Episode 83: Stephanie Arnold, 37 Seconds: Dying Revealed Heaven's Help
In this episode, Karen speaks with author of 37 Seconds: Dying Revealed Heaven’s Help, Stephanie Arnold. In 2013, when Stephanie was pregnant with her second child, she began receiving mysterious but strong premonitions that she would die during delivery. Stephanie did everything that she could to inform physicians and her family about what she knew was coming; no one believed her. When Stephanie gave birth to her son, she flatlined and died on the operating table for 37 seconds.
Stephanie Arnold Bio
Stephanie is an award-winning, international best-selling author, inspirational speaker and thought leader on a mission to help others realize that connecting with our sixth sense can not only enhance our lives, but can very well save them.
Stephanie’s background and experiences allow her to connect with diverse audiences, whether through her book, speaking engagements, or media appearances. Prior to sharing her own story in her best-selling book, 37 Seconds, Stephanie enjoyed a decades-long career helping others share their stories as an Emmy-Nominated TV Producer. In her personal life, Stephanie is a wife and mother with a deep appreciation of her Latina-Jewish heritage.
With her story inspiring millions of people around the globe, Stephanie now dedicates her time to speaking and advocacy work, spreading awareness about positive doctor-patient communication, trauma recovery, and discovering meaning and purpose in our personal and professional lives.
Intro Voices 00:04
Where do I go? it only happened when I was singled out. The phone calls began about one month ago. And what is hazing? Something happened to me when I was suffering. I'm worried about my safety. He said he was sorry, Can someone help me? Where can I get help? Can someone help me. This is you matter a podcast for the NYU community developed by the Department of Campus Safety.
Karen Ortman 00:36
Hi, everyone, and welcome back to you matter, a podcast created to teach, inspire and motivate members of the NYU community who have been victimized in some form or fashion, and to identify resources both on and off campus that can help. I'm your host Karen Ortman, Associate Vice President of Campus Safety operations at the Department of Campus Safety, and a retired law enforcement professional. Today, I welcome Stephanie Arnold. Stephanie is the author of 37 seconds dying revealed heavens help. In 2013. When Stephanie was pregnant with her second child, she began receiving mysterious but strong premonitions that she would die during delivery. Stephanie did everything that she could to inform physicians and her family about what she knew was coming. No one believed her. When Stephanie gave birth to her son, she flatlined and died on the operating table for 37 seconds. Stephanie, welcome to you matter. Thank you so much for having me. Let's go back to 2013. You're pregnant with your second child?
Stephanie Arnold 01:46
I am, that was after round seven of IVF. But
Karen Ortman 01:50
Stephanie Arnold 01:51
I know. We were splitting our time between New York and Chicago. My husband was the chief economist for the New York Attorney General's office at the time. So midway through the pregnancy, I've been pregnant before I'd had a baby before I'm so about the 20 week ultrasound, New York has a different protocol for going to a radiologist because in Chicago, your radiologist is where your OBS offices and radiology is in a completely different department, than your doctor's office. So the radiologist did the scan and a 20 week scan shows the spine and the quadrants of the heart. It looks fine. And ultimately, he says you have a placenta previa. And he walked out the door. He said, I'll be right back.
Karen Ortman 02:43
So what did that mean to you at that time?
Stephanie Arnold 02:45
You know, it hit me wrong, I had no idea what it was. But I told my husband who as an economist and a former Air Force pilot, he is very analytical and very data driven. So for him, I said to him, I'm special in a blood category, I'm O negative. And that's about 7% of the population. I said, I don't want to be special in any other category. And I have a very bad feeling about this. And he went into autopilot mode. He's like, we don't have all the information. Let's just relax. I'm sure it'll be fine. You're getting your prenatal care.
Karen Ortman 03:20
So when I saw the doctor walked out of the room, did the doctor walk back into the room and kind of explain to you what this meant?
Stephanie Arnold 03:28
He did. He said, he said, it's it's really not a huge deal. He's like, you know, it's a one to 100 risk, where the placenta is growing on top of the cervix. If it doesn't move the worst case scenario, is it because they assume that as the belly grows as the uterus grows, it'll move out of the way but if it doesn't, worst case scenarios, you'll have a C section. And, you know, I wasn't afraid of a C section. I had a C section before. Yeah, my other travel is too big. So ultimately, the doctor was like, you know, but just take it easy, but me it was a big deal.
Karen Ortman 04:05
How did you feel at that moment? Being told it's no big deal. Um,
Stephanie Arnold 04:09
I knew it was. I knew that the placenta praevia wasn't the issue. There was some underlying thing that was that was triggering this sense of foreboding. And I didn't know what that was. But this was the catalyst. So then I go home, and I do what everybody else does. I Dr. Google it and then I'm like, okay, the placenta previa can turn into an accreta, which is what Kim Kardashian had where the placenta marries itself to the uterus. If that happens, you can bleed. If that happens, you might need a hysterectomy. And if that happens, you might hemorrhage and if you hemorrhage you and the baby could lose your life. And when I read that, it was like the bell went off, a light bulb went off and I looked at my husband, I said, this is going to happen to us. The only difference is the baby's going to be fine, but I'm going to be dead on the operating table.
Karen Ortman 05:01
And what did he say?
