I was at work on the last day before I took early maternity leave. I was eight months pregnant, but I had been so very tired for about two days I could hardly function. I felt confused, drained, listless, and that morning had noticed my perianal area had turned completely blue. I had complained so much during the pregnancy that I decided whatever that was could wait. I had a doctor's appointment at 2:00 pm that same day. I was going to beg him to give me an official write-out for work, but either way, I wasn't going back until I felt more energetic.
I was in the canteen finishing the baby shower that my coworkers had given me, when the phone rang in there and it was for me. I stood up and walked over to the phone as a woman passed by me and said, ‘When are you going to have that baby?’ I had long grown weary of that question, and my stock answer of, ‘Not soon enough.’ So this time, I said, ‘Any minute.’ Precognition? I don't think so. But it was a coincidence.
I got to the phone and it was my husband. He never called me at work, so I was a little alarmed. He called to tell me that the deal on the car he wanted had gone through and he had traded in his beat up old Gremlin for the new Grand Prix, and would be taking our four-year-old daughter to the sitter early. He wouldn't be home the rest of the day, and he felt like he needed to tell me that for some reason. He would then be heading to work at 2:30 pm. It was 10:00 am.
It was 1986. Cell phones were unheard of by plain old people, so his call proved to be providential. As I stood there listening to him on the phone, I suddenly felt as if I was going to wet my pants. I thought for a second my water had broken, and suddenly fluid gushed out of me with such force it seemed to explode onto the floor, and splattered all over the place. I looked down, and saw my own blood pouring from me at such an alarming rate that I felt faint. I don't know if I had already lost so much blood that I was beginning to pass out, or if I just got faint from the sight of my own blood. I yelled into the phone, ‘Oh my God, Butch. I'm dying! You've gotta get here now!’ Then I threw the phone as hard as I could across the room.
My coworkers (all female) surrounded me and helped me onto a lunch table. One ran and called my doctor. I had posted important numbers to call in case anything happened just two days before, and my supervisor, Kathy, later told me how thankful she was I had. The doctor told them to bring me to his office, not realizing how severely I was hemorrhaging. Plans were made for that, but my condition was such that I couldn't even sit up now, and I had begun to pass in and out of alertness, although I was awake. I kept hearing water dripping, and I asked them to turn it off several times. It kept dripping, and I turned my head to see that I had bled so badly it had run down to the wall of the canteen (about fifteen feet) and down the side of the canteen (about twelve to fifteen more feet). Kathy saw me gasp in horror, and she said, "That isn't water dripping. It's blood." I knew I was going to die at that moment. I knew that I was somehow detached from the whole thing, not panicking, not worrying at all, not like I thought I always would if I knew even for a moment my life was in danger. I was calm.
The fiasco in the canteen continued. Confusion broke out about where I should go, and my department supervisor walked in and broke it up and told everyone to leave, and for Kathy to call an ambulance. I was going to the hospital. I didn't care at that point. I didn't feel any pain. I wasn't concerned for my safety or the baby's. I just knew that I was at peace. When the ambulance arrived, someone had told the attendants that I had a nosebleed. They walked in and were not at all alarmed. All the blood had been mopped up. The girl attendant asked me if this was my first pregnancy, and patted my hand motherly like. I knew she didn't understand, and I didn't feel a pressing need to explain to her that I had softball sized clots in my pantyhose, at least four or five. They treated the whole thing as a routine trip to the hospital. They loaded me onto a stretcher, and walked out. They didn't start an intravenous drip, they never looked under my dress, they didn't ask me anything except was I in labor. They didn't turn on the lights or sirens for the ride to the hospital.
We were there in about five minutes as it was just about six blocks away. They unloaded me, rode the elevator up to the third floor, and parked me in the hall in front of the nurses station, laying my chart up on the counter. ‘Someone will be with you in a minute,’ the girl said smugly. I don't think to this day she thought that I was in any danger at all. She seemed to take the attitude that I was a panicky young woman about to have a baby, who had experienced a little nosebleed.
