10 Ways you will know you have reached (or exceeded) your due date

1.) When siting, standing, walking, laying down, kneeling, squatting, standing on one foot etc. just hurts.

2.) When sleeping with 6 pillows is no longer enough

3.) When you find yourself looking longingly at a bottle of castor oil

4.) When you no longer care what people think enough that you will sit down in the middle of an isle, road, or room full of people because….well you have to sit!

5.) When you watch your babies bottle of milk spilling on the floor of your car and don’t even make an effort to pick it up because you know there is no way your making it down that low.

6.) When all it takes is someone making a helpful suggestion of something that you might do to make the baby come or to make the wait more comfortable and you feel as though your inner monster has been unleashed and you just might take their head off.

7.) When you cry because…well insert pretty much anything here and it works.

8.) When you find yourself doing the toilet dance (if you’ve been there you know what I mean) in an effort to make each visit more productive and possibly give you a full twenty minutes between visits.

9.) When remaining pregnant another day becomes worse than all possibilities, fears and outcomes of giving birth.

10.) When despite the fact that your brain knows it’s an impossibility you find yourself in tears over the VERY REAL possibility of you being the first woman to ever remain pregnant FOREVER.

You will know you have reached your day. And if the baby doesn’t come today, than maybe tomorrow, or the next day… or….or…..

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My Year of Miracles: A review of my tenth year as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

10 years! I remember it like it was yesterday; the day I got baptised into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I felt so lost and out-of-place I wondered if I would make it through the week. I felt strongly that I had made the right decision…but boy was it going to mean big changes for me; many of which there was no way to be prepared for.

Since that day each year on the anniversary of that day I spend some time alone, thinking, pondering and reviewing my choice, my commitment, and the consequences of that choice, be they good or bad. Every year I look back filled with gratitude, sometimes sadness, but always in awe of what has transpired since that time and most especially in the most recent year.

This year more than any other year I see so clearly how that choice I made ten years ago continues to grow in its impact in my life. Almost every single decision I made this year…and I made some big ones, was in a large way influenced by my decision to join this church.

So here is a year in review:

May 2013

I arrived in Uganda just 1 day before my 9th anniversary as a member of the LDS church. That first week was hard. Really hard. It took some getting used to, it was fun, it was an adventure, it was eye-opening to see a way of life so different from my own. That month I learned to live without so many things. I ate strange foods and even insects (check out the video!)

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This was my bed.

I went way to long without showers because of a lack of water, met so many new friends, learned to sleep in spite of the lizards crawling on the walls, and the mice and rats fighting over food remnants in our kitchen. I used pit latrines, carried water in a jerry can, was smothered in love and dirty hand prints by dozens of children who all wanted to hold my hand and have a piece of my attention. I felt completely overwhelmed by all of it. Especially the stifling heat. Oh and I didn’t know it then but I met someone who would change my life forever. It was a good month!

After adding a few of my things and scrubbing vigorously!

After adding a few of my things and scrubbing vigorously!

June 2013

I agreed to go on a date with Joseph Ssempala. That date colored the rest of my month. I saw him or talked to him every day after that. When he told me he loved me after just a few weeks I responded by teaching him a new phraze…”take a chill pill.” fortunately he isn’t one to give up easily and while he did give me the little space that I needed, he continued to make me feel like the most amazing woman alive. He showed me so many things and we had some amazing adventures that month. I realized I was falling in love in a strange country with a strange and wonderful man who took my breath away. It was a great month!!

Joseph and I on our first date.

Joseph and I on our first date.

July 2013

After traveling to Rwanda and having some crazy adventures there. I accepted a proposal of marriage from the man of my dreams and after only dating just two days shy of a month. Joseph and I began planning our wedding. At first we planned for the wedding to take place in October. But it wasn’t long before we realized that, that plan wasn’t going to work and we moved the date up to the 27th of July. It gave us two crazy weeks to plan for the day I had waited my whole life for. It was nothing like I had imagined but all the important elements where there with the exception of the attendance of family and friends. I was head over heels in love with the man I was marrying, I wore a beautiful white dress, and the end result was that I found myself a married woman and so blissfully content that nothing else mattered. What can I say, it was a phenomenal month!!!DSCF1436

August 2013

As July turned to August I learned many new skills. Like how to shower outside with a bucket of cold water, how to cook on a charcoal stove, and how to have an argument and still stay friends with your new husband. I planted a garden, created a home, met some wonderful new neighbors and took a pregnancy test that turned out to be positive! What more can I say…My joy was complete and it was the month of my dreams.

September 2013

September came with its own challenges and joys. I learned that morning sickness is NOTHING like being car sick but just in the mornings like I used to think it would be. I ate less and threw up more than I would have dreamed was possible. I spent most of my day resting and trying to help my body create another human being! I started teaching piano lessons, getting more involved at church, and just tried to survive being really sick. I also got to travel to South Africa where my new husband and I went through a very special ceremony where we were sealed together for time and all eternity in the house of the Lord. One of the most sacred and special moments of my life was when this man who I love so much took my hand and led me through this process that would bind us together for eternity. Eternity wouldn’t be long enough for me. It was a legion…wait for it….dary month!  (a little How I Met Your Mother reference for those of you that love Neil Patrick Harris).

