My friend and I met as school teachers at the same school, several years ago. She was pregnant when we met, and she chose me to be present at the birth of her child, because she was a single mother and afraid of being alone. It was a tremendous honor to be invited into the delivery room because, even though I have children of my own, it was a fascinating opportunity to see a birth without experiencing the pain myself! My friend delivered a baby boy named Michael, and it was an incredible experience. I joked to her that I saw her son before she did! (I saw his head poking out before he was born and she didn't have a mirror to see for herself!) Tragically, my friend passed away suddenly, just months after her son was born. He has been raised by her parents ever since. The boy now goes to the school where his mother and I taught, and this year he is in my 4th Grade class. It is with a heavy heart that I teach him each day. I have never told him that I was there for his birth because I didn't want the other students to think that he had special treatment, and I didn't want to upset him with thoughts of his mother. Perhaps his grandparents told him that I was there, but I'm not sure. He does know, however, that his mom and I were friends. (This makes sense because he knows that she used to teach at our school.) Flash forward to last week, 9 and a half years after his birth and his mother's passing.
I was speaking with my class about our memories, for a poetry writing assignment. I asked them to think back to the earliest memories they have. Most students talked about Kindergarten, or perhaps day care, or vague memories of old toys, etc from when they were about 3-4 years old. Michael put up his hand and said that he remembers watching everyone from up in the sky, and being in his mother's belly before he was born. He said that when he was waiting to be born, he was invisible and he was in my GREY car with me on the way to the hospital while I listened to the song "Winter Spring Summer or Fall." (This is what he called the song. He likely doesn't know the real name, and he probably hasn't heard it since ... but it was "You've Got a Friend" by James Taylor. I used to have the cassette tape in that car!!!)à This is bizarre because I did drive a grey car at that time and I haven't had once for the past 7 years (2 years after he was born). I can't imagine he even knows that song from today's radio music. My heart started to beat like crazy. How the heck would he know that? Even his grandparents wouldn't know that and his mom wouldn't have known that before she died. Even if somehow she did, he was only three months old when she passed. How would she tell him? I certainly never told her what song was on in my car on the way to the hospital so I can't explain this!
Michael said that he remembers me stopping for gas and asking the attendant for directions to the hospital (TRUE). He said that he wanted me for his mommy because he liked my voice when I was speaking to the attendant. ( I did stop for gas and I was kind of lost going to a rural hospital, so I asked for directions). Then he said that he remembers that the parking lot was partially closed for construction, so I had to park on a corner and run to the hospital. By this point my jaw was almost on the floor and the whole class was starting at me. I had never even told the class (or Michael) that I was at his birth. The class must have thought this was one crazy story. Then Michael said the most incredible thing - He said that while his "real mom" was in labor, he asked God if I could be his mom because he knew that his "real mom" wouldn't survive very long, and he was afraid of being alone on Earth. Apparently he was told that he couldn't have me for his "real mom" but that everything would be OK and he would still get to be around me during his life.
Michael said that he kept begging for me to be his mother. He watched me go down the hallway from the birthing suite to the waiting lounge to make a phone call from a pay phone (true -- there was no cell signal in the hospital), and that while I was there I was very cold so I put on a sweater that someone else left on the waiting room chairs. By this point the hairs on the back of my neck were standing up. I hate to admit this, but I did find a nice warm cardigan in that waiting room and I put it on because I was so cold. I've never done anything like that before, but it was a small hospital and there were literally no other people in the labor ward and I waited to see if anyone would come to claim the sweater, and no one did. I was so cold! I put it on and ended up wearing it home (Shame on me, I know, I still feel guilty about that. I've felt so guilty that I never wore it again, especially because it reminds me of my friend who ended up passing away. Regardless, I have to mention it because I've never told anyone about taking someone else's sweater, and it's a huge part of this story!!!!
Michael concluded by saying that he watched me make the phone call and put on the other person's sweater, and that's the last thing he remembers. He was born about thirty minutes after I went to the lounge and made that phone call. Later, I privately said to Michael, "Yes, I was at your birth. How did you know all of that stuff?" His grandparents weren't at the birth and there was literally no way he would have known any of that. How could he make it up? He said that it's easy, he just had to think back to his earliest memories. He asked me why I don't remember being born, too and he said "It's OK, my life did turn out OK.. so don't worry about not being my mom".WOW.
I write this in all sincerity as my evidence that there must be some kind of heaven up there, if he could have memories of watching his birth and waiting to be born. I considered the idea that his mom speaks to him from the afterlife, and maybe she told him herself but how would she even know this information?
* Out of Body Research Foundation: Friend of Nicola E. shares her son Michael’s memory of his birth.