It was December 20, 1988. I was admitted to the hospital to induce labor. My baby's due date was actually December 25th, but because the baby was so big and I was extremely uncomfortable, the doctor felt it best to induce the labor sooner. I had had a healthy pregnancy, no issues or difficulties at all. The delivery was slightly difficult, only because my son was so large. Looking back, I now believe I probably was a good candidate for a cesarean section, but I delivered my son vaginally. The circumference of his head (some things you just can't forget) was large! Big! Huge! If my memory serves me correctly, his head circumference was fourteen and three-quarters inches!
Everything seemed to go fine with the delivery itself. My husband and I were very excited that we had a healthy baby boy - our third, to be exact. Since this was my third pregnancy, no one was particularly concerned. The doctor left the room, the nurses went about the routine they go through post-delivery, and my husband and I were just sharing time together, enjoying these moments of joy and excitement. I come from an Italian family (which means my entire family was up and at the hospital waiting for news about my delivery.) I told my husband to go out into the waiting room and let them know we had a boy. I am not sure exactly how long he was gone, but it felt like maybe ten or fifteen minutes. While he was gone, I began to feel as if something were wrong. I felt slightly lightheaded but I was trying not to panic. A nurse came into the room and I simply asked her for a glass of orange juice. (I mentioned to her that I was feeling a little lightheaded.) She brought it to me and left. I drank it straight down but didn't feel any different. In fact, I began to feel myself drifting, and I noticed that my heartbeat was becoming erratic.
Just then, my husband entered the room and I remember blurting out, just as my eyes were closing, ’Hurry! Go get someone! Something is wrong!’ It was then my experience began. My eyes had become so heavy, I could not open them, yet I could hear everything around me. First, a nurse came in. I can still remember what she looked like with red hair and green eyes. She immediately checked my vitals and flipped my bed so my head was low and my feet high. She touched the side of my forehead saying, ’Stay with me honey, stay with me.’ She then ran out in the hallway (as per my husband.) He told me this part: he said she went out into the hall and screamed frantically, ‘someone get me a doctor!’ The next thing I knew, I heard a doctor come into the room, sit by my bed, and examine me quickly. She stated, ‘Honey you're going to hate me now, but you will love me later.’ She reached up inside of me as a nurse pushed down on my abdomen. They were removing blood clots that were forming. I was told afterwards that my uterus had not contracted, (I guess from being over-stretched from the large baby) and this was causing excessive bleeding, and blood clots were forming inside me. However, I never felt pain while they were working on me. I could hear them, but my eyes felt so heavy and relaxed I could not open them. It was during this time, when the doctor and nurse were working on me that my experience became more spiritual. I knew something life-threatening was happening to me.
I remember at first that I was scared. But then, I began to see the brightest, whitest light you can ever imagine. I felt angels were lifting my shoulders, as if guiding me upward. Although they were supporting my shoulders and were somewhat behind me, I knew they were angels. I could see (even though I wasn't looking directly at them) images of white beings. It was a feeling of just knowing they were angels. I quickly said a prayer to God. Although this happened twenty-four years ago, I still remember it as if it just happened yesterday. I remember the exact prayer I said. I said,’ God, I know I just delivered a baby, but whatever you think is best, I'll do. I put my life in your hands.’ I let go.
The feeling I felt was so peaceful, so floating-like. Comforting. Drifting, as if going further and further into another place. Another sensation I had was that I was flittering around inside a bubble. Being spirit-like. The two most prominent things I noticed were the bright-white light and the angels. I felt as if I were drifting away, but I was alright with going. As I said, I let go and was ready. I had complete trust and faith in God. Just at that moment my husband came over to my body, put his hand on my face and said, ‘Hon, please don't leave! Please don't leave me!’ and just like in the movie ‘Ghost,’ I had this ‘vroom’ type of experience, a ‘coming back’ feeling, and I started being totally physically aware of what was happening to my physical body, including the pain. During my experience, I had not felt any physical pain or discomfort. So the first thing I said to my husband was,’ oh my god! Why did you do that?’ I said it as if I was angry!
Prior to this experience, I must tell you, I used to fear death, because my father, who had been sick with chronic heart problems starting at the young age of thirty-six, almost died several times. As a young child, I feared being alone with him and witnessing his death. I also feared death for myself. After this experience, my fear of death diminished for myself and for others. In fact, when it came time for my father to pass on, I had a need to be with him. I did not fear it at all, and experiencing his death left me fulfilled in some way. (This is another story in itself.) This experience has also heightened my belief in angels. I believe angels are all around us. They come in different forms. Some are spiritual, some are in human form, and sometimes you just feel their presence. My intuition has also been heightened from this experience. I can read my gut instincts better and I have experienced a significant spiritual connection with others who have entered my life.