There I lay, not for long, but I really don't know how long. This is the point that I began to feel detached from my body. Cold at first, but not uncomfortable. I felt as if I were floating a little, drifting in and out of my body just a little. No overhead view or anything like that. But I heard conversations in different rooms. All at once. Nothing important. I saw the ambulance attendants in a break-room buying Lance cheese crackers, trying to get the pack out of the vending machine. It seemed to be stuck somehow. I seemed to be viewing this from the top of the door frame. And then I was back looking at the ceiling in the hallway. I felt so peaceful. I felt happy, and free, and like a weight had been lifted from me. I thought briefly about my husband and my little daughter, how they would miss me, how I was needed to be there for both of them. But I didn't really want to stay. I wanted to float. I wanted to be free again, but I kept feeling the weight of my body pulling me back in. I kept feeling the need to go, but at the same time I felt as if I wasn't permitted to leave for some reason. I kept getting pushed back down into my body before I could leave, but I didn't feel any push.
I lay there, not long, but long enough to nearly finish bleeding to death. I felt a warmth come near me, and I turned to look. I couldn't speak, I had no energy left. It took all my energy just to turn my head. I saw a nurse approach me, and say, "You don't look so good," while she lifted the sheet. She called a code. People came running from everywhere, the cart started rolling, and I felt somehow I was being left behind for a second, and then my 'view' changed and I was looking up at the ceiling again. From that point on, I stayed with my body. I suddenly became concerned with the baby. I felt like he was dead. I felt fear and confusion.
Personnel were rushing around, starting intravenous drips, starting a blood transfusion, hooking up monitors for the baby and me. I felt a surge of warmth (the blood and medicine that was being administered hit me like a warm blanket being dropped on me). I felt energetic and I asked about the baby. Is he alive? No one answered me. My husband came in with my little girl. I told her I loved her and to be a good girl for daddy while mommy was sick. I drifted unconscious, but remember nothing. I awoke while a nurse was removing the baby monitor. I asked her why she was removing it. She didn't answer. I told her to leave it on. She kept removing it. I insisted. She left it on and left in a hurry. The doctor came in. He told my husband and me the baby was gone. I had less than a thirty percent chance of surviving surgery to remove the baby, so they were going to allow me to deliver it naturally. I mustered the energy and told him that the baby was alive. I wanted the monitor left on. I had heard it's heart beat when no one was in the room. The doctor said it was impossible. The baby had no heartbeat right now, pointing at the monitor, and to accept the fact that he was gone. The task now was for me to survive.
The nurse once again attempted to remove the monitor, and I cried out for my husband to stop them. "Don't let them, Butch. He's alive. I heard his heart! I did!" The doctor motioned for the nurse to leave it, with a sympathetic look. Suddenly, the monitor started to bleep. My baby's heart was beating after all! In seven minutes, we were in the operating room, the baby was revived again, and I was on my way to recovery.
I went home five days later, weak and spent physically, but feeling a new sense of life. I didn't fear death the way I always had now. I didn't actually see or speak to any 'beings' at that time, but I felt the release from my body happening many times, only to be forced back in. Confining. I felt a fleeting moment of freedom, of being loosened from the confines of the box I was in, and it was momentarily exhilarating. I knew that whatever this release was, that it was a pleasant thing, not a horror.
It took me a year to recover physically. During that time, I spent countless hours daily laying in the floor with Thomas and my daughter Julie teaching him how to sit up, roll over, to exercise his tiny legs. He didn't thrive. His head grew out of proportion of his body. I was warned repeatedly by the pediatric group not to expect miracles. Thomas had had an APGAR (Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, Respiration) score of 3 at birth. This was critical. Five minutes later, it rechecked at 6. Barely past the benchmark score of 5. No one knew the extent of the damage that may have been done during all the time he didn't have a heartbeat. The placenta had torn away from the uterus prematurely, and a large portion of the blood supply that I was supposed to be giving to him escaped and puddled in my uterus, unbeknownst to me. I was hemorrhaging slowly, internally, with no outward sign except the blue perianal area and my extreme paleness and fatigue. The average woman loses the child during this event, and if the child survives, there is brain damage from lack of oxygen. The effects on the child are usually devastating or fatal. The mother dies sometimes, and many times, if she survives, she must have a hysterectomy to stop the bleeding. I had been told these facts many times. My case was different.
