It was the end of my pregnancy which had been problem free but, after the last gynecological appointment, I started to bleed. It was my first child and I was inexperienced. I knew nothing about having a baby and was worried, so I asked someone for help who told me to lie down and rest. My husband was at work. I wanted him to be there when the time came so when he arrived home for lunch, I told him I did not want to be alone, in case labor started. I spent the whole afternoon with him, going to work in a four-wheel drive truck. It was Monday and the whole day went by with nothing happening. At around 3:00 am, I felt I needed to go to the toilet and to my horror, realized that I was hemorrhaging. I tried not to panic; I woke my husband and we left for hospital an hour later. On arrival at the clinic, the nurse on duty panicked because, according to the midwife, the baby’s life was in danger. There was no time to lose; I was to deliver immediately. The placenta was torn but the baby had not dropped. After having a drip inserted to start labor I was, at last, transferred to the delivery room at around 9:30.
The problem was that I did not know when to push. I was extremely tired just lying there quietly. After a moment, I felt I was out of my body. This was an unfamiliar feeling, extremely weird. I was conscious, I saw myself on the delivery table, and my husband was next to me. I could see the midwife and I could see that the weather was good out the window. But I was/felt out of my body, as if my body were separated from my soul. It seemed as though my body and soul was two different things; my body was below and I was above, seeing everything. The room was very bright. I do not remember hearing any specific sound; on the contrary, I would say that everything was quiet. After a while, I told myself, ‘This cannot be! It cannot end like this!’ Right away, I felt myself falling back into my body. I pushed once and my son was born.
Later, I told to my husband what happened to me. ‘I don't understand’ I said. ‘I wonder what they put in that drip. But if they ‘drugged’ me (used a tranquilizer)’ I said ‘it was certainly efficient!’ Less than a year later, I found myself in the same delivery room. I felt a bit scared that the same thing would happen to me. But it did not. I have had five children in total (the oldest is 44 now) and even though the labor may have been hard, I never experienced the same feelings again. My husband and I never talked about it again. However, two or three years ago, while chatting with friends about our respective deliveries, I talked about my first delivery and my ‘fear’ that I might relive the experience when having my second child. I told them how confused I had been and that I had only ever shared what happened with my husband. Together we concluded that I must have experienced a NDE.
Date NDE Occurred: 25/09/1984
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Childbirth Other accouchement (hémorragie)
Severe hemorrhage, torn placenta and an emergency delivery.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Frightening
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? Normal consciousness and alertness All the time.
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
It seemed that time did not feel the same; it was a long time to me while, in fact, it must have really been a very short time.
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 would say that the brightness was more intense. I perceived but did not feel anything. I felt surprisingly relaxed.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I could hear but was detached from everything below me.
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? No
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 Light was all around me, everything was light and there was extreme peace.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Strange emotions. I did not feel any physical pain except while I was giving birth. I was extremely relaxed, whereas beforehand I had been scared to death. It is indeed very odd to explain, I was there, but out of my body at the same time. My soul was separated from my body. I was conscious while I was outside of myself.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Relief or calmness
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? Moderate
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 Our body is separate from our soul. Both are united while we are alive, but our soul separates; gets detached from our body.
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 I believe I am sensitive. I feel things but do not exactly know what. I have dreams that I believe in, I think I have some ‘relationships’ with my beloved deceased ones. But maybe no more than anybody else does.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? I think I became fully aware that you can be alive now and then the next moment you can be gone from your body. I am certain now that our soul is separate from our body, which is only a flesh shell. I also believe we can live several lifetimes.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes With my husband immediately after delivery, but it did not affect him. Then again, about 24 years later, with women the same age as me (around fifty, you become more ‘reasonable’, you see things differently). Wisdom is probably coming!
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 am a wise, grounded type of person but I did not know how to qualify what I had experienced. I was never on drugs. I do not smoke cigarettes and was never a drinker. I am of average intelligence, but I know, even though I was young back then, that I had experienced something true and very real, albeit confusing. I told to myself that I might have been given a tranquilizer, which put me in such a state, but I actually had not been given anything and what I had felt was indeed real. It was not a dream and it was not my imagination either. I knew I was the same person even while I was feeling ‘different’. I am now conscious that life is very fragile.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real As above.
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? Nothing I experienced at that time seemed unreal to me. It scared me, because I related it to my giving birth. I never shared the experience with any doctor; I felt afraid of looking stupid. I was young and inexperienced then. I lived in Africa; I was on my own with no family members other than my husband and my baby. I thought that if I shared this experience with anyone, I might be considered a nut!