My friend had called to tell me that another friend was in the hospital. She had wanted a homebirth, but her blood pressure had risen high enough that she felt it warranted extra medical monitoring. I was busy at the time and gave the situation a perfunctory "oh, that's too bad," before moving on to the more pressing concerns of my day.

What I remember next is that I was in the car with all the kids, driving down our long country road. I tend to zone out in the car if I don't have traffic that I have to be aware of. It's one of those repetitive muscle-memory tasks, like washing dishes or taking a shower, where I disengage from the practical material world a bit, and often have insights or interesting thoughts come to me. As usual I had tuned out all the loud sounds and activity around me and was humming along in an empty brain, just being, on auto-pilot.

And then abruptly I was literally somewhere else. My body was still in the car with its hands on the wheel staying between the lines and going the speed limit. I was visually and tactilely aware of all that. But I was also in a space and surrounded by people that were unfamiliar, clinical, stressed. I felt deeply emotionally violated. I was aware, sickeningly, that it was real and that I was inside of my friend's birth. Not as if I was her; I was me, experiencing it myself. As if we had traded places. Then I was just as suddenly fully back in my body, back in my car, safe, fine, hearing my kids squabbling and laughing, but still with the sick feeling pervasive. I was grief-stricken.

It is the weirdest, least explainable thing that has ever happened to me.

Afterwards, I thought, this is what they want us to believe is normal. And what we convince ourselves is normal, "just the way it is." It was one of those defining moments where you think to yourself, I am never going to forget this, this is why I will continue to fight.