Before giving birth to my son, the nurse informed me that I was dilated at 7 cm and that they were taking me into delivery. My son was eight pounds six ounces and literally tore me to pieces. I was later informed that the doctor had to put eighty-something stitches in me to put me back together. Obviously, I lost a great deal of blood, but nothing immediately was done. An hour and a half after giving birth, I was in my room when a nurse entered to take my blood pressure. I remember her calling the station and asking them to bring her another stethoscope because hers must be broken. When she got another stethoscope, she could not find any blood pressure or a heartbeat. I was still conscious, because I remember her telling my mother, who was in the room, to please leave. My husband had gone home to shower. It was at this point that I was no longer conscious of the earthly world. I remember a falling movement through a black tunnel, then arriving at the most brilliant, beautiful white light. I have never since seen this color or type of light.
Once I reached the light, a voice - I never saw anyone, only heard a voice - welcomed me. The voice was very warm, masculine. He said, 'Welcome, Leta. Do you know where you are?' At first, I was confused - not understanding where I was or what had just happened. I remember starting to say no, but then it hit me, and I told him, 'Yes, I am in heaven, but I don't want to be here. I just had a baby and I want to be with him.' I remember telling him frantically almost pleading, 'I can't stay here. My husband doesn't know anything about babies and I need to go back to help him.' The voice said, 'So you don't want to be here?' I responded, 'Someday I want to be here, but not now. I want to be with my baby.' He said, 'Okay.' I then felt like I was going back up through the tunnel. When I came to, the doctors and nurses had the heart shockers in hand about to hit my chest. One of the nurses looked at me and said, 'I've seen that face before. You have been to the other side.'
Date NDE Occurred: June 10, 1986
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Childbirth Life threatening event, but not clinical death I had just given birth and had lost a vast amount of blood.
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 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? Normal consciousness and alertness
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? When I was talking with the person.
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
Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid
Did your vision differ in any way from normal? I normally need glasses, but I could see perfectly well during this.
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 Going to the light I remember a dark tunnel that I seemed to be moving down through at a great speed. Coming back through I felt like I was moving upwards through 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? No
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 The light was extremely bright and a kind of creamy white color.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
What emotions did you feel during the experience? I remember feeling comforted and peaceful, but then panicking at the thought that I was dead and could not see my child.
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 Catholic
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes As a person who has always been a Christian and a believer in Jesus, this experience has deepened my faith that God does exists.
What is your religion now? Liberal Catholic
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes As a person who has always been a Christian and a believer in Jesus, this experience has deepened my faith that God does exists.
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? Yes I knew I wasn't on earth anymore. It just seemed to be a place - nothing definitive.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes I have a deeper bond with my husband and that first child.
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
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I have only told a handful of people. I remember the day afterwards trying to tell my mother and husband and neither of them wanted to hear it. I have never mentioned it to either of them since. I have recently told two others - one does not believe it, and the other said it confirms that there is life after death.
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. There was never any doubt in my mind what had happened. I have always believed that I was sent back because God was not finished with me - that there was some purpose other than caring for my child. I had never heard of this happening to people, but two or three months afterwards, Oprah featured near death experiences on her show. I was amazed that others had experiences so similar to mine.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real. I still believe the experience occurred. After having another child and a great marriage, I still very often wonder what my purpose on earth is, and if I fulfill that purpose, will I die and never come back.
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 have often tried to replay the passing through the tunnel in my mind, and at times, I seem to remember my life being on the sides of the tunnel, but it is very hazy.