The Adventures of Bug and Boo

When Taking Care of Yourself Isn't Just About You

PregnancyRebecca O'LoughlinComment

Last month I had a little pregnancy scare. At the time it was pretty frightening, because I was afraid I was going into preterm labor at just shy of 31 weeks. And I knew that baby girl was transverse (sideways) so would not have been able to come out on her own at that point. I had a busy day and was doing a thousand things with the girls and when I finally got us in the car to drive over to my parents' house I realized that I was extremely nauseous and just didn't feel right. Shortly after we got there, all of a sudden my Braxton Hicks contractions (harmless, not real 'labor' contractions that most women have throughout their pregnancies) became intense, and started coming frequently and regularly. It got worse and worse and then I started to get sick. I hadn't had much to eat that day so before long the sick episodes were just heaving up bile (sorry, graphic) and they seemed to trigger contractions too. It was pretty horrendous. Instead of a nice afternoon of playing with the girls at Nana and Papa's house, it turned into me pretty much sitting on the floor of the loo, waiting to get sick again. Over the course of a couple hours I went from feeling pretty nauseous to having regular, intense Braxton-Hicks contractions, repeatedly vomiting, worse and worse chills, and a whole lot of trepidation. 

My dad drove us all home since there was no way I could drive, and stayed to help me get the girls in bed. I spent some time on the phone with the out-of-hours answering doctor for my OBGYN and he suggested I try to hydrate as best I could, and see if I could keep fluids down. (Apparently if you become dehydrated in pregnancy it can cause vomiting and bring on contractions - I did not know this!) If I couldn't keep fluids down, I'd have to go in for IV fluids, and if I did keep fluids down but the contractions didn't stop, I'd have to go in to triage. He kept telling me not to worry yet because I am not considered at high risk of preterm labor, since both my girls went nearly to term and my blood pressure is generally low rather than high. 

Even with that advice, it was so hard to keep calm, especially with M still out in Arizona for work and not due back until the next day. I half didn't want to tell him what was going on because I knew he'd worry, and I knew he couldn't catch an earlier flight than the one he already was scheduled on. And I kept telling myself that it wasn't labor, it wasn't labor....but all I knew was I felt the pain and pressure of regular, frequent contractions, and I just kept remembering that the last time I went into labor I didn't realize how far along in the labor I was and nearly didn't make it to the hospital in time. I was feeling so weak and lightheaded from the frequent vomiting episodes I just couldn't see how this was going to improve. I managed to drink half a glass of water, which came back up faster than I got it down. It was looking grim. My mom arrived to relieve my dad so he could go home and take care of their horses, and she settled in to spend the night. (Thank God for my parents being nearby, and so good at rolling with the punches!) She in all her motherly wisdom said to stop drinking cold water and take tiny frequent sips of tepid water instead. 

I was finally able to keep some fluids down and had an hour or two without getting sick, so I was told to try to get some rest and see if the contractions slowed down at all. I slept for maybe an hour or two but spent most of the night wide awake, worried, and supremely uncomfortable. I finally was able to fall asleep around 5 am, only to wake at 6:15 with Bug. Thank God by then the contractions had returned to an irregular, infrequent pattern of 'typical' Braxton-Hicks. I felt like I'd been hit by a truck but really, since emptying my stomach so much the day before, I'd only been able to drink maybe a glass and a half of water and a few sips of a Pedialyte solution, so I was still dehydrated. I was so relieved that I didn't have any indications of labor any longer but I could barely stand up for any period of time. 

The next few days were pretty low. I laid on the couch for most of them, feeling like I was operating at about 15% capacity. I canceled my trip to Nashville as I was supposed to leave less than 24 hours after the contractions finally slowed down, and I was so disappointed to miss my trip - my last solo venture before this little babe arrives, and a chance for a weekend of girly chat and catch-up with my friend Emily - but it worried the both of us that something could go wrong with me being so far from home. Turned out to be a wise move since there was no way I could have managed walking around various airports, changing flights, dragging luggage around - I couldn't even stand up to make lunch for the girls for a few days. And then since recovery was going so slowly, I had to miss my NYC bestie's newest babe's baptism :( and a chance to see her in person too! I won't lie, I was feeling pretty sorry for myself for a couple weeks there. 