Stephanie Arnold 05:03
He was like, what you are afraid of is a half, of a half, of a half, of a half, of a half a percent chance of happening is like you know, you need to get your mind off of that. That is not going to happen. That is the absolute worst case scenario.
Karen Ortman 05:16
Yeah. Now at this point, had the premonitions begun?
Stephanie Arnold 05:21
They had started after that moment. So I think because I had an answer to what was going to happen and it resonated in my body. You know, I talked about the difference between a premonition and a casual thought. the premonition is incessant, it doesn't let up it the hair on the back of your neck stands up. So for instance, if you're walking down a street that you always walk down, but you get a bad feeling that today, you shouldn't take a left, even though you always take a left. You don't need to go left to try and figure out why you're not going to go left and use your logic, just freakin go right and take five minutes out of your time. Because you don't know why you're getting that feeling. And so the casual thought is fleeting, it's a momentary thoughts, like you're sitting on an airplane and your like oh planes can crash this plane crash, Oh my god, we're going to crash and then it's it's just momentary. It doesn't happen.
Karen Ortman 06:11
Stephanie Arnold 06:12
So after that incident, like after me reading it, I looked at my husband. And I'm like, Alright, I know, this doesn't make sense to you. But I have to, I have to do something about this. And so I told everybody, I told all my doctors. I was in NYU. And then I went tiflyng back and forth to Chicago to sell our property. And at some point, I was in Chicago, and I started to bleed. So ,I knew I was going to get grounded. So I was going to deliver in Chicago, and then every appointment I had every doctor's appointment, nurses appointment. Anybody I could tell I said I'm going to die during the delivery. I'm going to need a hysterectomy. I'm going to bleed.
Karen Ortman 06:55
So lets go. So the 20 week appointment is when you get the ultrasound and you hear the words placenta previa. Yeah. The doctor's appointments that followed. As a result of that 20 week appointment, were they more frequent than monthly?
Stephanie Arnold 07:17
No. And at that point, they were monthly, but I had, but there were moments like, you know, we were living near the park in Tribeca Park. And it was a cold winter day. And I talked about this on the Netflix series that we're on. My daughter was two at the time. And I was taking the stroller across the park. And he you know, the fountain is dry. It's February, it's cold. And I say to her, oh, when the fountain is flowing, it's beautiful. And all of a sudden in mind's eye, the the water flow turned to blood. And I had a visceral reaction to it. I felt myself hemorrhage. And I grabbed the stroller and I call my husband and I said meet me at the hospital, I'm hemorrhaging. And so we go, I get triaged. You know, the doctor is checking everything. My husband races there, and he's like, you know, she okay, I'm like, No, obviously, I'm hemorrhaging. And the doctors like no, Mrs. Arnold, you're fine. Everything's fine. You know, my husband's like, Oh, it's a false alarm. And I'm like, No, this is a warning.
Karen Ortman 08:19
So you imagined that you were hemorrhaging. You go to the hospital, you're not hemorrhaging.
Stephanie Arnold 08:25
Now I'm crazy right now. On all pregnant neurotic, histrionic woman.
Karen Ortman 08:30
And how many weeks? Are you at this point? Beyond the 20?
Stephanie Arnold 08:34
There beyond the 20? Yeah, around 23-24.
Karen Ortman 08:39
So now you are being treated as if you have some other psychological issue happening?
Stephanie Arnold 08:50
batshit crazy. Yeah, I'm having a baby boy. And maybe there's too much testosterone running through my system, you're stressed? Maybe you need to sleep? Do you need any Ambien, like, What do you need? Because all of your test results are negative. Right?
Karen Ortman 09:05
And how did you feel at that moment? You know, what you saw? Yeah. And how you felt? How did you feel when the doctor came in and said, you're fine.
Stephanie Arnold 09:17
You know, I don't I go back to those moments. And I say, I don't know. Um, part of me is none of what I was saying was logical, because the test results were not showing it, the tests were negative. So the doctors and the scientists are looking at the data and the data is not indicating anything. And so for them, they're seeing an open road and I'm, I'm the only one seeing this 18 Wheeler headed straight for me. And I know I'm on the clock because the day that I give birth, I'm going to die. It wasn't a what if, it was a win and it was a knowing, it was not I was not thinking that any of this was not going to happen. I knew it was and I had, I was a ticking time bomb waiting for it to go out. But I wasn't going to wait. I was going to do everything in my power to save my life. no on else was taking it seriously.
Karen Ortman 10:13
So at the point where you saw the blood coming up in the fountain, you go to the hospital, you're fine. At that point, did you know, even at 23 weeks, that you were going to die? Or did that come later?
Stephanie Arnold 10:26
No. 100% The minute that I had read that on the Dr. Google search, I knew that's what was going to happen. I had a I didn't know why or how or what the cause was. But I knew that that was the chain of events that was going to lead to my death.
Karen Ortman 10:45
So tell me about what happens after 23 weeks. What other premonitions do you get?
