I was floating above the operating table, watching/listening to the staff. Two physicians were arguing about how to extract the baby who had become stuck in the birth canal. I felt calm, rested, and removed from the panic below. I watched them rush the baby out of the operating room and I followed above the baby the short way to the special care nursery where she started to cry. I knew she would live and floated a bit before I felt drawn backwards and down to my body again. Then followed a difficult time. I tried to breathe and my body did not respond. I tried to call for help but could make no sound. Later it was explained to me that the paralytic component of the general anesthetic was still in effect (I was intubated) but I had regained consciousness and could hear those around me.
Date NDE Occurred: 'April 14, 1979'
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Childbirth 'Life threatening event, but not clinical death'
Emergency ceasarian for undiagnosed breech birth after 18 hours of labor. The doctor severed a major vein. I almost bled to death.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Neither pleasant NOR distressing
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes The experience unnerved me, more so since my own physician told me that it could not have happened and my brain was playing tricks on me. A few days later a resident sat with me and listened. He had been in the operating room and said that the events I described were accurate. He said he could not explain how I 'witnessed' events. Apparently, the doctors did argue about how to free the baby from the birth canal and were angry that there was no blood for transfusion because a blood match had not been done. He was very kind. When I returned home, the later events (not being able to breathe/talk) prayed on my mind. My Doctor sent me to a psychiatrist for postpartum-depression. The psychiatrist got my medical records and told me that there had been problems with the anesthetic and the distressing return to my body was real.
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? More consciousness and alertness than normal I was completely present; no past, no future.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? During my floating out of the operating room and down the hallway. All was sharp and clear.
Were your thoughts speeded up? No
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? No
Were your senses more vivid than usual? More vivid than usual
Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. My vision seemed to be 360 degrees (not front, back or side but all).
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. Hearing was acute. I felt like I could hear what each person was saying even though they were speaking at the same time and two people were shouting.
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? No
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? No
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? No
Did you see an unearthly light? No
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
What emotions did you feel during the experience? During the out of body part I was calm, detached, and compassionate, puzzled and felt very loved.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Relief or calmness
Did you have a feeling of joy? Happiness
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 myself or others Not 'understand' in terms of having reasons for everything but 'understand' in terms of experiencing everything as part of a whole.
Did scenes from your past come back to you? No
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
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 I was pulled back. I don't think it was my conscious decision
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Slightly important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Christian- Protestant traditional, went through the motions
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I think it helped me loosen my tight hold on pure reason and take a broader view of life. I also think that experience provided a base for my later development of meditation, chanting and spiritual practices.
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Christian- Protestant deeper with strong Buddhist undertones, meditation and chanting practice
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was entirely not consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience I did graduate degree in biology before social work and am a practical, pragmatic person. I did have problems later believing my own experience had been real. Thank goodness for that kindly resident.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Uncertain My certainty about believing only things backed up by hard scientific facts was eroded.
Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice? No
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? No
Did you encounter or become aware of any beings who previously lived on earth who are described by name in religions (for example: Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, etc.)? No
During your experience, did you gain information about premortal existence? No
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Uncertain sense of integration, of a 'whole', saw the parts assembled into one
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? God probably does not exist
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? No
Do you believe in the existence of God after your experience? God probably exists
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? No
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are probably meaningful and significant
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? No
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? An afterlife does not exist
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife probably exists No
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I greatly feared death
Do you fear death after your experience? I do not fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Moderately fearful in living my earthly life
Were you fearful living your life after your experience? Not fearful in living my earthly life
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant after your experience? Are meaningful and significant
Did you gain information about how to live our lives? No
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? No
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Slightly compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes felt loved and an essential part of the whole
Were you compassionate after your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Large changes in my life Having an experience that, at the time, I thought was impossible opened my mind and heart to many things.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Uncertain Uncertain
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes
How accurately do you remember the experience in comparison to other life events that occurred around the time of the experience? I remember the experience more accurately than other life events that occurred around the time of the experience I can still summon up the lightness, the floating sensation, being able to will motion without moving a muscle and the feeling of watching myself while outside myself
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? No
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? Having that one person in the hospital who accepted the possibility that my experience was real was very important to me. Since then I have consciously listened carefully to others who share experiences that are out of the ordinary.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes As I related above, all hospital staff (and my husband) did their best to convince me I had been hallucinating except that one resident and later the psychiatrist. Since I left that hospital, I have only shared this experience 5 or 6 times over the years, with close friends.
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 knew it was real even as I thought it was impossible. It was so clear, focused and vibrant.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real I feel fortunate to have seen a little bit of a greater reality outside myself. I can still summon up the lightness, the floating sensation, being able to will motion without moving a muscle and the feeling of watching myself while outside myself.
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 felt a sense of integration, of a 'whole', and saw the parts assembled into one. I felt loved and an essential part of the whole.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? No, but I do appreciate the opportunity to talk about it to those with open minds.
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