When I started to hemorrhage and pass out, The Husband
The maternity wing was packed that day, so I was saddled with a room mate. My room-mate's 12 year old son just happened to be visiting with his mother at the time so he had a front row seat to the Jen sprawled out and bleeding to death on the floor show. While I was passing in and out of awareness, one of the things I kept hearing, was the frightened shrieks of that poor kid. "Mom! What's wrong with that lady?" "Is she dead?" "Is that lady dead?" "Did she die?"
Dead. Dead. Dead. When I was still in my body, that's the word that was stuck on repeat in my ears. As I mentioned before, I was in a fair amount of pain. In addition to giving birth, my doctor had just put my insides through hell and I was rapidly bleeding to death. Slowly, I felt myself floating up and outside my body.
Unlike a lot of other people, my life did not flash before my eyes. I did not get pulled into or go through a tunnel. But I can say this, I was immediately relieved of all my pain. I felt nothing but happiness and pure bliss. I was warm and comforted and felt an indescribable love, like I had never experienced before. (And haven't since) I also knew, I was not alone.
I really want to take the time to mention that I was not afraid throughout this entire experience. It is so hard to describe the indescribable, it is one of the reasons why I rarely recount this story. My words are sorely inadequate to describe such an amazing, life-changing experience.
In any event, I knew I was not alone. And I knew immediately it was my Grandmother who was there with me. I smelled her. I felt her essence (for lack of better word) near me. I did not see her, but I was absolutely certain it was her. My grandma and I had always been super close; her passing was a huge blow to me. I reached out to her and again, I felt nothing but pure, unadulterated joy. Just when I thought my heart would burst from all of the joy filling it, I felt another presence. My grandmother slipped into the background. Or maybe she was still there, all I know is that this other presence overshadowed and encompassed every single part of me and everything else around us. The love that overflowed from Him is nothing this world has to compare to or offer, ever. I don't really care what category in which your spiritual beliefs fall, I will not argue or fight with anyone about their beliefs, ever. All I can tell you is my own personal experience and I believe this was my Savior, coming to take me home. Call me crazy. Call me delusional. It does not matter. My faith in Him is as deeply ingrained in my body as my spine; there is simply no separating the two.
Believe it or not, as much as I love my family and my children, I would not have hesitated to go with Him. Not even for a second. I would have followed Him no matter where it was He was going. But when I tried, He smiled at me. It was a half-smile and a little forlorn, but no less radiant. Slowly, He shook His head. He backed away from me and when He finally turned, all of the magnificent light, warmth and love He was radiating, left me. I knew (without words) He was telling me I couldn't go yet. And I began to sob. A deep, deep, gut-wrenching, sob that came straight from the depths of my soul. To this day, I shudder when I think upon the absence of that warmth. It still stings.
When I opened my eyes the overwhelming cold and blinding pain hit me so hard it was like I ran full speed, face first, into a brick wall. The lights in the room did not warm me from within. Instead, they actually stung my eyes. I was hooked up to all kinds of machines and I was shivering uncontrollably despite the pile of hot blankets the doctor and nurses were throwing on me. My head was itchy and my hair felt all sticky. Tentatively, I reached my hand up to touch the back of my head. I was shocked to see my hand come away covered in blood. That's a testament to how much I bled; it had covered my entire back and reached all the way up to the back of my head.
A different doctor than who had delivered my daughter stood over me. I blinked my eyes a couple of times, trying to adjust to the harsh light and focus on him. He said, "Whoa, I thought we lost you there for a minute."
My voice came out weak, more like a dry whisper, when I replied, "You did." And I meant it.
I hate to admit it, but for a second, I sort of resented the doctor who just saved my life. I know that sounds awful but I blamed him for tearing me out of the peace of His presence. I had no desire to be away from that love and stuck back here, filled with pain. And then I saw my husband.
My husband is a former Marine and a cop. He has come upon countless scenes of blood, gore and guts. Plus, he's half Sicilian and part Cherokee. Never in my life had I seen him look so pale, shaken and white. It snapped me back to myself and all of my loves and responsibilities here. I asked if I could hold Franchesca, (my new baby) and begged everyone not to breathe a word of this to my mother. She would totally freak out and I did not want to frighten her. It was enough of a shock when she did bring the girls round to see me I was virtually unrecognizable. (I will spare you the pictures...)
Technically, I was only gone for a few seconds. I've heard other accounts and have spoken to people who were gone a whole lot longer than me. Some have stories so beautiful they could make grown men fall to their knees and weep. Others recount absolutely terrifying tales the exact opposite of what I experienced. So, what did I take away from my NDE? Only that I want to live a life based on that indescribable love I experienced. I'd like to think I came back with a much more compassionate heart and a strong desire to love all people. I try to model my behavior after one of my favorite verses in the Bible. 1Peter 4:8 Above all, love one another...
Am I perfect? HECK NO. If you are a regular follower of my blog, you are well aware of how imperfect I am. You would also know that I rarely post about my faith. But I wanted to end this particular post by putting this out there: I will always be here, ready and willing to share more about it, with anyone who should ask.
*If you'd like to read much more compelling stories of near death experiences: Life After Life, by Dr. Raymond Moody, (which was originally published back in the 70's) in my opinion, is still one of the best, most-straight forward books on NDE's available.