Stephanie Arnold had premonitions that she would die while giving birth to her second child and she did die - for 37 seconds. But her visions proved to be a blessing because the doctors were prepared for what came.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on December 13, 2019. It has since been updated.
Stephanie Arnold of Chicago always felt that there was someone watching over her but she tried to keep this part of herself hidden from others. She worried that people would think of her as crazy. "Maybe it was G-d, Maybe it was in my head, Maybe people would think I was a freak," she thought.
"Stephanie, just don’t question it. Suppress, suppress, suppress," she wrote in a post. She was always receiving signs like a "nagging feeling" which felt "supernatural." So, it wasn't surprising to her when she was getting premonitions that she would die during childbirth.
She was pregnant with her second child when the visions began. She had a bad feeling when her radiologist told her that she has placenta previa. "I have no idea what that is, but I have a bad feeling," she told her husband, Jonathan, an Air Force pilot with a PhD in economics. "We'll deal with a crisis in a crisis. For now, you're being crazy," said he, according to GoodHouseKeeping.
She started seeing visions of blood running, that she would have to have a hysterectomy, and she would die. All of which came true. She felt that her death would be because of a condition she doesn't know about. While people didn't believe her she pressed for tests to check if she was at risk for anything. Every result told her she was going to be okay.
Medical professionals, her husband, and even her friends tried to assure Stephanie but she was certain that something would go wrong when she goes in for her delivery, according to WGNTV. "In the past, I've had a strong sense of intuition, but I'd never have claimed to see the future. This was the first time I'd had an overwhelming sense of foreboding. And it was strong. I didn't feel insane — but everybody else thought I was," she told GoodHouseKeeping.
She was so sure she would die that she began writing farewell letters for her siblings, her husband, her stepdaughter Valentina, and daughter Adina. "I even mailed some. I bought nothing for the baby or his room. I didn't take pictures of my pregnant stomach. I was so sure I was going to pass away that I just detached and disconnected," said the mom-of-three.
Only one doctor, Dr. Grace Lim, whom Stephanie met for an anesthesia consultation, chose to listen to her when she expressed her concern. She ensured there was extra blood ready if anything happened and this planning saved Stephanie. Because something did happen on May 30, 2013. She started bleeding when she was at home and was taken to the hospital.
Before going into the operating room for a C-section, she hugged her two-year-old daughter and showed her a happy and brave face. "I didn't want her last memory of her mother to be crying. I smiled and said, 'You're going to meet your brother Jacob soon and I love you.'"
Stephanie flatlined for 37 seconds after Jacob was delivered. She had a seizure and was later told that what happened to her was due to an extremely rare condition that happens to .01% births but has a 60% mortality rate. She died for 37 seconds as she suffered from an amniotic fluid embolism (AFE).
If the extra blood wasn't ready, she wouldn't have made it.
When she woke up six days later, Stephanie was told that her organs had collapsed, she had gone into a cardiac arrest, and also that they had to perform a hysterectomy as she was hemorrhaging. Initially, she didn't hold her son as she felt that he would sense her fear.
Since then, she's had another child, and this mother still believes in her strong premonitions, which saved her life.