Here's the thing: self-care is a phrase that gets tossed around a lot, and it obviously does mean taking care of yourself. But most people invest a lot of their own time and love and energy into relationships with the people they care about (be they children, parents, spouses, friends, whatever!). And one of the critical results of proper self-care is that you're rejuvenated enough to continue caring properly for those around you. I certainly see it when I take a few hours to do something outside of the house on a weekend - my patience level sort of resets, so I can begin the new week without any of the frustrations from the prior week resting on my shoulders. In pregnancy, you are so interconnected to that tiny life growing inside you that self-care is even more important. Something as simple as forgetting to drink enough fluids for a day or two turned into a worrying situation, and ultimately could have resulted in preterm labor. Thankfully it did not! But I was reminded that I can't put myself on the back burner as I usually do, when I'm focusing on the kiddos and getting things done around the house, because putting me on the back burner also puts this little growing baby on the back burner - and that's unfair. I'm the only one taking care of her - it's all on me.

Don't feel like you're being selfish. When you brush aside the idea of taking care of yourself first, remember that everyone around you also feels those positive effects of you taking care of yourself. Remember - it's not just about you! 

Beneath the Trees

Rebecca O'LoughlinComment

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Hump day. The middle of the week. Halfway to the weekend, halfway done with the workweek (whatever that looks like for you). It may still be cold up here but at least the sun is shining! Currently I am finding it much easier to write creatively, in response to prompts and such, than I am to write about the general goings-on in my life - for whatever reason! So I'm going with it and decided to share another little piece of a story that I was working on last month...

unsplash woods

She watched the road widen in front of her as she rounded the bend in the deep, green woods. Off to the left the cliff edge fell steeply, rocks and boulders haphazardly marking the perilous journey down to the crystal clear waters. She wanted to stop right there and leave the car, go and kneel on the edge of the road and bury her hands in the fresh earth, soak up the scent of the cool breeze drifting in from the sea. Soon, she thought to herself. Just keep going a little further

As she continued winding through the forest, she absentmindedly fingered the tiny wooden relic in her hand, so worn from decades of subconscious and superstitious rubbing that it was now completely smooth. She could just make out the carved shape of a black bear, but even if it looked like a mere piece of the smooth walnut wood it was made of she would still treasure the small token as if it were pure gold. A tear slid down her cheek before she even noticed that she was on the verge of crying, and she ignored it, letting it forge a wet path down her face and hang momentarily at the curve of her chin before it dripped down into her lap. She no longer had those heart-wrenching moments of sorrow and grief throwing her completely off balance, but the periodic waves of sadness continued to ebb and flow, ebb and flow, even several months later. They always will, she thought mournfully. 

Blinking several times, she focused again on the road ahead. The woods were so grown up along this part of the journey that the direct sunlight disappeared entirely, and only an emerald glow could be seen in pockets where the trees weren’t quite as close together. She was familiar with these roads, but it had been a long time since she had taken this path, so she wanted to be sure she didn’t miss the turn. She squinted and leaned over the steering wheel. There it was - nearly overgrown as always, but still visible if you were looking for it: a slight clearing amongst the brush, and a small weatherworn sign that was no longer legible. She pulled her car into the clearing and turned off the engine. Gripping the steering wheel tightly, she closed her eyes for a moment and gathered herself mentally. She wasn’t sure if she was ready for this. 

As she stepped out the only sound was the snap of a dry twig cracking underneath her foot. She paused and took a deep breath, looking up into the canopy of the trees above, searching for a break in the green and a hint of the afternoon sunshine. The sharp chirps of birds overhead calling warnings to each other about her presence returned her to the moment. She grabbed her bag from the front seat and slung it onto her back, then slid the tiny carved bear into her front pocket. Closing the door, she headed for the trail that she knew was on the other side of the clearing and began her long hike. readers, what do you think? How does this blurb make you feel? I always have such a clear picture in my head but this time I can see this branching off in a few directions, so I'm intrigued to see where this leads. When you read a story, do you name a character in your head that hasn't been named yet by the author? (Confession: I feel like that is the hardest part of a story for me, choosing a name for the main character - anyone else!?) 

A Blogger (Re)Introduction!

My StoryRebecca O'LoughlinComment

Heeeey there! I know that I just blogged on Monday (true story!) but before that post it had been a pretty long and unplanned break since I'd been active in this space. I was actually wondering how on earth to re-enter the blogosphere's orbit when my friend Emily reached out with her idea for a blogger re-introduction as many of us have been quieter than usual around here lately, and I jumped at the idea! 

So let's see....