Date NDE Occurred: 12/20/1988
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Childbirth 'Life threatening event, but not clinical death'
It was December 20, 1988. I had just delivered my son, who had actually been due on Christmas day, but because he was so big and I was so uncomfortable, my doctor decided to admit me and induce labor. My son weighed eleven pounds and was twenty-three and a half inches long. My life-threatening event was the fact that I hemorrhaged after giving birth to him. My blood count dropped dramatically and my blood pressure had no top number.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Entirely pleasant
Did you feel separated from your body? I heard the doctor working on me. I heard my husband calling me back and felt him touching me.
At one point, I thought I saw my husband leaning up against the hospital room wall looking very worried. I may have lifted my head to see him but I am not sure if I actually lifted my head or if it was viewed spiritually. He was so upset and worried. (He doesn't remember the details like I do, so I can't check this out with him.)
I lost awareness of my body
How did your highest level of consciousness and alertness during the experience compare to your normal everyday consciousness and alertness? More consciousness and alertness than normal It just made me more aware. Gut instincts were more understood and more noticable. Now I feel deeper connections with others. Spiritual connections. It's not something you can really explain in words. It's better understood by those who have experienced it as well. It's something you just know and understand within yourself. Words can't really explain what it is you experienced, yet I grope around as much as I can to find the right words to use, hoping that what I say can enlighten another. Funny thing is I am not embarrassed to share this experience, because I know its depth and meaning. Sometimes when I share what happened to me, some people look at me as if, ’hmmmmm,’ but I don't care, because I know what I experienced. And then sometimes you have others who, when you share your experience, they can relate. There are many people who believe deeply in spiritual connections, like angel awareness, but they don't speak of it, because they worry what others will think. I don't worry, because I know. There are many I share my story with, and they relate or are touched by my belief in angels, God, spiritual connections, etc. It comforts them at times, as well.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I am not sure I understand this question fully. But if you mean highest level of consciousness during the experience itself, I would have to say that if you were looking at my body in the hospital and saw me unconscious physically and mentally, that was when I was at my most alert in regard to this spiritual experience. I felt as if I was deep inside myself.
Were your thoughts speeded up? Faster than usual
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning
I felt as if everything was happening at the same time, but it wasn't that I was being rushed, trying to see or hear it all. I just understood everything immediately, as if it was happening all at once.
Were your senses more vivid than usual? More vivid than usual
Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. Not sure how to describe this because the thing that was most vivid to me was the bright white light and angel forms. I didn't see much other than that.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I could hear, but for me personally, it was hearing as if the conversation were in the distance. I felt I was drifting closer and closer to heaven. Dying.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? No
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Yes I didn't see a tunnel, but I definitely was going somewhere. I just felt as if I were floating, being guided by angels. Surrounded by a bright white light. The brightest light you can imagine.
Did you see any beings in your experience? I sensed their presence
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? No
The experience included: Unearthly light
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? An unusually bright light
Did you see an unearthly light? Yes As I stated above, the brightest, whitest light you can imagine. Almost blinding.
The experience included: A landscape or city
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm I knew I was somewhere else, as if in a bubble, as if I was separated from myself, I guess. Yet I could hear what was going on, although that awareness was getting less and less, the closer I got to God. I could feel myself drifting further and further away from earth and more into a spiritual place. I didn't feel anything that was being done to me physically. I felt as if I were flittering around in a spiritual bubble. I knew I was ‘spiritual.’ I was not in physical form, yet I understood myself as if I was. I can't really explain it.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? I really don't recall emotions. I just remember feeling extremely relaxed, embraced by love. Loved, comfortable, and just so willing to go wherever God took me. I did not feel fear during this experience at all.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Incredible peace or pleasantness
Did you have a feeling of joy? Happiness
Did you feel a sense of harmony or unity with the universe? I felt no longer in conflict with nature
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe I can't say I understood ‘everything’ about myself or others, but I can say I had more understanding of myself and others. I felt as if this experience opened a whole new world to me. I wanted to learn more about spirituality, and I began to read more and more books because of this experience. My outlook on life and death was definitely different after this experience. I believe my understanding of life and death was clarified. I no longer fear death for myself or being with another when they pass on. The knowledge that I can understand more about spiritually was definitely awakened.
Did scenes from your past come back to you? No
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
Did you come to a border or point of no return? No I think this part of the experience was interrupted by my husband touching my face. Maybe his prayer to God to bring me back was more important.
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Slightly important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Christian- Catholic I was and still am catholic. I did not attend church weekly but I always had strong faith in God. Many would disagree with me but I never felt I had to go to church in order for God to hear my prayers nor do I feel I need to go to a priest for God to hear my confessions. haha If God can hear me pray..he can also hear me confess. So I guess its best to say I was born a catholic but over time I came to my own belief that we are all part of one God. All religions are just different paths to the same God.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I do not practice the Catholic religion by the book, but my spirituality has increased. I don't believe I have to follow one specific religion in order for me to be with God. We all are from the same God, and different religions are just different paths to same place.
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Christian- Catholic As I said above. I was born catholic....and still am considered a catholic but I don't feel the need for distinction regarding religion. My husband who was raised a very strict catholic gets upset at times when he and I discuss this topic only because I feel there is no difference between religions other then the path to the same place. One God for all.