Stephanie Arnold 10:51
Oh my gosh, I think my husband thought it was a good idea to take me to the opera and he took me to La Traviata. And for those of you don't know what La Traviata is about, it's about a prostitute who falls in love with a very wealthy man in the community. And the father of this son goes to the woman and says, you're going to shame our family, but the son is in love with her, he doesn't care her background or anything, he just loves her. And she loves him. And in the end, you know, she decides, because she loves him so muc, she's going to leave him to save his reputation and his light and to make his life better. And by the end, Aria, you know, Placido Domingo is singing as the Father. And so it's a very powerful moment, I had no idea what the opera was about. But the, the woman leaves him and turns out that she's dying. And then the father comes clean to the sun, that he forced her out or implied that she should leave and she did what was best. And the sun comes in, because he, in that last area, like, loves her, and he doesn't care and he wants to be with her. And then she dies. And I am beyond a basket case at the Met, like I there's mucus coming out of my body, there's like I'm crying, the orchestra thinks like they've got a, you know, an audience members. And my husband starts crying, because the whole time he knows that I'm on this path now scared to die, because I'm scared to lose our love. Yeah. And so there were powerful moments like this, that were just this heaviness around something that should be so beautiful, and that we were sharing having our first son together. and it was not that it was, it was just really heavy. I went into again, autopilot, like anybody who would talk to me, if you saw me on the street, and said, how's your pregnancy going? I said, I'm gonna die. It was matter of fact, it was an, like I said, a knowing I had, at one point when I was in Chicago, you know, we have a friend who's a doctor, and I said, what happens if I need a hysterectomy during delivery, and he said Stephany that's not going to happen, I said well just entertain me. And he's like, Well, you know, your OB will transfer you to Maternal Fetal Medicine, but you really want a gynecological oncologist to do the procedure, because they have more experience with high risk reproductive organs because of the cancer work that they do. And so I ended up forcing my way into the head of gynec, at Northwestern without a diagnosis of cancer, and just saying, I have a feeling and the nurses thought I was crazy. And I'm like, Look, I'm gonna sit in the waiting room until he sees me. So I'm not going anywhere. And my husband went with me to every single one of these appointments, probably because he didn't want to get divorce. sitting with me in the waiting room, and there are women who, who are suffering from cancer. And he said, I'm embarrassed to be here. And I said, I don't know what to tell you. I said, but maybe this doctor has heard of something.
Karen Ortman 14:08
Stephanie Arnold 14:09
Maybe Maybe there's some form of cancer, maybe there's something that I've got going on in my body that's sending a signal to the brain, and nobody is able to pick it up. But maybe this doctor has heard of a patient saying certain things because it's not, Nope. Everybody else is saying there's nothing wrong.
Karen Ortman 14:23
Yeah. And how far along are you at this point?
Stephanie Arnold 14:26
I think I was 30 weeks by that time.
Karen Ortman 14:29
Stephanie Arnold 14:31
And so, um, so he's like, why don't we get an MRI? And so no we go into the consultation room, which was really funny. And the the residents taking notes and the doctor who's this big head, gynecological oncologist guy at this teaching hospital, and he's like Mrs. Arnold. How can we help you and I said, Look, my placenta previa is going to turn into an accreta you're going to need to give me a hysterectomy. My my husband says I was very much mafia like you're my doc. Your I see you, you see me, now I'm your patient. And I said, and when I deliver this child at 37 weeks, you need to be there to do the hysterectomy. So he pauses, the resident stops writing and he says, Mrs. Arnold, have you been on the internet? And I'm like, Why, yes, I have doctor, but this is going to happen. And so ultimately, he's like, Well, why don't we get an MRI if the MRI is it positive for an accreta? Then I'll schedule myself during your mandatory c section. And, and I felt better. And then I go.
Karen Ortman 15:33
so did you get the MRI?
Stephanie Arnold 15:35
I did the MRI,
Karen Ortman 15:36
what was the result
Stephanie Arnold 15:36
I was negative and my husband says you should feel better. And I said, I feel worse! because now I'm running out of people to tell this crazy foreboding story to write. And...
Karen Ortman 15:50
so how did this doctor? How did his involvement change based upon the results of the MRI?
Stephanie Arnold 15:59
He wasn't involved?
Karen Ortman 16:01
So he said, No, negative, I'm out.
Stephanie Arnold 16:02
Yeah. Why would he be out like you don't need to reserve a gynecological oncologist to do a, an elective hysterectomy? You know, you're not going to purposely remove the uterus to never have children. Again, if there's no problem. I just told him, I said, Listen, I heard that you have ovarian cancer, and it starts through the fallopian tube. So when you're in there, just take out the fallopian tubes. Lay and so he's like, okay Ms. Arnold. You know, like, every, like, I'm producing, I mean, in my former life, just to so you all know, I was a TV producer. I mean, I produced everything from the New York Magazine award show to the tree lighting at Rockefeller Center, I was doing a lot of stuff at 30 rock. I had the Puerto Rican Day Parade. so I, I function extremely well, under high stress, high pressure, but this was something different. And I just I went into producer mode, where I was like, okay, I need to produce life saving measures, because no one is listening to me. Um, you know, and in their defense, and in my husband's defense, there were tests test for negative, but sometimes, and what I've learned since is that doctors in their first year of medical school, the very first thing that they're learning is, the patient has already given you the diagnosis. And maybe it takes them listening to themselves a little bit more. And as you'll see, there was a of things that aligned that or that could have been done differently.
Karen Ortman 17:30
Now, how stressful was your relationship with your husband at this point?