Until Thomas was eleven months old, he didn't roll over, sit up, or even show an interest in standing up. All he did was lay there and smile while his head grew very large, and his body stayed infant sized. I came to dread the doctor visits, and all their negativity. I hated them saying something was wrong, he should be doing more, prepare for the worst, hope for the best. I didn't accept it. I continued my daily physical therapy for him in the floor, and I held him all the time when he wasn't on the floor. I didn't dare enroll him in daycare, for fear that laying in a crib all day would hinder his progress. I cried sometimes when I was alone. I didn't want him to be handicapped from this. And I prayed hard.
Then one day, Thomas rolled over. I called the doctor crying! A week later, he sat up, and by the end of the month, he was taking a first step!! I expected a miracle and I got one. His body began to grow, and by the time he was two years old, he was a normal healthy toddler. Today, Thomas is fifteen years old. He is a good-hearted kid, close to me, and has more than made up for his pitiful start in life. He is now six feet tall, and weighs 230 lbs! He wears a size thirteen shoe. No one believes that he was at one time slated to be mentally challenged.
I believe that all of the events took place somehow in sequence to allow me to experience this. I experienced weird feelings and sensations that were comforting even on the edge of death. I deepened my understanding of life somewhat, and it has continued to deepen over the years.
I didn't mention that a few weeks after I brought Thomas home, we all laid down for a nap one afternoon. Thomas routinely slept four hours, and Julie didn't sleep much at all, but just laid on her bed and played. I thought I would grab maybe fifteen minutes of a nap on the couch, and since I had always been a light sleeper, I wasn't overly concerned about Julie being awake. She would stay on her bed for at least that long. I hopped on the couch, and fell immediately in to a deep, deep sleep that was unlike anything I have ever experienced before or since.
I remember laying down, but not going to sleep. It was as if I passed out as soon as my head hit the pillow, as people say. I closed my eyes, and felt like I was falling. I felt like I opened my eyes and bright light was everywhere. It was soft and sunshiny light, only whiter. I was walking down a sidewalk, and I looked across the street to see a beautiful creature I identified as an 'angel' walking down the other side, in the opposite direction. As I turned to look at 'him', he looked at me, and suddenly I was standing in front of him. He was so beautiful, with long, silk-like white hair with some waves in it, and a flowing white gown that was tied at the waist with a thick white cord, and the neckline caught my attention. It was cut very low, almost down to the waist, and his chest was exposed. It looked like it was made of wax, and had many muscular cuts in it. He was very attractive, and his eyes were piercing blue, although I could not look directly into them but only briefly. I stared at his chest, which was higher than my head. He seemed to be very tall, very muscular, fit, and yet, kind and powerful. Oh, he had huge, flowing wings streaming from his back. They were arched up above his head, stark white, and narrow. I was in awe, and felt humbled, too humbled to speak. He said to me telepathically, "I have something very important for you to do."
I thought, "What is it?", but I said nothing. He heard my thoughts and said, "You'll know when the time comes. But you have an important assignment." I felt special. I felt loved, and like I was glowing inside. I couldn't comprehend what it might be that someone like me could be slated to do, but I was ready for whatever it might be. I didn't feel insignificant, and I didn't feel afraid. I felt powerful and enabled. I felt capable of whatever it was I had to do. I wanted to ask more questions, but I knew I didn't need to. This was all I needed to know. Then, I opened my eyes.