I'm Rebecca! I am currently mom to two daughters aged 1 and 3, and have a third on the way shortly (yes, life is a little bit chaotic!). As if that weren't enough, we recently added a black lab puppy to the mix who is in desperate need of obedience school - but the girls adore him and he makes for good entertainment at times! I'm married for four years to a wonderful Irishman who had my heart from our very first date. I met M back when we were both living in London, and after getting married and starting our family over there, we decided to make the big move Stateside, back to the general vicinity of where I grew up in western NY state - which is totally bizarre after 12 years out! I blog here at The Adventures of Bug and Boo, which started two years ago as a way for me to keep all of our family and friends up-to-date on our escapades, since most lived far away from us in multiple countries and cities. (Bug is my nickname for my first kiddo, from "Lovebug," and Boo was my nickname growing up - clearly cringe worthy terms of endearment run in the family!) ;) In the time that I've been blogging, I've been learning an awful lot about parenting, having a few identity crises, and picking up some pretty great lessons about writing again too. 

I had a pretty successful career for over a decade at a large investment bank, and making the transition to stay at home mom hasn't always been easy. But it makes more and more sense with each little chick that we add to our nest, and that validates my decision a little more each time. I often miss things about living in Manhattan and London - but there are some wonderful treasures to be found living in a less hectic, more family-friendly environment that are priceless in comparison (certainly at this stage in my life!). Some of my favorite things? God's love, reading for pleasure (despite the hazards!), chocolate baked goods (think brownies, cakes...), spending time talking with friends, swimming, trying new recipes, writing (of course), family hugs, spicy food, traveling, and having mini adventures with my husband. 

And some more completely random pieces of information! :

Where was the last place you traveled to? San Francisco! In February I took a long weekend to visit my BFF from middle school, and meet her new baby. It was my first time on the west coast and I fell in love! SF is so different to NYC & London but it's an awesome city in its own right. And the FOOD...I will definitely be back! 

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are three materialistic things you'd take with you? A solar-powered mp3 player, a vending machine that dispenses limitless Chipotle, and an e-reader stocked with 1000s of books. 

When was the last time you tried something new, and what was it? I joined a D-Group last month. Think of it as an intense and awesome Bible study, where you focus heavily on reading scripture and work through your understanding of it with a small group. It's been so quenching for my spiritual growth and I've also become a part of a fantastic community of women as a result! 

If you knew you could not fail, what is the one thing you would do tomorrow? A cool answer would probably be 'run for President!' but there's no way I want that job! Something I'd truly LOVE to do?? Become a neurosurgeon. The brain is flippin' fascinating, folks. 

What is your earliest memory? I have vague memories of looking up at the corner of one of my first bedrooms, the wallpaper and colors and the window. But my earliest interactive memory is probably reading a Frog and Toad book at a screening for kindergarten entry when I was five years old. I remember liking the book and having to read it out loud into a cassette recorder. 

If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? I love spicy food from all different cultures so I'd probably say, burritos with fresh guacamole and salsa. 

Do you like your first name and why? If not, what would you change it to? I do like it, although I didn't growing up - there were seven other girls named Rebecca in my class year at school, and most had the same middle name too! I used to write pretend names in my journal, completely uncommon ones that were nothing like Rebecca - like Jaz, or Angel, ha. Now I love it because it's part of my identity, and it's what my parents chose to name me - specifically because of the meaning in their baby book ("bound to God"). I can't imagine being called anything else. 

If you could give yourself one gift, what would it be? Sleep! Oh, seriously? Still sleep. ;) OK. How about an endless supply of grace? Adulting is hard. Life is hard. Being better able to give myself grace in all of the mistakes I make, and not constantly hold them against myself, would be such a wonderful gift. 

Would you rather be the person asking the questions in a conversation or the person answering them? I don't mind answering questions at all, but I truly love to ask them. Inevitably someone's answer will trigger a follow-up question in my mind - I just love learning about what makes everyone tick! 

If you had to live in a place where only one season existed year-round, what would that season be? Spring. Visually I think it's the prettiest season with all the greenery and budding blossoms, and baby animals about. Plus it can be either nice and cool outdoors or edge towards warmer - but you rarely have to worry about snow and ice! 

If money was no object, what would you do all day? Read books, write a novel and a children's book, have living room dance parties with my girls and snuggle with them during their naptimes, bake, volunteer with charities that focus on social justice / giving a voice to the downtrodden, and go on a date with my husband. 

And now that you know everything there is to know about me, below are some truly awesome ladies whom I met on this fantastic blogging journey, and who have since become friends and wise counsel to me on many topics ranging from learning Mandarin to hosting linkups. Definitely go and check out their re-introduction posts too, you won't regret it! 

Knock on Wood Blog.jpg

Amanda || Knock on Wood 

If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? I would totally be cool with eating pizza for the rest of my life. You can switch up the toppings and essentially have something different each day. Plus you still get all of the food groups!