Stephanie Arnold 17:34
I think that he was just hoping that we just get through this and he could have his wife back. I think in his mind, he didn't want to put it out there. But he was like thinking maybe there's something wrong with the baby and that's what making her go crazy. And that's that's a valid point. Yeah. I think he was just ducking, just to make sure that, like, he could support me the best way he could, but you know, in his, in his pilot mode, it was like, Okay, well, this, I'm using every tool in the toolbox, and it's not making her feel better. So I'm just going to shut up and I'm just going to go along with it. And then I'm just going to get the test results. And maybe I'll just help reaffirm that she's going to be fine
Karen Ortman 18:18
any other significant premonitions like the one in the fountain.
Stephanie Arnold 18:23
Everything was was surrounded by death, I had a vision that I was going to be cut from sternum to pelvis, I had a vision that I was going to be put under general anesthesia, I had a vision when I was like, making you know, we're Jewish. And so like, we have Shabbat and so on the Sabbath, I make bread with the kids. And there were moments that I have dreams of, you know, Jonathan making the bread with the kids and crying because no one would be there in the mother's seat. So and then there was a moment where I saw my burial. And so it was just they were flashes.
Karen Ortman 18:56
Yeah. Was this during sleep? Was were these actual dreams? Or was this something that would present in your awake in your mind?
Stephanie Arnold 19:05
Both...both. I was in a grocery store when I was getting the flour for the bread and then a flash of the the making the bread happened. I was dreaming, well not sleeping well. But in you know, I had a two year old. And I also had a stepdaughter at the you know, and so, and I have a husband who I love desperately. And so even though you want to enjoy those pregnant moments, I was holding on to those moments with my children and with my husband and I'm trying to enjoy it and savor those because I don't want the last moments of my life to be a high stress and fear and that was that was a big part of those three months.
Karen Ortman 19:48
Did you firmly believe that at the time of your child's birth that you would be dead?
Stephanie Arnold 19:55
Karen Ortman 19:56
And your life would end? Yes. That was like a deposition question. Yes ahaha. That's so sad. That must have been so scary.
Stephanie Arnold 20:12
I write in the book where I'm like, you know, I didn't buy anything for Jacob, I didn't set up his room. I didn't set up any clothes. I didn't. I didn't do that. And, psychologically, I think, you know, the way that I looked at it was like, if I didn't do this, at least, maybe I would be saved. And I could have those moments with my son, and with my children like to finish the job that I'm supposed to do, I left a job unfinished.
Karen Ortman 20:40
So at some point, a member of the medical community did take your concerns seriously.
Stephanie Arnold 20:47
Yeah. So what happened was, is, you know, at this point, I'm seeing my gynecologist, my ob, every week
Karen Ortman 20:55
at what week we are, we know?
Stephanie Arnold 20:56
after 30, around 32 weeks. So every week, I'm seeing my gynecologist and she said, I, you know, are you still having the visions? And I said, Yes. And she said, Why don't you have a consultation with anastasia? And I said, okay. You know, I didn't have one with my first but, you know, go ahead and do it. And so I have a phone call with anastasia with a doctor by the name of Dr. Grace Lim, and she's a fellow, younger doctor, and she answers the call. And she's explaining to me what would happen during delivery and where recovery would be. And I said, Okay, that's great. But what in the event this this, this and this happens. And she said, she had never had a patient speak so clearly before had a baby before and a C section and sought out specialist to save her life. But I had not known what she had done. So the very last thing that she had said was, you know, you're in a teaching hospital and Mrs. Arnold, we deliver 12,000 babies a year. We're prepared for worst case scenarios. So I hope I made you feel better. And my last conversation with her the last thing I said to her was, it is what it is. This is the last, the last person, I could reach out to because the deadline was coming up.
Karen Ortman 22:12
Meaning the date of birth of your child.
Stephanie Arnold 22:15
Yeah, D day, delivery day, Yeah.
Karen Ortman 22:18
And was it a planned c section? At that point?
Stephanie Arnold 22:20
It was it was because the placenta had not moved out of the way it was definitely going to be a C section at 37 weeks. Because at that point, it would be too dangerous for both the mother and the baby. So um, so because of his size, so 37 was the that the magic number. And, you know, when I got a phone with her, I mean, I don't know which came first but I think I posted on Facebook, if anybody has my blood type, I'm going to need it. Not that I anyone was going to ship their blood to me, but maybe they'd heard again, like what I do the gyn office. I wrote goodbye letters. I sent out goodbye letters. Tell about what's going to happen to me in about a month's time.
Karen Ortman 23:03
Who did you send goodbye letters to?
Stephanie Arnold 23:05
to a family member who had recently passed, to a friend I had lost touch with who actually was the fertility doctor who got me pregnant. To another friend of mine in New York, who was watching me through this pregnancy, who I was really stressed about.
Karen Ortman 23:24
What was their response?
Stephanie Arnold 23:26
I got no responses. I think you know, it were because my girlfriend just talked to me about that letter, the other day on clubhouse. And she said, she said I was one of the recent fans of letters, which I totally blocked out. And she's, you know, I was fearful to engage. I just didn't want to put out anything into the universe that, you know, to give it any credence. So I just wanted to let you give birth and then come out the other side of it and laugh about this letter that you sent me.
Karen Ortman 24:00
Were you hurt by the lack of response from people?
