“What does heaven look like?” is a question I often get when I am speaking in front of a crowd.
My answer? “I know what my heaven looks like, but I can’t prove it.”
I died when giving birth to our son two years ago. I had an amniotic fluid embolism at the time of delivery and flatlined for 37 seconds. I saw what would happen before I died, and I had an “out of body” experience after I died and during my six-day medically induced coma — but to tell you I met Jesus or drove around heaven would be something I could not say with 100 percent conviction.
The book I wrote, called 37 Seconds, is limited to the information I could verify. I could tell you what heaven looks like, but I cannot ascertain whether it was part of my imagination or my ultimate desire for my perfect heaven.
Prior to the incident, I had six very detailed premonitions of what would happen to me the day I gave birth — ones that had many witnesses, doctors, tests, Facebook postings (with time stamps) and “good-bye letters” I wrote, telling everyone what would happen to me the day I went into labor. Months before it happened, everyone thought I was crazy, including my agnostic, University of Chicago, Ph.D. economist, husband Jonathan.
In their defense, all of the test results were negative, but something was telling me all of these visions would be accurate. When I went into labor, all of it happened the way I said it would — leaving the doctors, my husband and everyone who heard what would seem to be just hormonal hysteria in disbelief.
Medical science saved my life. No question. But, if you ask the doctors, they would say: “She survived because she was in a great institution with a great team of doctors and we were prepared — but, she prepared us.” I played a big part in my survival.
How could I have possibly known? And what would I do if I received more premonitions? Could it have been messages from G-d? I needed answers.
The therapists and doctors who were helping with my recovery could not begin to answer those questions. The only reason they could come up with as to how I knew this was “a self-fulfilling prophecy?” I knew that it wasn’t it, and they admitted they didn’t believe that as well because that would mean they were a little more spiritual than they cared to admit. They could not begin to approach my story from a metaphysical angle — they needed to be rooted in science.
My husband really wanted the science as well. He never said he didn’t believe in G-d, but he also didn’t say he was a true believer. He likes quoting Sherlock Holmes: “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” It doesn’t sit well for an agnostic to leave the improbable spiritual component as the truth. So, I promised him if there was a way to prove it was not probable, that divine intervention had nothing to do with this entire story, then I will set out to prove it is so. He promised, if we could not find that scientific component, he would concede to the good chap, Dr. Holmes.
I finally found a regression therapist who would use hypnotherapy to take me back into those moments of the flatline. Maybe then and there I would be able to see the entire picture and be able to move forward in my life. I wasn’t really sure what I was getting myself into — but how bad could it be? I already survived the worst part, or at least that’s what I thought.
I began therapy and videotaped the sessions, as I had never been hypnotized before and wanted to remember the details. I just never expected what would actually be revealed.
I not only saw what happened around the operating room after I flatlined, I felt it. You could see my body seize and collapse and thrash around on the videotape. I talked about where the doctors were standing, who gave me CPR and massive needles being jabbed into my arm filled with a crystal-looking medication. I saw my anesthesiologist by my feet and my OB-GYN saying, “This can’t be happening.” I saw what my daughter was doing down the hall and what she was playing with at the time. I saw our beautiful baby boy, Jacob, and he was healthy and fine.
Then I saw something that literally took my breath away.
I knew family would be around, and I knew I would get support in every way to help care for me and my family. I just didn’t expect it to come from two of the most significant people in my life. During one of my regression sessions, I saw them very clearly, standing in the operating room by my side. I didn’t notice them at all during my catastrophe, but maybe that is because no one would have been able to see them clearly under the circumstance. They had been dead for more than 20 years. Could that even be possible?
I needed to deal with what I could prove first.
Jonathan took a gander at the tapes and said, “Maybe this is a recalled episode of Grey’s Anatomy?” I thought, fair point. Maybe I replaced random thoughts of what happened in TV shows with my situation. I knew there was a way to verify this. I would give the tapes to those who were present at the time. (Here, you will find a clip of the first-ever airing of a small piece of my regression footage from WGN Chicago. People tell me it is unlike anything they have ever seen).
Their faces told me everything. With tears in their eyes and in disbelief, they said: “It is extremely accurate.”
My husband was silent for the first time.
Tackling the spirits who were present was a different beast altogether. I had more than 30 hours of regression sessions and each time I came away with knowing not just what was happening in those moments of disaster, but messages to bring back to loved ones and even those I did not know. And that I could prove by relaying those messages. Jonathan was willing to concede. The heavenly aspect of my 37 seconds is much more detailed in the book.
I have seen my heaven, with many souls and warm feelings when I arrived. I brought back many memories of those moments, but the most important message I received was that we do not need to worry about those who pass. The souls are always there, always around and always there to help. You just need to open your eyes and believe it is real — which, I ultimately could prove.
I am much more of a spiritual being since witnessing this miracle. And I am happy to say, so is my husband.
In the end, I learned who ultimately sent me all of those visions. After all of the research and empirical data collected, I discovered that the improbable option was the only answer and it is our truth.
A portion of the proceeds for 37 Seconds will go to help fund research and education for AFE research.