I had delivered my son, who weighed 10lbs 3oz, naturally with no medical intervention, specifically no prostaglandin in the third stage which can prevent post-partum hemorrhage.
During my labor, which had lasted approximately six hours, I had experienced no pain as I had been in a state of deep prayer. I had received a vision of the Blessed Virgin throughout my labor and had surrendered all pain to her and received what I believe to be her maternal strength. I had never experienced anything so remarkable before. Those around me were finding the situation very unsettling, as I was completely silent. I was told that I could deliver the baby anytime I was ready to and so when it was time I delivered him voluntarily and silently. He was, of course, exquisite and very calm. I fed him within ten to fifteen minutes of his birth still in a state of spiritual grace, I suppose. I was bewildered and overwhelmed by what had occurred but a part of me was fully accepting of it. That was the part of me that was leading at that time.
The next thing I remember was coming to in a different physical position, my head had been lowered onto the bed, and I opened my eyes, still very calmly and saw my husband's ashen face at the foot of the bed holding my son. I asked what had happened, and he could not speak from shock, the midwife was shouting for help and trying to stay calm with me. I asked her if she was all right, she was crying and said you'll be okay. I struggled to sit up, so that everyone would be reassured, I felt physically completely without any life force/energy. I tried to speak and felt myself slipping away; I was lowered down again on the bed and lost conscious awareness of my physical body. I could no longer experience physical input. But I was aware with a different part of me. Which is why I say there were no feelings or thoughts, just kind of awareness. I became aware of an intense, pure softness and I knew in that moment, 'He's/it's coming', I experienced a force of being wanted. It wasn't a force with a vector, but it was just an energy. I was aware that there was no linearity to my experience, no attachment almost as though the forces that operated inside it were free floating. In our framework for understanding it, I could say this intense softness wanted me and loved me, as if it was pulling itself to itself with joy, smiling peace, and the most intense softness.
Then there appeared in the bottom left corner of my mind's eye a luminescence. This is so cliché, but it is absolutely true. The luminescence came towards me and me towards it. I knew with a kind of transcendent knowing what it was, and it was communicating the very fullness of itself and I was aware of the magnitude of it. It was infinite, and boundless and perfect. But I resisted it. It was overwhelmingly attractive. Its attractiveness was the force that was pulling me towards it. I told it I could not come because my son needed me. A big part of me was seduced by it. It was telling me how loved I was, how safe I would be, how peaceful, how joyful and serene, forever. I refused to go. It was really strong and I was almost completely enveloped by it. I fought with every ounce of me to get away from it. It was absolutely the hardest battle of my life. It took everything I had. I felt like at one millisecond I was asked if I truly wanted to go back, and I said yes.
I came to in the delivery suite and counted nine medical personnel's heads around me. There were alarms going off and lots of panic in the room. The midwife was still crying but was standing at the back of the room whilst a nurse was trying to put an IV tube in my arm and the crash pads were raised above my chest. I said, 'What's going on here?' Everyone seemed relieved. The consultant said, 'You're very poorly and we thought we'd lost you.' I smiled, thinking, if only you knew what's been going here! I wondered if I should tell him all about God and death and thought - maybe not.
Date NDE Occurred: 23rd September 2002
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Childbirth 'Life threatening event, but not clinical death'
I lost consciousness due to a post-partum hemorrhage. Apparently, I lost most of the blood in my body. I had no pulse; my vital signs were not being monitored by a machine so it is unclear whether I died clinically.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Mixed
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes
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? Less consciousness and alertness than normal As above.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? It was two entirely different types of alertness and consciousness. When I struggled to come back as I was presumably moving back inside my physical experience I began to re-experience the immediacy of physical consciousness, like everything suddenly got very immediate and took on a different timbre. I became aware of feelings, distress, striving, pain, fear and sadness, of the massive physical weight of the condition that I was in. The previous experience was totally different in nature. It was a very, very grounded feeling, unshakeable, like a deep knowingness. I knew who I was; I knew and recognized instantly the existence that was coming towards me.
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
Time was gone. Everything happened instantly but there was subsequent progression.
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. I didn't use my senses. It was as if I was referring back to a catalogue of phenomena to process my experience. Totally impossible to describe. Even the light wasn't just light it was everything rolled into one, it was softness, love, peace, tenderness calm, giving, compassion, energy, joy and light. It's a full on everything kind of an experience.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. As above, didn't hear, just knew - telepathy perhaps silent communication, like prayer/spirituality.
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 I suppose so, the light grew towards me enveloping me and I knew that I would be entering fully into it if I did not fight.
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 Yes, but no physical form, I communicated with an existence.
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 As above.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
What emotions did you feel during the experience? As above.
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? Liberal
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? No
What is your religion now? Liberal
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? No
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? Yes Like I said, a deep knowingness, a certainty. There was lack of doubt.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes Because the experience didn't seem to be processed through the same perception framework. It didn't 'feel' wonderful, it just was. I didn't 'feel' conflicted. It was just that there was conflict, like forces working in the situation that were attached to my situation but not directly processed through me. I only began to engage with them directly towards the very end of the experience.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Uncertain Well, I'm not sure but I seem to have a gift with my patients. I have just retired from Psychotherapy and I seemed to have an innate ability to intuit their unconscious process. Whether this came from that experience is unknown, but it was/is bewildering to me. I just seem to know, despite feeling like it's not me that knows.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? There are several things about the experience that bother me. One is that the light seemed to want me and I don't know what meaning to attach to this. And secondly that it was so incredibly difficult to get back, it was agony.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I told my husband after about six months. He was shaken by it. He was in shock for a long time after the incident. I have subsequently shared it with patients. They are also very shaken by it. I am not prone to this kind of disclosure! I am a dyed in the wool scientist.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes Only anecdotal, general awareness of third degree dissociative experiences and seeing a light. I was very skeptical! I still am.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real I was in denial for a long time. I was very shaken by it. I refused to look at it. I was very sick for several months afterwards, it took a long time to recover and I was afraid that God wanted me and would come and get me, so I guarded against this by denying the existence of the experience. I have relaxed a little and now accept that it happened.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real Part of the process of accepting the reality of the experience is to record it here and to allow others to see it. I still do not know whether the experience was evidence of life after death, a transition episode between life and death or simply a defense of the unconscious against dying.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes Meditation.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? No.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? Yes, perhaps a more detailed exploration of the framework of consciousness. An understanding or identification of the nature of waking consciousness and sub-consciousness and the type of consciousness experienced in NDEs.