Stephanie Arnold 24:03
Yeah,yeah. Because I think everybody in the at the end of the day wants to be heard. And by not being heard. And by feeling you're not being listened to. There's a lack of connection. And so when you don't have that connection to other people, and then your soulmate who's laying next to you is not believing this. And so I was running on two paths of one to save my life and the other to be like if I die. This isn't the end of us. You know, life can't end just because I physically do. Our loved doesn't because I physically do. So I needed to quickly prove to my agnostic husband, that, you know, there is life after death and he wasn't buying any of it. So, so there were two two passions and two clocks I was running against trying to save my life.
Karen Ortman 24:52
Was he fearful as the scheduled c section date approached?
Stephanie Arnold 24:58
He was not. He wasn't fearful, he, you know, he didn't want to give any of it credence, just like probably my friends and family, you know, the more that you engage, the more you're giving value to the fear. And I think in his mind, it was like, if I put it out there and I talk about it, then, you know, maybe that'll rev up the engine to create more fear. Yeah. So I understand his point of view.
Karen Ortman 25:27
Are your parents still alive?
Stephanie Arnold 25:29
My father passed? Almost two years ago, but my mother still alive?
Karen Ortman 25:34
And was your father alive? Well, your father was alive in 2013. So I'm sure you shared your premonitions and your fear with with your parents.
Stephanie Arnold 25:47
Well, I didn't. Um, here's the thing. My father had a weak heart. And so he lived in Florida. You know, there was no need. There was nothing for him to do if I shared it for him. And I'm the baby of the family. So if I told him those things, he was just going to have undue stress. So
Karen Ortman 26:08
I understand that Yeah,
Stephanie Arnold 26:10
yeah. I kept most of that to myself, except my sister. I asked her because she had a hysterectomy. And so she was the one that talked to me more about the, the, you know, what happens when one gets a hysterectomy?
Karen Ortman 26:22
yeah So in 2013, what was the date of your scheduled c section?
Stephanie Arnold 26:29
So the date of my scheduled c section was June 7, that was at 37 weeks, okay. But at 36 weeks to the day, Jonathan had a trip we were going to deliver in Chicago, but he had a trip to New York for the New York ages conference. And he was in the middle of a conference when I was feeding Idin at breakfast. And I started bleeding all over the kitchen floor. And I'm like, Well, I guess we're delivering today.
Karen Ortman 27:00
And how scary was that?
Stephanie Arnold 27:04
Well, I knew this was the day. I mean, when I called Jonathan, and he had to excuse himself out of the conference. He, he's like, Are you sure? And I'm like, yeah, I'm sure.
Karen Ortman 27:15
And so is this the day that you think you're going to die?
Stephanie Arnold 27:18
Yeah. Yeah. I'm trying to hold off because I know that the moment I deliver him, I'm not going to make it. So I am acutely aware that I am hours away. Like, the fear is palpable. My heart is in my throat. I am trying to delay it. But this, you know, an anesthesiologist once said to me, that, you know, if you were my patient, I would have not done the procedure. I said, Yeah, but this baby was coming out no matter what. So he's like, Good point. I was like, yeah, and so it wasn't like I could shove him back in, hold on and, you know, delay anything? Because it was like, he's coming out. Yeah. And so what did you do? after calling your husband, so I called my husband, he, like he raced out the door, and he got to LaGuardia. He got on a plane, I mean, from door to door, it was five hours, which was shocking. From Midtown Manhattan, and to be back in Chicago, and at the hospital was five hours. But during that time, I had been triage, he was in the air, I was able to Skype chat him. And I told him, you know, that he made me the happiest woman in the world and to not blame this child and to take care of our children. And....
Karen Ortman 28:45
were you having premonitions? Even at this time? Did you? Were you able to see anything? feel anything?
Stephanie Arnold 28:52
No, the only thing that I saw is that this was the end of the line. And I didn't go beyond that. It was what was the point of going beyond that? I've spoken up so many times. And I think to do so he was like, Where do I meet you? And I'm like a eighth floor recovery hopefully. you know, and then the doctor came in and said, you know, the OR's are quiet. I think now's the time you've been stressed this whole pregnancy. So I kissed my daughter a million times and the mother's instinct kicks in and I don't want the last images of me to her to be crying and scared. So they gurney me out.
Karen Ortman 29:32
And who's with your daughter at this point? Because your family's not there?
Stephanie Arnold 29:35
Yeah, have a nanny that was okay. At time. And then a friend of mine showed up at the hospital and I get gurneyed down to the O R. And in the middle of it. I said to my doctor, I'm like there's something wrong you need to put me under general anesthesia. And she's like, I'm not gonna do that. Stephanie I know you're nervous because Jonathan's not here but I promise you will take good care of you. But if I put you to sleep with the baby to sleep your makes it more. It makes riskier and then I get wheeled into the room that's going to give life to my son and take mine. And when you go into that room, all of a sudden, the time bomb is is ticking louder and the EKG unit is they're preparing for a C section. So they put a curtain in front of my face. My arms are in a T on lockdown. There's there's no getting out of it. So if you desperately want to run away, you can't go anywhere. It's really cold the beating of the EKG unit is is hitting harder and faster. And
Karen Ortman 30:40
do you hear the doctors discussing the fact that you had premonitions that you were going to die on that table?
