When you’re pregnant, each doctor’s visit is a total emotional roller coaster. Triathletes know that race day is always a day with more than its fair share of emotions. You get that combination of being utterly terrified and overly excited all wrapped up into one gut-wrenching feeling in the pit of your stomach! Well, when you’re pregnant, the monthly (and then weekly) visits to the OBGYN are not that different, especially if the visit is coupled with an ultrasound. First there is the dreaded urine sample that must be given every. single. time. It just gets annoying. After all, who likes peeing in a cup? However, I’ve gotten surprisingly good at it! The pee cup scenario is like pumping up your tires and checking in your gear on race day—you’re always like, okay, let’s just get this done so we can get on to the good stuff. Then, for me, there’s the absolutely horrifying and ever-shameful weigh-in. A friend of mine suggested I turn my back to the scale. But as I mentioned in my last blog I am a counter and I just need to know that number, as painful as it may be. I warned the nurse at my last appointment that I was going to cry prior to stepping on the scale. And I did. All she said was, “I understand.” That’s all she needed to say. Week 22… and I swear I’m happy! From an emotional standpoint, this would be like getting off your bike and starting your run with Jello-legs. It’s just emotionally exhausting. And it’s hard every time, no matter how well prepared you think you are for it. Then I wait for the doctor to come in and ask all the routine questions and discuss any issues or concerns I may have. Luckily I haven’t had any issues or concerns in either of my pregnancies. I feel extremely fortunate for that. The doctor has never scolded me for my weight gain. In fact, she is very encouraging; reminding me that pregnancy can often be purely about survival. No rules, no guidelines, just pure hang-on-for-dear-life survival. Like the nurse that weighed me in, she just gets it. Next to the ultrasound, hearing the heartbeat is the best part of the visit. It’s so loud and strong and surreal. It’s my reminder that there is life inside me and I am helping that little heartbeat grow every day. I once read that for the first year of life a mother and her baby can get their heartbeats to within 1/1000 of a second of each other just by looking at each other. That’s the scientific proof of that bound between a mother and child. Worth every pound! But the ultrasound is a whole new ball game. From the moment it starts, I just hope it never ends. I focus on that wall-mounted flat screen like I have never focused on anything before. I try to make out all the body parts and facial features and slightest of movements. I ask questions in hopes of prolonging the experience and I am always sad when it’s over. The only feeling I can compare watching the ultrasound to is rounding the turn and seeing the finishing arch. It’s pure joy every, damn, time. I’ve built our son a spacious and cozy home inside of myself. I absolutely love getting a glimpse of his experience in there, even if that means peeing in a cup and seeing that number on the scale go higher and higher. In my mind, during the ultrasound, I’m telling him to enjoy it while it last because in less then three months he gets to join me in the real world, and I get my body back. But for now… it’s all yours, I’m just trying to survive your stay!