The glow in the room faded to the dim light of sunset. I checked the time to see how long I had slept, and I was shocked to see that I had slept three hours!! I jumped up, and darted to my four-year-old daughter's room, scared I would find her missing, hurt, or into something serious. I had never left her up alone that long before. I was panicking! She was known to get into all kinds of messes. But there she lay, sound asleep. I don't know how long of a nap she had, because I fell asleep long before she did. But she never took naps. I certainly couldn't believe that she had slept until sunset. I checked on Thomas. He was beginning to stir around and wake up. I was just stunned that everything had been so quiet for so long and that I had slept for three hours. And I recalled the dream. I sat down on the couch, and dwelled on the details for a long time. I'll never forget it, and I've never had another one like it. I call it a dream, but it was so much more than that. I was convinced that it was real then, and I am still convinced of the same thing. I just can't explain the difference between my dreams and this 'episode'. The depth and realism is inexplicable.
I still don't know what my special 'assignment' is. Maybe it was staying home with Thomas until he was able to develop properly. Maybe it is still waiting down the road for me. Either way, I am ready. I am ready for whatever comes my way. I am looking for a way to step out of line, and do something good for someone. I look for ways to be understanding. I am more compassionate now. I am sensitive to other's stories about the same thing. I do believe these things happen, whether just in our minds, or out in the vast field of energy that exists all around us. I have no answers. I don't even have questions, really. It isn't for us to know. Yet.
Date NDE Occurred: November 21, 1986
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Childbirth Life threatening event, but not clinical death pregnancy abruption; severe hemorrhaging; near deathPregnancy ending in abruption; severe hemorrhaging; left in hallway alone in hospital until nurse walked by and noticed I looked extremely white and had a fixed stare.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Positive
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes I cannot describe it other than how I felt. Lightweight. I did not look down at myself. It was as if I was looking at a clip of a movie from different angles. Something I experienced once compared to this explanation: I was playing a video game, and I hit a key to change the view, and instantly I could see from a different angle. My experience was like this. I never looked at myself. My view was almost 180 without turning. I could see from high up, and close up and panoramic so quickly changing between the 'views' that time didn't seem to apply.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I felt very alert mentally, and I didn't feel anything physically.
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning Felt released from a 'box' (my body); felt floating and weightlessness and like I was everywhere at once, although I never left the floor of the hospital.
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? No
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Yes In the second 'dream' episode, I fell into a deep sleep and found myself walking down the sidewalk of a beautiful city. It seemed somewhat crystal-like, and translucent, yet glowing white. I thought someone was with me, walking beside me, but I do not recall seeing anyone, or even myself. Again, I had a 'camera' view, close up.
Did you see an unearthly light? No
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm Not during the NDE, but later in the 'dream'.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Peace. Quiet. Happiness. Release. Freedom. Weightlessness. Strong emotional sensation of being pulled up to float.
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe I felt its presence, but I was not permitted to know it.
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 I have a heightened sensitivity to people's body language, true emotions and motivations, although I don't hear what they are thinking or anything. I seem to perceive more about people than others do, and sometimes my friends look at me strangely, as if I jump to conclusions too quickly. Later, I am usually proved right.
Did you come to a border or point of no return? No I seemed to be tethered to it somehow, feeling freedom, but not able to wander far from it, and going in and out of it many times, even if it was just to the ceiling.
God, Spiritual and Religion:
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes No longer fear death, no profound religious experience, other than I got interested in religion and explored it for a while.
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 I seemed to heighten my sensitivity toward people in general, and being able to see their motivations more clearly than others do. (Also see response to Question 18, above.)
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The feelings of freedom were the best. The worst? The physical recovery and depression afterwards.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes Just a few people. Spouse, friends and family brushed it off. Only person took it seriously was a Jehovah's Witness friend of mine. She listened intently and believed me, and told me honestly she had no idea what it was, but it must have been real if it was that real to me.
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? No.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? None.