Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Softly Enfolded

I was driving home into the sun like normal and the traffic was ugly as usual but I was someplace else the entire drive.  A memory struck me and took me back to a single moment in time.  I don’t know why it was that I should be pulled out of my present day reality and taken to this one particular point in my past.  Well, except maybe there is a familiar feeling that has come over me lately and it resonates with that one memory.  It isn’t all that pleasant recalling the details of what lead up to that one moment in time.  It was just a tough moment in life all-together for me due to, of course, my own choices in life but everything did eventually turn out alright.  

I was 8 months pregnant and on my own.  My two oldest children were with their father and I was alone that summer.  It was the way I wanted it for reasons I could recall that resonated deep within me but won’t belabor here.  I missed my daughter and son terribly and spent way too much time trying to figure out how in the world I was going to support 3 children on one income in Orange County, California – which is not the least expensive place in the world to live.  But I knew some how I’d get through it.  I had spent the whole day alone, writing and gazing out the window at the sunlight playing on the leaves as the warm summer breezes blew in off the coast.  I felt then something wasn’t quite right.  It was in the way I was noticing the beauty on a hot and dreadful day in July.  But I let it go.
I went to sleep that night easily if even uncomfortably and was awakened by a very strong contraction not more than an hour later.  I somehow managed to get myself back to sleep when I was awakened by another and then another.   I called the baby’s dad and there was no answer.  The contractions were getting very close together and very strong.  I called my best friend who lived 40 miles away but who said she’d be there for me if I needed her and I REALLY needed her.  I told her to meet me at the hospital because I didn’t think I could wait for her to get here.  The contractions had been quite regular for several hours by this time.  I grabbed my purse and my car keys wondering if this was the worst idea in this moment I could have but having no spare cash for a cab and having no one close by family wise to call, I drove myself to the hospital.  Thankfully, it wasn’t very far and when I felt a contraction, I pulled over until it passed and then continued on to the hospital.  It was somewhere around 2:00 am.
When I arrived at the hospital I experienced the normal hustle bustle of the maternity ward.  Insurance information was given in between contractions and they brought me to a room and hooked me up to every wire in God’s creation, it seemed.   I was scared being there alone but knew that soon I wouldn’t be.  This sense of something not being right wouldn’t leave me but I put that aside when the doctor came in.  He advised that I was in pre-term labor and they really needed to try to stop it.  He said they were going to give me some Terbutaline and that it should stop the contractions and with a little bed rest, we could prevent delivery for a few more weeks.  I agreed  and then at about the time, my best friend arrived.  I was so happy to see her and feeling so blessed someone was there.  The nurse came in and gave me the injection and then in moments I learned why the bad feeling had come over me earlier.
I could feel the medication enter my system and immediately felt hot like we were standing in the midday sun in the middle of the Mojave Desert in August.  A few minutes more and I looked at my best friend and said I didn’t feel right and I remember everything going black  and silent like I was passing out, only I never lost consciousness.  Interestingly, all I saw was black and I knew I was no longer in the hospital room or anywhere near the hospital.  I immediately  knew I was somewhere else and that I did not have a body at all.  I was in a state of pure consciousness.  There was no light and there was no sound but I was aware and conscious wondering what had happened but not particularly troubled by it at all.  Suddenly a light seemed to play before my eyes and I began to hear an energy presence but it never spoke to me and only observed me.  In the light before me the themes of my life played one right after another in rapid succession and I re-experienced every emotion that went with every scene as if it were happening for the first time.  Although I had no real sense of time, by my thoughts it felt like 30 minutes to an hour had passed.   When the scenes stopped playing before me a ‘voice’ or presence spoke that I did not hear but rather felt that asked me, “Are you ready?”  I had this sense about me of “Well, now what?  I don’t have a body, I’m here in the dark, I’m so done with the path I was on so sure, I’m ready.”  But, I didn’t understand what that meant.  The voice asked me one more time, “Are you sure?”  Just then two little faces appeared before me, my 9 year old daughter, my 3-1/2 year old son and the unborn child in my body that was somewhere.  Up until that moment I had been completely at peace, no ego, no worries, no cares, just curiosity about where I was and what might come next.  I was ready to leave the pain of the world behind me and move on until I saw their faces and remembered the promise I made to each of them, “I will be there for you.”  I felt so much love in that instant that it overwhelmed me completely  and I was suddenly pulled back into my body, back into the noisy hospital room with blips and loud voices and back into a very uncomfortable body that felt so strange.  I wanted to hold my children all of them and at the same time, I wanted to go back to the peace and the quiet of the dark place I had just been.
When they stabilized me and took me to a private room for the night and all the nurses and my friend and baby’s dad who showed up sometime either just before or just after the code blue left, I was completely alone again.  I struggled so much with my thoughts about what had happened.  I didn’t know at the time that my heart had stopped.   I only knew that something knocked me out of my body and I was some place in between here and elsewhere trying to decide if I was returning home in the next world or coming back to this one.  I cried the whole night overwhelmed with emotion, frustration, a sense of missed opportunity and also an incredible amount of pure gratitude that I was going to get to deliver my promise to my children. 

That feeling returned to me today along with the memory.  That feeling of being softly enfolded in love and warmth, that feeling of pure peace, beautiful bliss and the complete joy  and gratitude…all of these feelings have been so much a part of every day for me lately.  Like then, I’m not really sure what’s happening but it feels good, damn good and it’s about time too.  I’ve had a long string of lessons and I swear it feels like I’ve descended into the darkness of hell for about 7-10 years and have only now returned to the light.  So much of who I have been has been left behind me in my travels and yet, at the same time, there is so much of who I really am that I have finally and ultimately recovered.  It's funny, as I sit here writing this right now, that very same presence that was with me that night is here.  I can hear it and feel it in this moment.  My thoughts are in need of trailing off for now to bask in this feeling of pure bliss and joy and experience the fullness of whatever it is that needs feeling just now.  Be blessed dear ones and know that everything happens for a reason.  There truly are no coincidences, mistakes or accidents in this world.

(c) 2012 Jaie Hart (Photo is a random internet find)

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