

But today is also Julie’s hundredth day–the baby lies on her crib, innocently reaching out her little arms to her.

She remembers the last time she talked to Danny. She was caressing her tummy and wondered when she will give birth.

She smiled at the thought of starting a family, at the image of Danny coming home from work and her preparing dinner. The phone rang. It was Danny.

“Hanna, I’m going to Cebu tomorrow with the guys for a week,” he said.

“Dan, I thought we’ll go to the doctor tomorrow. Is it that important?”

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“I’m stressed out. I just want some rest,” Danny muttered.

“Well, this is important for me and the baby. Please.”

“I told you, let’s just abort the baby. It’s the best thing to do. You could even come with us if not for the baby.”

“How could you say that? I thought you said you want this baby,” Hanna asked, aghast.

“You know, my mom’s right. There are still a lot of things ahead of us, and I’m not going to let that baby ruin everything,” Danny said in a hushed tone.

“But we could start all over again,” Hanna said. There was only silence from the other line. “Danny?”

“I have to go.” With that, he hung up.

Danny’s words keep echoing in her mind. Suddenly, she grips little Julie’s delicate arms. The baby starts to cry and the sound echoes throughout the room, getting louder and louder, increasing in pitch. For the first time in so many months, Hanna wishes Julie never happened. Tears run down her cheeks.

In Julie’s loud, intense cries, Hanna hears footsteps hasten up the stairs and bursting into the room. Her mother grabs Julie away from her.

“How could you?” Marge asks, breathing heavily.

“I don’t know. I don’t know anymore,” Hanna chokes in between her sobs.

“You said you wanted to keep the baby.” Marge says. She caresses Julie, singing a lullaby to calm the baby down. Julie’s cry gradually stop.

In Hanna’s hazy, tear-filled eyes, she sees baby Julie reaching out her arms toward heaven. And, like a miracle from heaven, the baby lets out a hearty laugh, revealing her toothless gums. It was Julie’s first laugh.

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