Approximately 30 minutes following the birth of my second child, I noticed that I had intense pain in my abdomen.
I was bleeding more than I thought I should be and I was also feeling light-headed. I told myself not to panic. I breathed slowly in and out, believing I was starting to get worked up which was driving my light-headedness. My midwife suggested I try to go to the toilet to help relieve the pain. She and my husband helped me walk over there, all the while I was clutching my newborn. I felt worse on standing, and told myself I would feel better once I sat down. I didn't. I couldn't urinate and I felt worse. The midwife tested my blood pressure - I noticed my systolic blood pressure was around 74 - quite low.
I knew then my symptoms were real. She immediately shot oxytocin into my left thigh. I didn't feel it. My legs were numb, I was losing my sight, my hearing was disturbed and my husband was telling me to breathe (apparently I was breathing like I had a straw for an airway).
Not long after, I was pulled deep into myself and started travelling up, up up, as if I was riding an elevator. I thought to myself, "Oh, here we go" (just like I knew where I was going). The elevator stopped and I came to a window. Through the window, three figures were positioned around a table. As the figures became clearer I identified who they were - my mum's mother, my mum's father, and 'God'. I put God in quotes because at the time I didn't believe in God. I still don't believe that God is a person-figure in the sky. I believe God is the energy of love, so I'm still to this day a little confused that I saw God this way. My grandmother died when I was 8 and she looked exactly the same as I remembered her. My grandfather died many years before I was born, but I knew for absolute certainty it was him.
I realised they were having a meeting. I thought, "Hmm, God is only a little bigger than my grandfather." (I'm not sure what the significance of this thought was.) My grandmother was sitting relaxed, with her presence radiating a feeling that everything was alright. My grandfather was standing and was somewhat a little more agitated. Something was important to him and it was as if he was advising 'God'. 'God' was smiling and calm. They didn't acknowledge me and I don't know exactly what they were meeting about.
I don't recall what happened next very clearly - I know that I can not remember all of the experience - its almost as if my human mind can't process it. I do remember a feeling of an understanding of myself and others. And I recall telling myself, "Okay, I'll do that." This was a decision of some sort - whether this was related to changing my life path or to come back to my body, I'm not sure. As soon as that decision was made, I plummeted back to my body and my consciousness was back in the room at the birthing unit.
I was never clinically dead, just seriously unwell. My midwife said at one point my blood pressure was 60/30 - I think this was probably the likely moment that my experience occured but I'm not sure. For the remainder of the ordeal I was very aware of what was going on in the room. Apparently, it appeared to my midwife that I was coming in and out of consciousness, but I never experienced this at all - I felt I was conscious the whole time, just sometimes I was seeing the room, and other times I was deep in myself. When she described this to me days later, I was shocked. "I was conscious the whole time," I said to her. She shook her head, "No you weren't." In that moment, I realised I was conscious to me, but from her perspective I wasn't - she was looking at a lifeless body. I also realised that my experience of seeing my grandparents was a moment where I had crossed 'planes' or whatever you call it. (Up until that point, I hadn't even given it a second thought - it just felt so normal).
My entire perception of consciousness changed immediately within that conversation with my midwife. I suddenly had a thirst to know more. What is consciousness?? What had I experienced? Was it similar to other experiencers? Where had I gone? Where could I have been taken? Why did this happen, and what did it mean? This became a bit of an obsession, and I know I distanced myself even further from my husband. When I wasn't looking after the children, I was researching on my phone or on the computer, ignoring him.
A lot has happened since then and the questions aren't all answered, but I am more accepting about not knowing it all. Yesterday I wrote this about my journey since the experience: I realised one day, as I sat alone in the house, while the world sat still outside, that it wasn't the darkness I was afraid of. It was the lightness of joy that scared me. I didn't know it could exist - I had never believed in it. But here it was, awakening me. Once again, I was afraid of the unknown. Darkness had been a comforting warmth, shielding the outdoor air. Lightness was fresh and clean, destabilising and shaking my ground, a wide space with no boundaries or borders. Panic had set in when I didn't know where I could place my feet.
Gently, gently they push me forwards, asking me not to return to my comforting house, whispering encouragement into the breeze that blew me lightly forwards. I spread outwards and upwards, while moving forwards, breathing deeply while accepting the uncertainty. I didn't know what the light looked like, but I could sense the dark wasn't going to take me back anyway. I was too big, I would no longer fit. Down there they expect definitive shapes, sharp lines, distinction from one to another. I was now a light floaty shapeless border-free entity. Where would I belong now? My lines had gone, and I didn't desire to look for them. My time was precious and there was work to do in the light. As the light gravity force pulled me, the darkness was getting further and further away.
While I travelled, the pain of the past washed over me, sometimes receding back to wash over once more, but it never stayed. A few remnants, sure, but it didn't drown me. I knew I had to accept them to allow me to continue moving forwards. I was never going to let it all go. So while in the light, I accept my work, no matter what it may be, making no judgements or expectations, accepting that one day I will understand it all. There are moments in life where you see all the experiences add up and equal to where you are now - even if you couldn't see it at the time. So I take what comes and know I'll do the math later.