Anjo Yllana had no idea of the double bind that he and his wife Jackie Manzano were about to face in having to choose between Jacky's survival and the life of their unborn child.
While vacationing in America, Jackie discovered that she had a heart problem. Anjo was surprised because Jackie was only supposed to spend her vacation there with Jackie's mother and sister.
After two weeks in the U.S., Jackie called up Anjo to tell him that she had palpitations and that she was scheduled for a checkup. The doctor found out that 1/3 of Jackie's heart was functioning, but added that Jackie shouldn't be pregnant or give birth in her current situation.
Startalk's Butch Francisco took the opportunity to get the couple's thoughts on this predicament they are now facing.
"Siyempre naiyak ako," Jackie confesses. "Feeling ko naman na healthy ako and normal. Nalaman ko na lang na may enlargement of the heart. Hindi ma-explain kung ano ang dahilan, siguro sa hormones daw."
Jackie expresses her fear.
"Nakakatakot, kasi hindi ako sanay sa ganitong klaseng problema. Pero kampante naman ako ng konti dahil nandito naman ang mother and sister ko, and araw-araw naman kaming nag-uusap ni Anjo sa phone."
Does she really have to choose between the baby and herself?
"Actually, 'yung second meeting namin with the cardiologist, we have an option daw to terminate the pregnancy or to continue with it. Ang choice ko naman is to continue. Napi-feel ko naman na kaya ko," says Jackie.
"Pag-isipan daw namin [ni Jackie] to terminate the baby," Anjo relates, "pero five months na,e. Kasalanan na sa Diyos ‘yon. Gusto namin ituloy [ang pregnancy], pero ayoko naman mawalan ng nanay mga anak ko. Kasi siyempre, bata pa mga anak ko. Medyo nalilito kami, kasi siyempre ang bata, five months na, e, and pina-ultrasound na namin. Lalaki siya and wala naman problema [with the baby], so gusto namin ituloy."
The danger is that Jackie's heart condition may escalate when she delivers. Anjo shared that Jackie's heart may give out, the baby lives but Jackie may not make it. What also concerns Anjo is the fact that Jackie really tries her best to be strong despite the slim chances of her pregnancy.
"Sa tingin ko, itinatago lang niya," relates Anjo. "Pero alam ko, nahihirapan ‘yon. Ayaw lang niya ipaalam sa akin. Ang mother niya [ni Jackie], kausap ko, umiiyak dahil ayaw naman na mawala ang anak niya dahil panganay ‘yon, e. Hindi talaga namin matantsa kung gaano ka high ang risk."
Anjo and Jackie's three children are already excited about their baby brother's arrival. But little do the kids know their parents' dilemma.
"Baka ma-trauma sila," Anjo said, "siyempre ine-expect nila na may babay brother na bago, e. Ang hirap na decision itong gagawin namin kasi buhay ito. Parang pinapili ka na ‘sinong gustong ibuhay, ang asawa o ang anak?' Parang sa pelikula lang nangyayari ‘yan. Siyempre, gusto ko mabuhay sila pareho."
Jackie reportedly plans to tell their kids about the situation when she comes back. To Anjo, all she can say is: "Love, I'm okay, everything will be okay."
"Be strong and pray," Anjo wishes his wife. "Marami naman tayong napagdaan na nalusutan natin.
"Sa mga friends naman and sa fans, humihiling sana ako ng konting dasal niyo, para malampasan ito," Anjo appealed