My NDE occurred in the mid-fifties in a maternity hospital in California during the delivery of my third child. This was a 'natural' childbirth with no anesthesia -- not even an aspirin. I was well into the final phases of the delivery when my feet started going numb. Then the numbness started progressing up my legs. I told the doctor and I heard her say it was a 'calcium deficiency coma.' She ordered an IV drip that a nurse administered into my right arm. By this time, my entire body was numb. I'm normally terrified of needles, but didn't even feel the IV needle.
Suddenly I found my mind floating outside of my body. It stopped just above and behind the nurse on my right. I could see the back of the nurse and beyond her, the delivery table and other hospital personnel gathered around the table. I remember seeing the back of the cap the nurse wore that covered her hair -- like a shower cap -- and the ties on the back of her gown. It was interesting that the nurse blocked my view of the face of the body on the delivery table. I was not the least bit afraid; in fact, I was absolutely intrigued by the experience as it unfolded. I had no sense of time, so I have no idea how much time elapsed when the scene before me started to go black. It was like the old TV picture tubes from many years ago: When you turned the TV off, the picture contracted to a little dot of extremely bright light in the middle of the black screen before it went completely dark.
When the blackness folded into that little brilliant dot of light, I heard someone calling me very clearly by my first name. Other than that, voice there was total silence. I do not know if the voice was masculine or feminine, but it was a comforting voice with a strange, echoing, hollow sound -- as if it was coming from very far away. I remember that I was surprised to hear my given name. (In those days hospital staffers always called maternity patients by their married name -- Mrs. 'Whatever.') I felt as if I were floating further away, but was being pulled back or called back. In an instant, I was back into my body on the delivery table and the numbness was completely gone. A short time later, I delivered a lovely little girl.
At the time, I thought it might have been the nurse who called my name. Perhaps the standard hospital procedure is to use a person's given name when someone is slipping into unconsciousness. The given name is the name that is most familiar to the patient as opposed to the married name. I never mentioned the experience to anyone until very recently. But I have always remembered it and found it to be very fascinating. I cannot help but wonder if I would have come back if the bright white dot of light had disappeared. I tried to analyze the experience and have decided that this maybe (1) the way the human body copes with extreme pain; (2) the halfway point between consciousness and unconsciousness; or (3) that last moment between life and death. I have also wondered if others in similar situations see that same bright dot of light and describe it as a tunnel. I did not see it as a tunnel.
It was not until many, many years after the episode that I heard of NDE. I am not religious and do not believe there is life after death. I think my NDE was a very interesting and unusual phenomenon. It did not have a significant impact on my life, but it does reinforce my belief that the human body and mind are truly remarkable.
Date NDE Occurred: 1-9-54
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Childbirth Life threatening event, but not clinical death
I was very alert before and during the OBE. There was a perceived momentary lapse of consciousness when my mind left my body and when it returned to my body.
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes I had no form. My mind left my body. And my mind definitely left my body.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I was very alert before and during the OBE. There was a perceived momentary lapse of consciousness when my mind left my body and when it returned to my body.
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? No
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. Only the voice that called my name.
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Uncertain I was close to the bright dot in the blackness, but don't remember passing through it. It didn't appear to me as a tunnel or an enclosure.
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? No
The experience included: Darkness
The experience included: Light
Did you see an unearthly light? Yes The light was like the extremely bright spot on an old TV picture tube immediately after the TV was turned off. That moment before the picture tube went completely dark.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Curiosity, interest, surprise.
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? No
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
Did you come to a border or point of no return? I came to a barrier that I was not permitted to cross; or was sent back against my will I was aware that I was being called back. I remember being surprised.
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What was your religion prior to your experience? Liberal I was confirmed and baptised into the Methodist religion. Attended church infrequently.
What is your religion now? Liberal No religious affiliations.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? No
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes I have the ability to induce an OBE whenever I have pain or can't fall asleep. I close my eyes and relax my body as completely as possible. I focus my mind on that same spot above and to the right of my body. It doesn't always work, but if I am able to completely relax and totally concentrate, I feel my mind detaching from my body. When my mind is out of my body, the tension leaves my body and the pain is eliminated and/or I can relax enough to go to sleep.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? Best part was finding out how amazing the mind and body are. Worst part was that I almost died.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I shared the experience only with a close friend who I knew would understand. Doubt if she was influenced in any way by the experience. But I know she believed me and my evaluation of the episode.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes See above.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? In general, a well-designed list of questions. Some questions seem to overlap.