The details of my near-death experience are just as vivid today as they were in 1964. I arrived at the hospital after several hours of labor contractions. My blood pressure was very high and I had lots of fluid retention in my body at that time. I believe I was given something to lower my blood pressure, and then I was prepped by the hospital staff and taken to the delivery room to await the arrival of my doctor. I was told to try not to bear down while we waited. When my doctor walked in the door, he immediately walked up to the delivery table, and at that same time, I remember someone attempting to put something over my nose and mouth. I turned my head and fought it at first because the plan had been that I was going to watch the birth. No one told me that they were changing the plans.
When I turned my head away from the anesthetic, I felt the cut of the instrument the doctor used to enlarge the vagina and then felt my muscles push my daughter out, and I heard her cry. This scared me because I was still awake and had no anesthesia of any kind. (I was supposed to get a coddle, which would have numbed the pain in the lower part of my body.) Then I remember hearing myself scream, and immediately after that, the person with the anesthetic had found my nose and mouth. (My daughter's birth was listed as 3:18 am.) The next thing I remember was hearing the doctor say, 'C'mon, Edie, we need your help. There's another one.' I must have helped in whatever way he wanted, but I did not feel the second birth and did not wake up again until I was in the recovery room around 4:00 am. (My son's birth was listed as 3:23 am.) Five minutes went by between the two births.
I am certain that my near-death experience took place at some time following the second birth as this would have been the time of the hemorrhage and drop in blood pressure. The first thing I remember about it was that I seemed to be traveling horizontally along some colored lights that had sounds, with an awareness that each color had its own sound. My awareness of myself did not include my body, but I was fully aware of who I was as I moved along, listening to these lights. I would move along one row until that row ended, then I would move up to the next row with lights of a different color and different sounds and go the other direction until I came to the end of the row again. Then I would move up to another row and go back the other direction. I had the feeling that I had already started moving along these lights before I actually became aware of what was happening, and as I became more fully aware of what was happening. I then became aware of a faint memory that this was not a new experience - that I had been through this same situation before.
Then I seemed to remember that something important was going to happen when I arrived at the row where only gray lights would appear, but I did not seem to remember what it was. I had no memory of being in the hospital or the childbirth or anything else about my current life. I was totally engrossed in the experience I was having at the time. And sure enough when the row of gray lights appeared, I remember hearing a sound that I'm not sure how to describe. It was something like you would hear if you were holding the palms of your hands together and sliding them back and forth in two different directions - only a much louder sound and a deeper tone, which was quick and didn't last very long. After hearing that sound, I found myself in what seemed to be a tunnel that I was moving through, enveloped in complete darkness, but with a very bright light at the far end. I seemed to be moving slowly toward that light in a somewhat slanted upward trajectory. I had no awareness of a physical body (and did not even miss having a body or did not even think about a body), but I seemed to know that the light was my destination and I was anxious to get there. I had no thoughts at all of my current life on earth. There was a period of anticipation as I traveled toward the light, but other than that, I have no concept regarding the time it took to get there. I seemed to be traveling at a comfortable pace.
But when I got to the round circle at the end of the tunnel where I would have entered into the light, I got a big surprise. Standing in the circle with legs apart and arms reaching out toward me was a very bright multi-colored figure, almost like a cartoon character and similar to the Joker on a deck of playing cards, but with a big smile that for some reason was more comforting and gentle than scary. He gently caught me in his arms and said to me, 'Back to the womb,' as he turned me around and gently tossed me back down the tunnel. The colors he wore were much brighter and more vivid than the colors we experience on earth. The last thing I was aware of as I traveled back down the tunnel was that it seemed like I was gradually losing a portion of some kind of memory as I descended.
Shortly after I woke up in the recovery room, one of the nurses asked me if I knew I had twins. That question triggered the memory of a dream I had while I was under the anesthesia. I dreamed I had given birth to triplet girls. So my first thought after her question, was, 'What happened to the triplet girls?' and I then realized that I had only been dreaming about the triplet girls and that I really had twins - a boy and a girl. When the memory came back to me about the near-death experience, I found myself pondering it a lot. I knew it wasn't a dream like the dream about the triplet girls. I wasn't sure at first what it meant and why it seemed so real - and I did not tell anyone about it. I kept it to myself for a long time. I do not believe I had ever heard about near-death experiences at that point in time and I thought if I told anybody about my experience, it might be scary to them, especially the character in the light. But for some reason, it was not scary to me even though I wasn't sure what it was all about.
A few years later I read a story in a magazine about a near-death experience where someone else experienced going through a tunnel toward the light, and I knew then that my experience was a near-death experience. For a long time, though, I was confused by the message given to me, 'Back to the womb,' because all I could think of was that I did not go back into someone's womb as a baby again. But one night I had the feeling I should look up the meaning of the word 'womb' and I discovered that 'womb' is also another word for 'earth.' So then it all made sense. It was not my time to leave the earth and I was sent back. I have since that time become a believer in reincarnation and thought that maybe the reason I had this memory of having gone through a similar experience before was that I had done so during a previous lifetime.