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was both consistent and not consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience THis is rather a confusing question to me because I don't believe it had anything to do with my beliefs other then my fear of death. I may have had a misconception regarding death. My faith was always strong..I always believed in God but I do believe this experience has brought awareness and sureness ..a a higher level of spirituality for me. It did also strengthen my faith..even more.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I value the simple things in life more. Material things do not matter much. If I have an opportunity to express how I feel about someone, I do so.
The experience included: Presence of unearthly beings
Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice? I encountered a definite being, or a voice clearly of mystical or unearthly origin I felt angels guiding my shoulders as I was floating upward, surrounded by this bright white light. No doubt at all. It was angels. I sensed them, but I also saw the outline of their shapes. Everything was immersed in bright white light.
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? I sensed their presence
Did you encounter or become aware of any beings who previously lived on earth who are described by name in religions (for example: Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, etc.)? No
During your experience, did you gain information about premortal existence? No
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Uncertain It wasn't made clear but I think if you are referring to the spiritual connection one feels when they pass...I would have to say.. yes I felt part of a whole.. but it wasn't clarified distinctly. Its just something you feel.
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? God probably exists
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? Yes I believe the bright white light is that information. The feeling of feeling "love". In fact I forgot to share this prior but .. after this experience..I was also in church one day praying and became overwhelmed with this feeling of being so full and embraced by love within my body ..that I couldn't help but cry. Not tears of saddness but becasue I was filled so much by love..as if I could feel God within me..I could not control the tears. It was like an overwhelming feeling of love overflowing in my body.
Do you believe in the existence of God after your experience? God definitely exists
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? Yes Not sure if it would be considered ‘special knowledge,’ but my fears of death were completely eliminated. There was just a sense of knowing what is. As for ‘purpose,’ I am still searching for my purpose, but I do know I have one.
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are meaningful and significant
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? No
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? I was uncertain if an afterlife exists
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists Yes This is something you just know and understand after having the experience. You don't doubt it at all. I have no doubt there is a life after death. Its just not in physical form. Its spiritual.
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I greatly feared death
Do you fear death after your experience? I do not fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Slightly fearful in living my earthly life
Were you fearful living your life after your experience? Not fearful in living my earthly life
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are meaningful and significant
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant after your experience? Are meaningful and significant
Did you gain information about how to live our lives? Yes Just the after affect of feeling things more deeply. Sometimes feeling that overwhelming feeling of love from the inside out..that makes you know God is everywhere.
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? No
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes You just feel "love". you feel as if you are bursting with love from the inside out. Its overwhelming..
Were you compassionate after your experience? Greatly compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Moderate changes in my life I always had strong faith in God, but now, after the experience, I have no doubt at all there is an afterlife and a God. Before, although my faith was strong, one sometimes questions God or spirituality because those beliefs mostly rest on faith. But when you have an experience such as this, all doubts subside.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes Yes The way the experience changed me resulted in my being better in my relationships with others.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes It's just hard to put into words what was so extraordinary, so true and real and significant. I have written poems about it, though. Oh, that is another thing I gained from the experience: the ability to write poetry. The feelings I had were so deep within that they had no words, so sometimes I would express them by writing poems.
How accurately do you remember the experience in comparison to other life events that occurred around the time of the experience? I remember the experience more accurately than other life events that occurred around the time of the experience I remember this experience as if it happened yesterday. Every detail. Its something you don't forget.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes I believe I do. I believe my awareness of angels has been heightened. I can sense relatives who have passed on, as well. Such as my dad, uncle, etc. I feel things sometimes when I'm with other people and if I express what I feel, often times I find out it's true, as if I were psychic. I once asked someone if they meditated, simply because every time I stood next to them, I could feel that energy from practicing meditation passing right through to me. This was a doctor who cared for my dad. When I asked if he meditated, he said, ‘as a matter of fact I do!’ and he looked quite surprised that I had asked. So I just said, ‘Well, whatever you're doing for yourself is passing itself through to me, so keep it up!’ But after that, I wanted to feel that same feeling within myself, so I began to do yoga and practice meditation.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The bright white light and the sense of the angels. I never feel I am without angels now.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I shared it back twenty-four years ago, and I just shared it again on January 17, 2013, the day my uncle passed away in the hospital. I shared it by his bedside with my aunt who was with him as he passed. I shared this story with her for a reason, and when I left the hospital that day she said, ‘I hope Uncle Ed heard your words.’ So I feel my sharing this experience with her helped to comfort her, as well.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? No I had heard of it before, but I did not read about it or know much about it at all before this experience.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real I just have no doubt about what happened. I know I saw angels. I know I experienced that white light. It was a truly positive, wonderful feeling.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real I feel the same way today as I did twenty-four years ago. It was real and significant, and it changed my life.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes Just that one time I was in church and I had that overwhelming feeling of being so completely and totally full of love that I knew was God within me.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? I have to think about this one. Hopefully, I can get back to you on this.