Stephanie Arnold 30:47
Karen Ortman 30:48
so it's just a matter of course there are days where delivering a baby via c section as you're laying there. What's going through your mind?
Stephanie Arnold 31:02
You know, apparently I went catatonic because they told me that they tried to talk to me and I wasn't answering so i think i you know if if you believe in being scared to death or being scared out of your body, I was scared frozen. I don't know whether I was there. But the the likelihood that I compartmentalize whatever part of me could see or hear. I Shrunk that to whatever, outside of that room inside the body into the deepest place of my soul, because I didn't want to see what was coming.
Karen Ortman 31:33
Do you have any recollection? Once you got into that hospital room for the purposes of delivering your son via c section? Do you have any recollection of events, shortly after you got there?
Stephanie Arnold 31:52
Very, very little. And like I remember being wheeled into the room. I remember remembering one nurse telling me that she will play the role of the husband. remembering my doctor saying okay, Stephanie, we're going to start.
Karen Ortman 32:08
So tell me what happens.
Stephanie Arnold 32:10
So they deliver a happy, healthy baby. And then seconds later, I die. I ended up having an amniotic fluid embolism, which is a very rare pregnancy complication, which is a one in 40,000 risk where amniotic cells go into the mother's bloodstream. And if you happen to be allergic to it, your body goes into anaphylactic shock. And in most cases, you don't make it. I was lucky enough to only flatline for 37 seconds. And the reason that was is because that very last phone call I had with Grace Lim. She said again, she was uncomfortable with everything. And she ended up flagging my file unbeknownst to me and incorporating extra blood in a crash cart in the operating room. That was she the anesthesiologist, she is the anesthesiologist. So where I was thinking nobody was listening. They were all looking at the black and white and she was listening to something different. And she had said that, you know, when my flag came up at the hospital. She was just she's she's almost an attending anesthesiologist and I had an attending anesthesiologist on my case. And so when Grace was logging cases or something like that she had this overwhelming feeling that she needed to be in the OR at the time I delivered. And she had looked at Dr. Higgins who was my attending physician. And she said to her, I've got a bad feeling about this.
Karen Ortman 33:45
So an amniotic fluid embolism is that something that can be detected prior to giving birth?
Stephanie Arnold 33:53
It cannot. It's unpredictable and it's unpreventable. And in most cases, you don't make it there's um, you know, Northwestern, again, like I said, delivers 12,000 babies a year. They've been in existence for over 30 years. They've had maybe 10 in their history six are and six did not make it in the other three are in permanent vegetative states. And I was the first to survived at that time, with a full blown catastrophic, AFE, amniotic fluid embolism and so the first half of it is you got a cardiac arrest and you flatline, they're able to resuscitate you. And if you're lucky enough which 40% are to get to the second phase. The second phase is DIC, which is your body's inability to clot blood, your normal blood capacity is about 20 units of blood and I was given 60 units of blood and blood product to save my life. But it was the extra blood that was ready to go because my platelets have dropped in minutes. And then you know, so it's all happens. While chaos breaks loose. Jacob is perfectly fine. He's in the the maternity ward, and they stabilize me. And then Jonathan arrives at the hospital.
Karen Ortman 35:05
And he arrives after the 37 seconds has expired. So let's talk about that 37 seconds.
Stephanie Arnold 35:12
Karen Ortman 35:14
What is your recollection of those 37 seconds.
Stephanie Arnold 35:20
At the time, nothing. until later, I ended up doing some hypnotherapy to take me back into the moments of flatline and the subsequent coma and, and then the months prior, because I wanted to know how I was getting the information I was getting in that field. an awful lot that revealed, where everybody was standing what they were doing what was happening down the hall, which nurse jumped on my chest to give me CPR, that my own doctor didn't deliver the baby, which person hit the button for the code that the first crash cart didn't work with the second crash cart did? Did there were just lots of details that I'd had
Karen Ortman 35:58
that you fact checked against those who were there. And it did, they basically told you that what you observed or recollect now did in fact happen.
Stephanie Arnold 36:11
It did, it's changed the way they practice medicine, for sure. Which is all I can ask in what way.
Karen Ortman 36:17
In what way?
Stephanie Arnold 36:18
So you know, when you're going through the throws of a, you know, something catastrophic like that they're treating the body and they're treating the injuries, and they're trying to save your life. But what they don't realize is that consciousness exists after the brain shuts down. And so I'm still in there somewhere, and I'm still witnessing this, and I'm still experiencing this from above, around, I'm watching what's happening. So it, it jarred them to the core, because you hear these stories about near death experiences, but a lot of times you don't have the documentation to back it up. And so because these doctors were able to validate everything that had happened, I mean, to the details that, you know, I have a curtain in front of my face, I was intubated, my eyes were taped shut. So maybe hearing is the last to go, but you must certainly couldn't see. So when you go through all of this, the doctors really reacted strongly at the fact that they were treating me like a piece of meat. And not that I was there. Nobody was talking to me. Again, no one was talking to me, prior to it to calm down the fears, and they were kind of dismissing it. And during the throws of it. They weren't talking to me. They were treating the injury, that ultimately they saved my life. You know, some doctors will tell you, no, you saved your own life. But the reality is they were prepared because I prepared them. Yeah, that's what they'd say.
