I was almost eight months pregnant with my first child. I'd had my thirty-four week check and although at the time I was told everything was fine, looking back it's obvious I had signs of pre-eclampsia. At around thirty-five and a half weeks, my husband and I had been out visiting, and I felt unwell on the way home. Mostly my back was aching, but I also felt a bit nauseous and my head felt odd. I ended up lying down on the back car seat.
I got home, went to bed, but was tossing and turning because of the back pain. I rang the midwives at hospital, but they weren't concerned, just suggested a hot water bottle on my back. I did fall asleep, and then woke at about 2:00 am feeling strange. I turned on the light, and noticed that my cream colored bedroom wall looked like it was covered in a rainbow of flashing colored lights. I'd done some work for an ophthalmologist, and knew that wasn't a good sign, usually it signals the onset of acute glaucoma. So I staggered out of bed, went up to the spare room (my husband was sleeping there because my tossing and turning had been keeping him awake), woke him up and explained what was happening. He suggested ringing the midwives again, so I went back to the bedroom and tried to dial the number. Apparently, I had actually picked up my glasses and was trying to read the phone number on them, but I don't remember them. Seconds later, I collapsed, unconscious, and stopped breathing.
My husband revived me and phoned for an ambulance. The first thing I remember is being wheeled out to the ambulance and it was raining. But I wasn't actually lying on the trolley, it felt more like I was floating slightly above the trolley but still experiencing the rain. I floated into the ambulance, and I remember moving along with it, feeling when it turned a corner, and having a general idea of whereabouts we were. I have a vague impression of having looked down at myself on the trolley. Then there's a gap.
Apparently, I arrived at the hospital and had another seizure. The only solution was to have an emergency c'sarean section in the hope of saving both the baby and myself. It was a few hours before the medical staff felt I was going to be okay, up until then I was touch and go.
Anyway, I don't exactly know when I felt like I was moving, but I became aware that I was traveling rapidly through darkness. It wasn't quite a tunnel, but it did seem to have a form and direction, even though it was dark. Gradually I became aware of a light far away in the distance, and realized that's where I was heading. As I got closer, I began to feel as though there were people all around, just outside my 'tunnel', but I never saw or spoke to them. They were loving and welcoming, and it's hard to explain the incredible sense of joy, happiness and acceptance that I was feeling. It's not a sensation I've ever felt on earth. I got closer to the light, to the point where the darkness disappeared and I was preparing to join the light. It felt wonderful. Then a loving, caring voice said quite clearly, without words 'It's not your time. You must go back.'
It all disappeared, and at some point after that, I regained consciousness. I still remembered everything with incredibly clarity.
Date NDE Occurred: August 11, 1997
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Childbirth Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function) .
How do you consider the content of your experience? Wonderful
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 All the positive emotions that were washing over me were uplifting and joyous, it was an incredible sensation.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I felt most conscious and alert as I was speeding towards 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
Did your hearing differ in any way from normal? It felt like I heard a voice inside my head, rather than through my ears.
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 It was dark initially, but although I couldn't see a tunnel, it certainly felt like I was traveling in a set direction within a set framework.
Did you see any beings in your experience? I actually saw them
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Uncertain I felt the presence of people, but didn't actually meet or communicate with them.
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 blinding, but out of it radiated the most wondrous feelings of love, peace and joy. I couldn't wait to join it.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? It was all incredibly positive. Wherever I was going, I was keen to get there and was looking forward to it.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Incredible peace or pleasantness
Did you have a feeling of joy? incredible joy
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
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
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? No
What is your religion now? Moderate Christian
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? No
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? No
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? I think the part that has affected me the most is how wonderful the place I was going felt. I can't say I ever 'feared' dying, but now, although I'm keen to stay here and enjoy watching my kids grow up, I don't have any fear of dying. I think it fitted in quite well with my own philosophy about faith, religion and so on - if you're a good person and do the best you can in your life, you will go on to a better place.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I told my husband almost as soon as I woke up, but at the time he thought I was babbling - I wasn't exactly coherent for the first couple of days, let alone going on about NDE! But he was intrigued by what I told him. Since then I've told other people, and mostly they've been curious.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Uncertain I'd heard of it, but never really taken much interest. I guess I just figured anything's possible.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real. It had so much clarity, completely unlike a dream which disappears almost as soon as you wake up.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real. It had so much clarity, completely unlike a dream which disappears almost as soon as you wake up. Even now, ten years later, I can still recapture how I felt (at least partially!) and I can hear that voice inside my head telling me to go back.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No