October 2013

With the blush of spring and the warmth of summer past, October saw me traveling home alone. I needed to eat and rest and get strong for the baby growing inside me. I needed my family and I needed to be back in America. I would come, work on getting Joseph a visa, finish up my last two semesters of school and prepare for our coming baby. It was a long and lonely month.

November 2013

I turned 32 this month and being married took the sting out of being another year older, the day passed and aside from having a wonderful Skype session with my husband I hardly noticed. I prayed for a mild winter, worked and waited and waited some more. I found an apartment for us to start our lives together in and my mother graciously helped me to furnish and make our little two bedroom apartment feel like a home.

December 2013

Began to realize that Joseph wouldn’t be coming as soon as we had imagined and tried to adjust to a new kind of loneliness. With Morning sickness easing up significantly and the second trimester under way I felt like a new woman and I couldn’t believe my growing body. We had an ultra sound and discovered that our baby was a boy. We agreed to name him Preston Joseph.

January 2014

Started my final semester of school!! A degree 8 years in the making finally looking like it was coming to an end. Began a new job at Cedar Fort planning events. Life began to settle into a routine.

February 2014

As I moved into the third trimester, things began to get a bit more difficult. Preston became heavier, my belly got tighter and I felt sure my skin was going to pop! The miracle that takes place in a pregnant woman’s body on a daily basis never ceases to amaze me! Our baby was moving and growing and I was experiencing sweet moments that I had only ever dreamed about. I never dreamed that I would feel them alone, and experience my first pregnancy in such a way but I learned some good lessons about love, communication, patience and not taking things for granted. I learned about disappointment as Joseph’s application for a visitors visa was denied and we continued to wait for his immigrant visa.

March 2014

After passing out at work, and showing significant signs of impending labor I went on bedrest to keep from having our baby prematurely. This month I learned about accepting help even when you want to do things yourself, about exchanging independence for kindness, about learning to let go of expectations and about trust as I had to realize that this baby was going to be born without Joseph being here. My entire pregnancy was going to come and go without Joseph getting to be a part of any of it. On the other hand my exhausted body was grateful for the rest and the time spent with family. It was a very long month.

And Finally April 2014

And now we have come full circle. With my baby 13 days over due I find myself sitting down to write this review of what might possibly be the most eventful year of my life so far. April was long and exhausting, Big changes in our family. Joseph still unsure of when he will be able to join me and the anticipation of the nearness of a new life have left me a bit of an emotional basket case. I cry almost daily for no good reason. I sit, I stand, I walk, and I lay down in an effort to find a position where something doesn’t hurt. Then I give up until 5 minutes later when I will try it all again.

I am eternally grateful for the child growing within me, for the husband that I trust, love, and adore with every part of my being, for a family who has carried me through this incredibly difficult time. But more than anything else I am grateful that I followed my heart, the direction that I felt from the spirit that day ten years ago. I am so grateful that because of what I know and love about the gospel of Jesus Christ, this year and everything I have experienced in it has been worth it. It has been so wonderful, hard and overwhelming. But I have grown and never once have I doubted that my Father has a plan for our little family, that he brought us together and he can keep us together if we draw close to him. I haven’t doubted that he loves us, that i am exactly where he wants me to be and that I can approach him in peace knowing that in spite of my imperfections he is proud of me and so willing to help me. I love my Lord, I love his church, I love my husband, my baby my family and my life. Every year so far has seen blessings and adventures. But this year, this year that marks a full decade in the church…This year was big…

this year was beyond description!!!

 

 

My Whirlwind Romance part IV – “Are you gonna kiss me or not”

Someone pointed out to me the other day that I had left quite a few holes in my story. The truth is I just haven’t written. Pregnancy has taken so much out of me. I thought I was the most prepared person on the planet for having a baby, somehow I missed the memo about how hard pregnancy is. How tired it makes you and how much you eat! It’s been the most amazing adventure of my life. But here I am finally adding another chapter from my African romance,

My Whirlwind Romance Part IV

Since our first date Joseph and I had been talking to each other every day. One day about a week after our first date we were chatting on Facebook and he told me he loved me. I was kind of freaking out because when he said it, it was so different from the other random guys that would throw that term out at me on a daily bases. I knew he meant it and it scared me.

So…I taught him the meaning of “take a chill pill” and explained that he needed to do that in regards to me. I explained that Love is a pretty big word with deep meaning. He agreed and told me if I needed to talk he was ready to listen. I didn’t know what to do with his calm reassuring demeanor. He wasn’t put off by me at all and he wasn’t pushy just confidant and direct in his feelings. It scared me.

That weekend I went with him to have lunch with some of his good friends. Since things seemed to be moving so fast I was actively trying to discover his faults so when I got a minute alone with his friend’s wife as we were cooking lunch I asked her how well she knew Joseph.