Karen Ortman 37:46
When you talk about the recollection that you later had about the 37 seconds, did you additionally have a recollection of your six days being unconscious following this event?
Stephanie Arnold 38:05
Yeah, I had. I had moments. So I mean, ultimately, you know, one of the the crazy stories is Jonathan, you know, gets the hospital, you know, the good thing about him being in pilot mode is you know, he's very unemotional about it. So when they told him what happened? He was like, what's mortality, morbidity? What do we need? What are we looking for in the next few hours? What happens at the next stage? Probably very much how you would be like on a case first, get the facts. And then deal with the aftermath of the emotional roller coaster at home with a glass of wine. Um, so he said, if she needs a hysterectomy, this is the doctor we met with two months before. And so the doctors took note of it and said, you know, we think we stabilized it. And about seven hours later, I was still bleeding. And they called in, the gyn Onc. to perform the hysterectomy. And then they did the pathology on the uterus. And the ER showed that and accreta had started to form that that Kim Kardashian event, but it was microscopic. Where it was the MRI didn't pick it up.
Karen Ortman 39:09
And so explain what an accreta is.
Stephanie Arnold 39:12
That's when they placenta and the uterus merge together almost like a lava lamp of the two organs together and once they merge, if they, if they merge too tightly together, you might need a hysterectomy. Because it cause a lot of bleeding. So I didn't have a name for all of this. Nobody would have ever assumed that an amniotic fluid embolism would have happened. It's so rare. Most doctors don't see it in their entire careers. You know, none of my doctors on my case had ever experienced one. And, you know, coincidentally which I don't believe in coincidences. The two anesthesiologists who were on my case, the one that flagged my file, and the one that helps ultimately performed the life saving measures at the time of the moment. Three weeks before had had their annual conference, their anesthesiologists conference. And they went into an abstract, not even a featured speaker, but an abstract about how to resuscitate an AFE patient using a new method. And three weeks later, they use that method they've never used before. And then I was off to the races. So, you know, all of the things that I remembered, the way that the doctors have changed is they talk to the patients differently. You know, my anesthesiologist said, you know, she got originally got into anesthesia, because you know, you put your patients to sleep, you wake them up, and then you move on, you don't really connect with them on a deep level. Now, when she sees fear, or she sees a concern, she'll sit and she'll talk with them, she'll calm their fears, she knows that she's the one keeping them alive. And I think having those conversations are really important, that person matters, that you know, who they are, who they are, who their family is, and, and comes a lot of it so that nothing happens.
Karen Ortman 41:01
Tell me about the conversations you had with the medical professionals after this event, and either during or after your recovery.
Stephanie Arnold 41:13
Um, so during I was in the hospital a long time I had my kidneys had failed. I was on dialysis, every department because you're again in a teaching hospital, you no want to know about this case, how did you know what, you know? How did you see this? Now I'm like, I don't know Im at a teaching hospital you tell me. And they were like, you know, foreboding exists prior to a heart attack or an embolism. But moments before maybe a couple of days before but months before? No. So they're a little more open to it. They just needed somebody to articulate how this happened. And I think that our case is a good example of showing them that they don't know everything. And my one anesthesiologist said, You know, I didn't go to medical school for this. This is not this just wrecks my logical brain. I mean, even my husband on the Netflix show, he was like, he was like, I just, you know, I had a hard time processing this and as you heard on your podcast is like he he didn't have a care in the world he was dependent on the data. And now he has gone from an agnostic to hopeful agnostic. So, um, so yeah, they've they've changed a lot. And the effects of our case are long lasting. And I hope that as a patient advocate and talking also with the clinicians to acknowledge their own abilities to use their own intuition, because the biggest thing about my case was, it took a complete stranger doctor to flag my file. But when my doctors were missing is that they weren't using their own intuition about their patient, they've known me for years. I work extremely well under pressure, this was abnormal behavior for me. And so if they actually use their own intuition about their own patient, they might have seen that there was cause something.
Karen Ortman 43:07
Yeah. I would imagine that you have spoken at medical conferences on this subject, I would hope that you are speaking to the medical community about this. What did you learn from your experience that you believe is applicable to our listeners who are comprise you know, states of this country and abroad? What is the takeaway do you think?
Stephanie Arnold 43:40
Well, there's several takeaways. The first is if you sense something, say something, you will never regret speaking up and being wrong, but you will regret not speaking up and being dead, right? I, you know, everybody judges you, they judge your Instagram profile. They think you're crazy if you have a, you know, any kind of intuitive ability, but the reality is, you don't need to prove it to anyone, you just need to speak up. And if your doctor is not listening to you, then maybe you need to go to another doctor because they are also forgetting, you know, I'm an educated consumer. I did a lot of research. You know, one doctor had the audacity to tell me that it was a self fulfilling prophecy that I manifested this. I said, You mean to tell me that you think that I can will myself to a hemorrhage and hysterectomy and my organs combining and to be put under general anesthesia and to be cut from sturnum to appellate? You think I can will that to happen? He's like, why didn't say, I thought it was possible. That's the only thing I come up with. I said, Well, that's an asshole thing to say, because ultimately, I'm thinking that I manifested my own, you know, clinical death and could have left my family. And so it's it's just, I think it's fear based. And I think that they don't know. They don't have all the answers, but I think the best thing that they could say is I I hear what you're saying, I don't have the answer to it. It's just as a theory, but we don't know, right? Maybe medical science hasn't caught up with it. But for your audience, you get signs in your body. You know, when you meet somebody, and you have an off feeling about them, you know, when you walk into a party, and you're like, I shouldn't be here, and there's something that's making the hair on the back of your neck stand and you do not need to wait it out. Because your friends or anybody else's think you're crazy. I would get out. What's the worst that could happen? Okay, so so maybe you're wrong. Yeah, but you'll start learning the lessons inside of your body of how those that compass is working. And
Karen Ortman 45:40
I completely agree with you
Stephanie Arnold 45:41
can save your life.
