A Near-Death-Experience

I discovered that giving birth and dying are not that different and life and death are not as far apart as I had once presumed.


Exactly three years ago, I finally became cognizant of how thin the line between life and death really is when I nearly lost one of my daughters as she struggled to give birth. During labour, she almost bled out when she lost a litre of blood in mere seconds after an emergency C-section, the result of a series of unforeseen complications, a one-in-ten-thousand chance.

Maternity Hospital Copes With Overpopulation in Manila


Life is Precarious

Of course, in a large teaching hospital with an excellent Maternity Ward, an emergency team of no less than ten people descended on her in the recovery room, whipped off the sheets and even her nightgown. She was left naked with doors and curtains around her bed left wide open on a public corridor. Life comes before propriety. No one stops to close a door when a life is at stake.

An hour later, I gazed down at my daughter’s limp form, as a tear trickled down her pale face. She whispered, “I felt myself slipping away.” The veil separating life from death is thin, indeed. My daughter knew she was dying. Years ago she would have died. Even today, in the third world, she would have most certainly died. She was so weak after this near-death experience that her husband had to carry her to the washroom, and the nurse supported her new son’s weight as he nursed.

Life is precarious. Life is fragile.

The process of birthing is similar to the process of dying because in both cases, a person must give up control completely and allow a force of nature stronger than themselves take over. I admit, every time I gave birth, there was a moment of panic, terror really, during the transition period when I had to completely surrender even though I was in excruciating pain. Giving birth and dying are not that different.

Life and death are not as far apart as I had once presumed.


10 thoughts on “A Near-Death-Experience

  1. This post brought it all back for me, though it’s been eleven years. Truly, it was as if I was reading my own story. Our lives were changed in so many ways that night, not the least of which was a new perspective: from now on no matter what happens, as long as we’re still breathing, we’ll be okay. I hope your daughter is experiencing the same fade I did, as the aftershocks dissipate over time. Life is indeed so precious and, I agree, in the ways you mentioned, life and death are not all that different.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing this. I am very glad to hear that both folks directly involved survived, and are doing well.

    Our youngest child was doing fine, by all indications, until very shortly before birth. We later learned that a catastrophic failure in her attachment surface – I forget what it’s called – cut off her supply of nutrients during labor. More to the point, she also lost her oxygen supply.

    Happily, the failure happened in a spot that also formed a temporary patch, so my wife survived while being transferred from the rural hospital we were at to a better-equipped facility.

    Our daughter, of course, died within minutes of the failure; and was delivered many hours later.

    As you pointed out, folks in America generally have access to medical technology which is not available in many places.

    A century ago, we would have most likely lost both our daughter and my wife; no matter where we were.

    A century from now, maybe less, I strongly suspect that anomalies which we discovered after the fact would have been spotted and dealt with long before birth. We already screen for and deal with previously-inevitable prenatal health issues.

    The point of this ramble is that I agree. Life is precious. Death is always at hand. Gratitude for each moment, and for the hope that death is not an end, makes sense.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This brought tears to my eyes. I am thankful that your daughter and grandson are doing fine today. I think your daughter was touched by heaven in a special way because she was taken to heaven’s doorstep.

    Sometimes we have to die in order to live; sometimes even near-death is enough to live life better, differently.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Milagros Likens

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s