When we got to the doctor’s office and checked in, I didn’t even have time to sit. A nurse took me right into the ultrasound room and had me hop up on the table.

“Do I need to take my pants off?” I asked.

“Uh . . .” She looked down at my chart. “Nope. You’re fourteen weeks, so they won’t be doing an internal ultrasound at this point. Everything will be outside. She’ll be in shortly.” She flashed me a quick smile and closed the door behind her.

Kacie sat on the chair in the opposite corner of the room, her legs bouncing up and down.

“Knock it off,” I said as I lay back on the table. “You’re making my nervousness nervous.”

Her face fell. “Sorry, I’m just so—”

The door opened and in walked Sandy, the tech who had done most of my ultrasounds.

“Hey, honey!” she said cheerfully, squeezing my arm as she walked around me to her machine.

I wasn’t so upbeat. “Hey.”

“Okay, I know you must be a wreck, so let’s skip the small talk and see what you have going on.”

I nodded and turned my head to the TV hanging on the wall, praying that I would see a little blinking white light any second. Sandy spread warm jelly on my stomach and put the wand on top of it. She moved it just a couple of times, and there it was in plain view: a cloudy little figure with two arms, two legs, a big round belly . . . and a blinking heart. Relief washed over me and my eyes teared up.

“There it is,” Sandy said, sounding almost as relieved as I felt.

“And everything’s okay?” My voice cracked.

“Baby looks great so far. I’m going to take a bunch of pictures and see if I can find out what’s going on, so if you hear me snapping away, don’t get nervous, okay? It’s just me being thorough for the doctor.”

I nodded as a tear dripped from the corner of my left eye. Kacie stood and walked over behind me a little bit, taking my hand in hers.

Sandy clicked several pictures and then froze in one spot. “Hmmm,” she hummed.

My head whipped around to her. “What? Is something wrong?”

“Wrong? No. But I know what you’re having,” she said as a big smile spread across her face. “Do you want to know?”

“Yes!” Kacie blurted out before I could answer.

“Wait. I don’t know. Do I?” I looked over at Kacie. “He’s not here. Should I wait and see if he wants to find out, too?”

Kacie cocked her hip to the side and crossed her arms over her chest. “You want me to answer that honestly, because there will be a lot of four-letter words involved.”

“You’re right. Don’t answer that.” I turned back to Sandy. “Spill it.”

“Well,”—she grinned and shook her head as she stared down at her screen—“look up there and you can probably see it for yourself.”

I looked back at the TV.

“Let’s just say your baby isn’t very shy and is opening nice and wide for us.” Sandy let out a quick laugh. “See that little bulge right in the middle there? It’s a boy!”

My eyes welled up again as I squeezed Kacie’s hand hard. “Are you sure?”

“Yep. If it were a girl there would be three little lines. Definitely a boy . . . and from what I can tell he likes to show it off.”

“Like father, like son.” I laughed. In the back of my mind, a pang of sadness reared its ugly head. I had no idea how or when to tell Viper this news, nor did I know how he would react to it, but I chose to put that sadness in a box for later and just be ecstatic about my son. My son.

 

As it turned out, I had a small bleed—a subchorionic hematoma—that the doctors would have to keep a close eye on, but they reassured me that it typically fixes itself and told me just to take it easy for a couple of weeks. I was on cloud nine as we left the office and walked back to the car, unable to take the smile off my face.

Kacie stared down at the ultrasound pictures she was carrying, the extra set she’d asked Sandy to print for her.

“I can’t believe you did that.” I nudged her. “What are you going to do with ultrasound pictures of my baby, anyway?”

“Who knows?” She shrugged. “I might wait until bedtime and casually hand them to Brody. He’ll probably crap his pants, but it would make me laugh, so it’s all worth it in the end, right?”

“If you do that, you better video it and send it to me.” I laughed as I shook my head. “Seriously though, thank you for coming with me today. I was really scared.”

“I know you were,” Kacie said sincerely. “I was, too. I’m so happy he’s fine.”

I exhaled loudly. “Me, too. And I can’t believe we found out so early!”

“I know!” she exclaimed. “Now Auntie Kacie can start shopping!”

 

 

A couple days after the game, I was still high on adrenaline. I’d gone to two more home games, but that part was about to end because the Wild was heading out of town for a road trip . . . which might have been a blessing after all. Coach Collins asked if I wanted to go with, but I told him no. There were things at home I needed to deal with, and I knew I needed to deal with them, I just needed to figure out how.

In the afternoon, I headed off to therapy with a lot on my mind, hoping that Sherman would kick my ass and make me sweat it all out.

Sherman was leaning against the front counter when I walked in.

I froze in the doorway. “Are you kidding me with that?”

“With what?” He raised his hand defensively.

My eyes traveled up and down his outfit. He had on bright blue shorts, yellow socks that went up to his calves, a SpongeBob T-shirt and heart-shaped sunglasses that sat on top of his head. “That!”

He looked down at himself and back up at me. “You don’t like my outfit?”

“Is that what we’re calling it?” I answered with a laugh.

“You’re just jealous that you can’t pull something like this off. Now, shut up and get your ass on the bike!” He pointed.

I went over and did my ten minutes, just like I had done at the beginning of every therapy session for the last six weeks. My time on the bike had become both a blessing and a curse. I was forced to sit in one spot with no distractions. If Sherman saw me on my phone, he’d walk over and take it away, so I didn’t even bother pulling it out anymore. I sat on the uncomfortable bike seat and rode while I stared out the window and took stock of my life, or what was left of it.