Karen Ortman 45:42
Yeah. You've got to listen to yourself and be your own advocate in any medical situations, in life situations.
Stephanie Arnold 45:49
Yeah, I mean, I can't hit there are times you and I have had relationships are met people or shouldn't have dated somebody or just like you knew it. It's this knowing and I'm just saying to trust it, the biggest issue that we have, not just as women men too, but I see it more in women that I talked to, that they feel like this sense that they have is not really real. And then their logical side takes over or their spouse or their relationship takes over and says you know what? Your feeling is ridiculous.
Karen Ortman 46:19
Stephanie Arnold 46:19
And then you downplay it, and then you think that you're, you know, you're imagining it and then later when it comes true, you're like, I knew it.
Karen Ortman 46:26
Right. And so we've all had those experiences. Yeah.
Stephanie Arnold 46:30
All of us. us.
Karen Ortman 46:31
How do you feel about death?
Stephanie Arnold 46:35
I am not scared of death anymore. I think that you will the moment of impact is not the is not the scary part. For me. It was the three months prior right? But you know, the painful part is those you leave behind, you're at peace there. There's a moment I mean, I continue to get premonitions, I continue to see things and, the only way that I can equate them I see spirits, I see loved ones, I see loved ones of people, I don't know, I've experienced heart attacks from people 3000 miles away from a complete stranger. And I do not know the mechanics of how it works. I keep racking my brain keep trying to figure out how it works. I don't question why this happens. I just question how it happens. But because it happens, and because I'm very vocal about it, in those moments, the witnesses to it are like how are you seeing this because this is accurate on like, that confirms to me that there there is consciousness and that there is life after death, that there is energy that we change from a solid to a gas. Because I'm I don't consider myself a medium with psychic abilities. I feel I'm intuitive. And I feel things and maybe it's just that my sensitivity towards my intuitive side is, is higher than a lot of people because I got unplugged and then plugged back on high voltage, but I equate it to like a dog seeing things or hearing things differently than a human. Yeah. We just we all have these abilities. We just don't trust them. And the more that we trust them, and the more that we depend on them, the more that it will keep us out of trouble.
Karen Ortman 48:07
Does your husband now believe that the Spirit lives on after death?
Stephanie Arnold 48:12
He has a hard time with it. You know, as I wrote in the book, the one person I saw was his father who died in 1998. And you know, he had a hard time with I like to tell my father I said hi. Right. And and then later when it proved that there was no way possible that I could see what I saw. And it was true. He's like, hmm, it gave him... It gives him hope. By I don't think he will come out that that he is a die hard believer, but he does believe that I see things it happens way too often tempted to downplay it now.
Karen Ortman 48:50
Well, I think that you're a gift. And I think that you have an important message for people particularly as it pertains to advocating for self. Especially in the context of our medical health. And I'm so appreciative that you came to talk to me today,
Stephanie Arnold 49:09
Oh, my gosh, I am so appreciative of the work that you're doing. I mean, you're a one woman band, and then you know, you go through all of this and all these people need your help. And you as your background and your history have an intuitive self. And so, you know, it's, you're just more solid than maybe the students that are coming to you for help. And you're like, Okay, I've seen this over, I see how this game plays out. And you know, you are a gift to all of them. And so the fact that you are having this podcast so that you can share these experiences with them so that they can be like look, I'm not the only one that's telling you these things and you know, you might not be crazy if you hear it.
Karen Ortman 49:48
Yeah. Important information to share with everybody for sure. So I thank you. Is there anything that I haven't asked you that you would like to share? Um,
Stephanie Arnold 50:01
No, I think that that you covered it I think , you know, if people want to get in touch with me or or talk to me, you know I am on Instagram and they can get me at Stefan on 37 I do a clubhouse once a week if people are on clubhouse on Tuesdays. at Tuesday evenings, I started a club called the sixth sense. Talk about stories with doctors and people who have experienced it because it's about them, not me. Yes. And then I'm starting a podcast called Knowing what you don't know how you know, you just do so if anybody has stories they want to share to DM me on Instagram to email me at info at StephanieArnold.net.
Karen Ortman 50:46
Okay, and if anybody has any issues connecting with you, they can always email me at you email@example.com and I would be happy to forward the information to you. Okay. Well, thank you once again to my guest, Stephanie and to all of our listeners for joining us for today's episode of you matter if any information presented was triggering or disturbing, please feel free to contact the wellness exchange at 212-443-9999 or EMI US Department of Public Safety and their Victim Services Unit at 212-998-2222. Please share like and subscribe to you matter on Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or tune in