She explained she had known him since he was about 11 and that he had been the one to baptize her. Everything she had to say about him was good. “Be real with me,” I told her, “I need to know what I’m getting myself into. What’s he like when he is angry?”

“Honestly I have never seen him angry before. He really is just what you see.”

That was pretty much the same response I had gotten from everyone else. I didn’t know whether to be frustrated that I wasn’t getting any dirt on him or happy that he seemed to be as wonderful as I thought he was.

That day he took me to his apartment; we sat on the couch and talked. It was interesting to see his personal touch in his apartment. I felt at home with him and comfortable in his living space.  We agreed that week that we would date only each other and we would move forward with this relationship.

The next day he came to Lugazi to speak in our branch. He sat up front and looked so formal and official it was hard to believe that was MY Joseph sitting up there, laughing and talking with my branch president. They started the meeting and announced that President Ssempala would be presiding at the meeting. “President Ssempala”, it fit the man in the suit. I was a little startled to realize that the President Ssempala they were referring to was MY BOYFRIEND! People who preside at church are old men, not handsome kind men who smiled at me the way he did. I watched him wondering when and how this had happened. He looked up at me and winked. I blushed knowing that I probably wasn’t the only one in the congregation to notice.

"President Ssempala"

“President Ssempala”

As he was speaking his eyes caught mine several times and each time a huge smile would break out on his face. It gave me butterflies.

My Joseph

My Joseph

After church we went back to my apartment and watched The Last of the Mohicans.

The movie ended and we sat cuddled up on the makeshift couch. His arms tightened around me. “I love you,” he whispered to me again.

This time instead of asking him to take a chill pill I decided to take a different approach. “I know you do,” I said “Just tell me why? Every day people here claim they love me. I know you are different, but I just want you to tell me why it should mean more coming from you. I want to know why you love me.”

“I’m glad you asked”, he said, “I made a list”

He then started talking in great detail about various character traits that he had seen in me; he talked about how he had noticed them in me and why they were important to him. He reminded me of things that I had told him and experiences that we had together that had increased his feelings for me. Just as I was starting to feel a little insecure that maybe he only loved me for my ‘Sweet spirit” he told me that he thought I was beautiful and that he had put my picture as the wallpaper on his phone.

When he had said all he wanted to say, I was quiet for a few minutes, thinking of how I should respond. In all honesty I felt the same way about him and could have given him just as long of a list. I could have told him how my soul had longed for someone who would be as sure of his love for me and as confident in his desire to move forward as he was. I could have told him how I trusted him, how I could see the goodness in his heart and the proof of it in his actions. I could have told him how his optimism and continual smile brightened my day and made me feel so much more capable myself. I could have told him that I loved him. Finally I knew how to answer. “So are you going to kiss me now or are you going to leave me hanging all night…”

He didn’t leave me hanging.

This awful photo had to be included since it was taken just minutes after our first kiss.

This awful photo had to be included since it was actually taken (from skype) on that day.

The funny thing about Mathmatics

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I remember being a little kid and singing a song that went something like this, Joseph and Vilate (I just inserted our names here, I didn’t know back then that I would marry Joseph) sitting in a tree K.I.S.S.I.N.G. first comes LOVE then comes MARRIAGE, soon they’ll have a baby carriage. I didn’t really understand what It meant but to me all I knew was that it was some kind of horrible insult to sing that song with someone’s name in it. Especially if the two people DIDN”T like each other!

 

Well I found out what that means, it means that when you fall in love and get married a baby is soon to follow. Little did I know HOW SOON. So yes if you haven’t figured it out already. IM PREGNANT! It’s a moment that I have waited for and dreamed of most of my life.

It’s something that I thought I was SO ready for, and that I was going to just breeze through, because I would just be so grateful that I was pregnant that when a little nausea came along I would just laugh in its face and think how glad I am that a baby is growing inside me.

Reality took me by surprise, and as I leaned over that bucket throwing up memories of last years food, because I sure haven’t been able to get much down lately, being grateful that I was pregnant never crossed my mind. Now that’s not to say that I am not grateful, because I am and every day I find myself holding the place in my belly where I know that precious little body is growing and thinking that I would do anything to protect it. But in those moments when your body is starving and just wants food, and your stomach is being contrary and doesn’t have the first idea what it will accept and changes its mind every two minutes on what it wants to try and then promptly throws up what you do give it. It’s not gratitude that is first and foremost in your mind.  It’s usually pickles, or hamburgers, corn or Green Jello ( I don’t even eat green jello at home I have no idea where that one came from).

So now days I fall to sleep listening to the beautiful relaxing hypno birth recordings and dreaming of the day I will hold my baby in my arms and I wake in the middle of the night needing food, and other unmentionables, and just plain not being able to sleep. I cry for no good reason and sometimes for very good reasons. And its nothing I imagined, and everything I imagined and as Joseph kisses my belly in the morning and tells me to take care of his baby, I fill full. Plumb full of a Joy I never knew existed.