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Please excuse my dirty camping toes.

The kids and I were on our way to visit their dad in the hospital a few of weeks ago when I (starving) ripped open the bag of Fritos we’d just bought as a treat for dad and shoved a handful of them in my face.

“Those are for Dad!” 6-year old Chris protested.

“Yeah? Talk to me the next time you have a baby in your tummy,” I snapped, tossing back another handful.

I’m not so great at being pregnant. Why then, (you might ask) am I doing this a fourth time? I have three shining examples of the end result sleeping like angels down the hall. Would you quit if you produced that quality of work? Didn’t think so. Still, those nine months required to cook a new member of the family don’t go very smoothly for anyone involved.

It’s hard for me to admit that I suck at pregnancy. Of course, all of you who see me on a regular basis already know this about me but I expect more of myself.

Allen was planning a camping trip with my brothers when we found out this baby was on his way. It was scheduled right around the end of my first trimester and Allen knew he was out. “Why?” I asked him, baffled.

“Well,” Allen hedged, “you’re pregnant. You’re going to be tired, I don’t want to leave you alone.”

I’ll be fine! What, you can’t leave me because I’ll be three months pregnant? Me and the boys manage just fine without you here, you know!” Was he insinuating that I’m incompetent? I’m pregnant. Not broken.

“I don’t think you’re remembering how sick you get,” Al added softly, not making eye contact.

He was right. It was awful. I couldn’t function. Poor guy had to pick up all the slack. If he had left me at that point, as sick as I was, as tired as I was, after his semester had just ended… well, we won’t dwell on that. It wouldn’t have been pretty.

Things got somewhat better. I’ve been functioning. Living. Until the third trimester. I swear it was that day that I swelled up. And the back pain. Ow!!! My hips feel broken. Though the swelling finally abated, it was immediately replaced by killer Braxton-Hicks contractions and a fierce second round of “morning” sickness.

My arms and legs get shaky at the mere thought of physical exertion.

I feel like I’m going to cry. All the time. Okay, so I do cry! All the time! Everything is wrong, everyone is mean, my house is a disaster, I’m a failure of a mother, I can’t walk!

Allen and I laugh about the women we call “terminally pregnant”. They quit showing up, helping out, being part of the world in any way. Why? They’re pregnant. Makes perfect sense to them if not to the rest of the world.

But here I am: Almost two whole months before my due date and I’ve given up walking. I want to give up everything else but I’m not quite there yet. I’m still getting to the kids’ school to help out a couple of times a week. I do some small amount of grocery shopping. I get all the important laundry done. I even make dinner a couple of times a week. It could be worse. It will be worse.

What do I have to say for myself? I’m sorry. To everyone who knows me… everyone in my life: I apologize. I’m doing my best. I’m quite obviously failing but I’m giving it all I’ve got. I’m sorry if you don’t get a birthday present or even a card. I’m sorry if I snap at you on the phone. I’m sorry if I yawn while you’re talking to me. I’m sorry if my kids’ reading logs aren’t filled in and signed. I’m sorry that my house is a disaster even though I knew you were coming. I’m sorry that I get angry so quickly. I’m sorry I haven’t checked in. I’m sorry I didn’t call/email/text you back. I’m sorry I’m so whiny. I’m sorry I threw up with you on the phone. And I’m sorry it will all probably get worse once the baby actually gets here.

Thank you for loving me anyway!