Today I’m half was through Cheri’s 366 Days of Blogging. For six months STRAIGHT I’ve written and posted every single day. And now I have six months ahead of me of writing and posting Every. Single. Day. I’ve gotten to the apex of my mountain and now I get to start going back down the other side. Or something like that. But rather than check off days in the count, like I learned in the hospital to do, I count up days.
When I was between 25 and 26 weeks pregnant, I was admitted to the hospital to stay until the babies were born. My doctor said the doors were shutting and locking behind me and I wasn’t leaving again until after delivery. That was on December 4. So that meant, if all went well enough that I remained pregnant into my third trimester, I’d be in the hospital through Christmas and New Years. It was going to be a long wait.
Some days I got dressed. That helped me feel like I wasn’t sick, that I wasn’t an invalid. When you’re depressed, one of the best first steps when you wake in the morning (once you’ve dragged your despondent self out from beneath the covers) is to get dressed. It feels more like you’re a part of humanity. So to avoid discouragement, I put on clothes when I could. But some days, that wasn’t possible when I was having uncontrollable contractions or on meds that rendered me bedridden.
When Christmas approached, Christmas cards started to arrive in the mail. Jason hung them up on a cork bulletin board on my hospital room wall so I could look at them everyday. My sisters hung holly garlands and twinkle lights along the ceiling and bed frame and anywhere else they could. It made my room less hospitally. On Christmas day, my doctor wrote me a pass so I could leave my room and go to the cafeteria to eat my Christmas dinner. Jason rolled me down in a wheelchair and together we ate spongy pressed turkey and dressing.
Once the holidays were over and it was time to clean up decorations, I didn’t want to throw away my pretty cards. An inspiration struck. It was elaborate and possibly tedious, but I had plenty of time, so why not? The inspiration showed me that to choose and aim for a target date to reach with my pregnancy was really only setting us up for failure. What if we didn’t make it? Would we be left feeling like the pregnancy wasn’t a success? What if we passed it? Would the extra days mean nothing?
There was a better way to track our progress and enjoy every day gained as a successful endeavor. The whole purpose of my existence at this point was to be an incubator and provide a safe place for our kids to keep growing and developing. Every day they stayed inside gave them a better chance of surviving, and doing so with less complications. So if we counted up, acknowledging each addition day, then every day we added was a reason to celebrate. To mark our progress, I cut numbers out of all of my Christmas cards. At the end of each day, Jason hung up the number to count the weeks and days we’d passed. It became our nightly ritual, along with Jason tucking me in with 20 pillows and setting my boom box to quietly play Enya. (At my insistence, he slept at home each night so he could get a better night’s sleep.) When you’re stuck in the hospital for two months, you have to develop a dependable routine to help you feel normal and in control. And you have to celebrate your victories.
The concept proved true. We hoped to get as far along as possible, but there was no way to tell how far that could be. By counting up there was never failure. Since then, I’ve applied this to other endeavors. If I want to eliminate something in my life, instead of saying something like I’ll never eat sugar again or I’m going a month without it, each day that I do without it goes into my “win” column. It can apply to exercise, eating, habits, relationships, whatever. Counting up is a positive option.
So now that I’ve counted up to six months on my daily blogging, I’m going to try to keep counting up, hopefully another six months, but it will be what it will be. Every day I get up and go to my computer, and everyday I produce another post, I get to add that day to my “win” column. So here I go. Here’s another day. Six months and a day. And counting. Up.
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