- Women's Health
I was Nine Months Pregnant when I Fell Down a One-Hundred-Foot Cliff
My life situation at the time
I was twenty years old and nine months pregnant, for the first time. It was my last of the monthly prenatal schedule with my doctor.
The high mountaintop where my husband (we were not yet legally married that time) and Dad exiled me (because of the disgrace I caused my family in this pregnancy), was ten kilometer-hike away from Laligan; Laligan was down the wide plain where we can commute through a passenger jeepney (a local means of transportation) going to the then big town of Valencia, Bukidnon (now Valencia City); that was where my doctor's clinic was located. It would be a long day for me.
Llewellyn (my husband's name) was a Martial Law Military man who kidnapped me and made me pregnant (but that is another story). He was still married to another at that time and my Dad was disgusted so the reason of my exile to the mountain, to hide me from the status quo civilization.
Llewellyn had just arrived in the hut the day before; living with me were my Dad, Mum and my 15-year-old brother Jun. Dad had just bought a new farm there (Tagolanao, Concepcion) since I was three months pregnant and built a small hut for us to stay for the time. Llewellyn would visit me in Tagolanao every two weeks and brought me supplies, he also took me to Valencia once every month for the prenatal. Prenatal time was always one long day and a night stay in a hotel in Valencia then go back to the mountain the next day; after sending me back home he would then go back to his post in Cagayan de Oro City and God knows where else till his next visit to me.
The day I fell down the cliff
It was a foggy after dawn as the sun was just peeping out on top of the foliage at the farthest back of the hut; after Llewellyn and I had done with our hot coffee, we started off for that long day.
The hut was located in a small plain clearing; it was fronting a cultivated hillside where my Dad filled it with onion plants. Llewellyn and I had to climb up the hillside passing through the pathway on the side of the onion garden. For a 9-month pregnant woman like I was, such climb was a bit strenuous so that every now and then Llewellyn had to keep himself at my back and support my buttock or push me a little bit. It was a 20-minute non-stop climb and we were just starting the 10-kilometer walk for that day.
The top of the hill was a plateau and once there we followed a pathway on the plain but the walk gradually turned to a continuous down hill pathway. We passed by the only neighbor Goryo's house. Goryo's wife, Nene, was also 9-month pregnant but she never went to a doctor for prenatal, she was pregnant for her eleventh child.
The downhill 25-minute pathway walk on top of the bushy hill ended in an old rough logging truck road. The old road was also slightly sloping down and its center was rocky so we chose to walk on the side of the road. At the left side of the road, where Llewellyn and I chose to walk was a very deep forested cliff that led to an uninhabited rocky river; I was situated on the cliff side as we walked. Farther back in our side was also a water falls leading to the river below.
This time we talked happily as were walking towards an old wooden bridge while Llewellyn's left arm rested on my shoulder, both to support me and to keep me close to him. The sloppy side of the road had pebbles and was very dry; we did not take notice of the cliff on the side because there were bushes on the roadside that covered the sight. I was wearing a half-inch heel step-in and I had to walk slowly because I felt pushed or pulled by the downhill gravity and my body was heavy; I was not really feeling comfortable especially so that anytime that month I would give birth to my first born. Llewellyn was still talking and pointing to the bridge when suddenly my step tripped off caused by a pebble.
I tried to balance and Llewellyn was trying to help but everything happened quicker than we could think.
It was a shock; it took a second before I realized that I was falling down to the unknown. I can only sense the fear and the word-less cry for help in my mind; it was something like " Lord, my life is in your hands." I could hear the echoing, prolonged and fading scream of Llewellyn...screaming my name; then everything turned to nothing; my mind went blank. I closed my eyes in complete panic and surrender.
I cannot remember how long it took me to fall and then I came back to my senses; all the fear was gone and strangely enough I felt so lightly like I had just won a risky challenge. I found myself standing on a rock by a crystal clear creek with pebbles down the creek bed. I was still in a state of mental instability, trying to remember what had transpired; it was a feeling of having come out from being drugged or being drunk.
I had been standing there for a long time; I looked around and saw the beauty of the place. It was the first time I saw the waterfalls there. I didn't even know there was one. I had been into that mountain for almost six months and had gone out only when we went to the doctor. In the previous five visits to the doctor, my brother would let me back ride with him on a carefully saddled horseback, while Llewellyn was waiting for me in Laligan. Today was the first time I walked with him for the last prenatal schedule.
The mystified Llewellyn and crowd
It took more than an hour before people came to rescue me. The story was that Llewellyn had to walk to the barrio first to get help from the authority. He told everyone that I must be dead by now and that it was beyond him to see me dead so he just waited by the roadside. He did not go down by himself at first, he had been calling me and when he was sure that I never answered so he sought help.
When the people saw me standing there, unscathed and waving my hand to them, they were mystified. Then they bombarded me with questions while Llewellyn was summoned to get me out from there along with so many people.
I never answered any questions because I really didn't know what happened. I myself, up to this moment, just opted not to discuss what really happened. I don't want to assume, I just know that I fell down the cliff and came out unscathed, aside from the panic.