Clio P's NDE
My NDE occurred in the mid-fifties in a maternity hospital in California during the delivery of my third child. This was a "natural" childbirth with no anesthesia -- not even an aspirin. I was well into the final phases of the delivery when my feet started going numb. Then the numbness started progressing up my legs. I told the doctor and I heard her say it was a "calcium deficiency coma." She ordered an IV drip that a nurse administered into my right arm. By this time my entire body was numb. I'm normally terrified of needles, but didn't even feel the IV needle.
Suddenly I found my mind floating outside of my body. It stopped just above and behind the nurse on my right. I could see the back of the nurse and beyond her the delivery table and other hospital personnel gathered around the table. I remember seeing the back of the cap the nurse wore that covered her hair -- like a shower cap -- and the ties on the back of her gown. It was interesting that the nurse blocked my view of the face of the body on the delivery table. I was not the least bit afraid; in fact, I was absolutely intrigued by the experience as it unfolded. I had no sense of time, so I have no idea how much time elapsed when the scene before me started to go black. It was like the old TV picture tubes from many years ago: When you turned the TV off, the picture contracted to a little dot of extremely bright light in the middle of the black screen before it went completely dark.
When the blackness folded into that little brilliant dot of light, I heard someone calling me very clearly by my first name. Other than that voice there was total silence. I do not know if the voice was masculine or feminine, but it was a comforting voice with a strange, echoing, hollow sound -- like it was coming from very far away. I remember that I was surprised to hear my given name. (In those days hospital staffers always called maternity patients by their married name -- Mrs. "Whatever.") I felt as if I were floating further away, but was being pulled back or called back. In an instant, I was back into my body on the delivery table and the numbness was completely gone. A short time later, I delivered a lovely little girl.
At the time, I thought it might have been the nurse who called my name. Perhaps the standard hospital procedure is to use a person's given name when someone is slipping into unconsciousness. The given name is the name that is most familiar to the patient as opposed to the married name. I never mentioned the experience to anyone until very recently. But I have always remembered it and found it to be very fascinating. I cannot help but wonder if I would have come back if the bright white dot of light had disappeared. I tried to analyze the experience and have decided that this may be (1) the way the human body copes with extreme pain, (2) the halfway point between consciousness and unconsciousness, or (3) that last moment between life and death. I have also wondered if others in similar situations see that same bright dot of light and describe it as a tunnel. I did not see it as a tunnel.
It was not until many, many years after the episode that I heard of NDE. I am not religious and do not believe there is life after death. I think my NDE was a very interesting and unusual phenomenon. It did not have a significant impact on my life, but it does reinforce my belief that the human body and mind are truly remarkable.
Any associated medications or substances with the potential to affect the experience: Yes
Explanation: I had just been given an IV to treat calcium deficiency. I do not know what the substance was.
Was the experience difficult to express in words? No
At the time of the experience, was there an associated life threatening event? Yes
What was your level of consciousness and alertness during the experience? I was very alert before and during the OBE. There was a perceived momentary lapse of
consciousness when my mind left my body and when it returned to my body.
Was the experience dream like in any way? Absolutely not.
Did you experience a separation of consciousness from your body? Yes
Describe your appearance or form apart from your body: I had no form. It was my mind that left my body. And my mind definitely left my body.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Curiosity, interest, surprise.
Did you hear any unusual sounds or noises? Only the voice that called my name.
Did you pass into or through a tunnel or enclosure? Uncertain
Describe: I was close to the bright dot in the blackness, but don't remember passing through it. It didn't appear to me as a tunnel or an enclosure.
Did you see a light? Yes
Describe: The light was like the extremely bright spot on an old TV picture tube immediately after the TV was turned off. That moment before the picture tube went completely dark.
Did you meet or see any other beings? No
Did you experience a review of past events in your life? No
Did you observe or hear anything regarding people or events during your experience that could be verified later? Yes
Describe: I could have verified that it was the nurse who called my name, but I did not do this. I could have inquired about the IV medication, but I did not do this.
Did you see or visit any beautiful or otherwise distinctive locations, levels or dimensions? No
Did you have any sense of altered space or time? No
Did you have a sense of knowing special knowledge, universal order and/or purpose? No
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? No
Did you become aware of future events? No
Were you involved in or aware of a decision to return to the body? Uncertain
Describe: I was aware that I was being called back. I remember being surprised.
Did you have any psychic, paranormal or other special gifts following the experience you did not have prior to the experience? Yes
Describe: I have the ability to induce an OBE whenever I have pain or can't fall asleep. I close my eyes and relax my body as completely as possible. I focus my mind on that same spot above and to the right of my body. It doesn't always work, but if I am able to completely relax and totally concentrate, I feel my mind detaching from my body. When my mind is out of my body, the tension leaves my body and the pain is eliminated and/or I can relax enough to go to sleep.
Did you have any changes of attitudes or beliefs following the experience? No
Has the experience affected your relationships? Daily life? Religious practices etc.? Career choices? No affect.
Have you shared this experience with others? Yes
Describe: I shared the experience only with a close friend who I knew would understand. Doubt if she was influenced in any way by the exerience. But I know she believed me and my evaluation of the episode.
What emotions did you experience following your experience? Curiosity.
What was the best and worst part of your experience? Best part was finding out how amazing the mind and body are. Worst part was that I almost died.
Is there anything else you would like to add concerning the experience? No.
Has your life changed specifically as a result of your experience? Yes
Describe: See answer to 20 above.
Following the experience, have you had any other events in your life, medications or substances which reproduced any part of the experience? Yes
Describe: See answer 20 above.
Did the questions asked and information you provided accurately and comprehensively describe your experience? Yes
Please offer any suggestions you have to improve the www.nderf.org questionnaire? In general, a well designed list of questions. Some questions seem to overlap.