But another explanation could also be a near-death experience I had when I was five years old. My mother told me that I died on the operating table when my tonsils were taken out and the doctor even came out to get her to bring her into the operating room because he said I had quit breathing and he couldn't revive me. Not sure whether he had already given up or not, but I did finally started breathing again and did not die at that time. I have no conscious memory of that experience. Because of my near-death experience in 1964, I do not have any fear of death today.
Date NDE Occurred: 'March 23, 1964'
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Uncertain Childbirth Multiple delivery (twins) and severe fluid retention at time of delivery Other 'Giving birth to twins - Doctor did not discuss details with me afterward, but I had severe fluid retention and high blood pressure at time of delivery. I also had a big drop in blood pressure during delivery. Also hemorrhaged and had to be given blood
I had undergone several hours of pain from the contractions by the time I got to the hospital so was quite exhausted - and then became aware that my condition with the high blood pressure was of great concern to the medical staff. So I was feeling somewhat unsure of how much more I could cope with, but I had faith then that I was in a safe place with people who would take care of me, and I don't think I felt the situation was life threatening. I was feeling very thankful the time had come for my baby to be born (the doctor had been telling me that there was only one baby) and I was very excited about the birth of this baby.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Mixed
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes
I clearly left my body and existed outside it
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 As above.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? Probably at the time I reached the end of the tunnel, anticipating entry into the light.
Were your thoughts speeded up? Incredibly fast
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning
Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid
Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. The colors were more vivid and the light was brighter and the character who met me at the light did not look like a normal 3-D earth human. Also amazing to me were the sounds of the colored lights.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. Only that I was able to hear the sounds of colors. But other than that my hearing seemed normal.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? Yes, and the facts have been checked out
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Yes After moving upward through rows of colored lights, I ended up in a tunnel and then began moving at what seemed to be a slightly upward angle toward a light at the end of the tunnel.
Did you see any beings in your experience? I actually saw them
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Yes Only a smiling character dressed in bright and vivid colors who was standing in the opening at the end of the tunnel. He caught me in his arms, said 'back to the womb' and turned me around and gently tossed me back down the tunnel.
The experience included: Darkness
The experience included: Light
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? A light clearly of mystical or other-worldly origin
Did you see an unearthly light? Yes It was very bright and at the end of the tunnel.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm Only the rows of colored lights and then the tunnel.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Anticipation, contentment, peace, happiness, surprise.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Relief or calmness
Did you have a feeling of joy? Happiness
Did you feel a sense of harmony or unity with the universe? I felt united or one with the world
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe
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? Scenes from the world's future
The experience included: Boundary
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? Yes The character standing in the circle at the end of the tunnel was definitely there to keep me from going through to the light. I did not get in. I later determined that I was not allowed to enter because it was not my time yet to leave the earth.
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
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What was your religion prior to your experience? Moderate Christian/Lutheran
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes My religious beliefs have evolved to become more open and receptive to other religious beliefs and practices and I recognize the interconnectedness of all creation.
What is your religion now? Liberal Christian/Unity (recognize all faiths as worshipping the same God)
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes My religious beliefs have evolved to become more open and receptive to other religious beliefs and practices and I recognize the interconnectedness of all creation.
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
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? I actually saw them
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? No
Have your relationships changed specifically 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? Uncertain Only the gift of not being afraid of death, a greater awareness of my spiritual nature, and the availability of spiritual helpers.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? Especially significant to me was that being sent back solidifies a belief for me that each life must have a purpose and a time to leave the earth and that we do have guardian angels and spiritual guides looking after us and helping us along the way.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes Probably seven or eight years between my experience and my sharing of it with others. Do not remember any particular reaction and I'm not aware of any influence on another because of my experience.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? No
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real I knew that the experience was completely unlike any dream. The memory never faded like dreams do. I found myself reliving it repeatedly and pondering its meaning. And at the time I was having the experience I knew nothing about my deteriorating physical condition, the hemorrhage, big drop in blood pressure, and the blood transfusions they had to give me. It was the next day that I realized I gave the staff a scare when my doctor barked at me and said, 'What are you trying to do to us?' That's when I became aware that my condition had been critical. After some pondering of my experience, I realized that I had left my body and then got sent back.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real The memory has never faded in all these years. My spirituality has evolved significantly since that time. And even though I have never had another near-death experience, I have had many other 'close-call' experiences where the possibility of death was very close, but averted in some miraculous ways.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? I believe I have given as much detail as possible and cannot think of anything else to add.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? I thought the questionnaire was very thorough.