Cassie || Sage

Would you rather be the person asking the questions in a conversation or the person answering them? I’m a complete introvert and have been told that I don’t talk about myself very often, so I guess that implies I would rather be the person asking the questions in a conversation.

Anne || Love the Here and Now 

If you could give yourself one gift, what would it be?  Without fail, it would be self-confidence.  I constantly second guess decisions and choices and don’t attempt new things because of a fear of failing or judgement.  Truth be told, I could fail and be judged and I would be ok.  Self-confidence would give me the edge I need not to care about those things and would enable to me to live free of doubt, fear, and feelings of inadequacy.

If you knew you could not fail, what is the one thing you would do tomorrow? I would do web development/design. It is a dream of mine, but I'm struggling to find time to study and perfect it!




Kelly || Southern Komfort Blog 

If you could give yourself one gift, what would it be? I would have to say the gift to be able to travel (no worries about money, who would take of the pups, boring adult things). I would love to travel all around the nation and the world, just meeting people and doing life with them



Emily || Ember Grey

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are three materialistic things you'd want with you? A notebook, pen, and Sun-In. (Obviously.)





Christine || Christine Everyday 

If you knew you could not fail, what is the one thing you would do tomorrow? I would go skydiving! That’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and if I knew for sure that I wouldn’t crash-land, I’d totally sign up.




Meagan || All the Joys 

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are three materialistic things you’d want with you?  A camera with unlimited memory, chapstick and a Kindle preloaded with hundreds of books.  (too much?)



Emelia || Dream Big and Buy the Shoes

If you knew you could not fail, what is the one thing you would do tomorrow? I’ve always had the dream to be a wedding planner, but I would love to work with all types of events. I have a love of details and creating beautiful memories, so I would give it all to be an Event Planner and have the opportunity to make special moments for other people.




Enjoy getting to know all of these awesome ladies!! And do me a favor and share one of *your* answers to the questions above in the comments - I love hearing from you! :) 


Pregnancy with Toddlers is No Joke...

PregnancyRebecca O'LoughlinComment

Guys, pregnancy the third time around is serious business. I mean, the first two weren't exactly walks in the park but let's just add in chasing around 2 extremely active yet needy toddlers all day - plus a not-yet-trained-but-nearly-fully-grown puppy - and the fact that I'm 5 years older than I was with my first....eek. I suppose it's not all that surprising that this one really has me whipped! 

My 3 year old craves constant interaction as all she wants to do is play pretend - whether it's a restaurant where she's the cook and waitress and I'm the customer; or else it's house and she's the mommy, I'm the baby, and Peanut is inevitably the dog (poor kid). Peanut flies back and forth between wholly independent and playing off on her own, and teetering back towards me and wanting to sit on my lap or play right next to myself and Bug. The only problem with those glorious periods of independence are her refusal to listen to me when I tell her not to do / touch / climb something and her 150% mischievous nature, which requires me to vigilantly watch her even when she's happy playing on her own. I turn my back for a second and she decides to try and jump out of a moving wagon when we're going for a walk, or she tries to climb from their playchairs onto the table and stand's always something! 

Take a few weeks ago, for example - during my 'calm' hour and a half of Tuesday mornings when Bug is at school, the dog somehow gets himself untethered from the cable his collar was securely attached to and I don't realize it until I pass a window about 15 minutes after putting him on the front porch and realize I can see the hook but not the furball...I panic and run out into the front yard to try and call him back from wherever he's gone, looking all over the circle that we're on and on either side of the house, then run back inside to find my shoes and figure out what to do with Peanut when I see him out the back window, sprawled in the neighbor's yard, chewing on a giant piece of aluminum foil (which I don't know where it came from or why he's chewing it as it seems dangerous!!). Ten minutes of me trying to coax him back into the house follow, all of which seems to be the most fun game ever to this dog as he proceeds to run towards me and then scoot just out of reach each time and lay down, waiting for me to come closer. Even the lure of treats didn't help! I finally put his bowl of lunch on the back step and stood back and grabbed him the second he went close to sniff it. I get him inside to discover that all of his ID tags are now missing from his collar - they're nowhere to be found so unless he went farther in his travels before returning home, it's highly likely that he's eaten them at this point. And then once Jack is safe inside the house and the back door is shut and locked I realize that Peanut is not in the playroom or the living room, where I left her. She's dropped or tossed her cup which is leaking a huge puddle of milk onto the hardwood floors of the kitchen, the front door is unlocked from me looking for the dog but she's too short to reach the handle, she's not answering me when I'm calling for her....until I see the baby gate at the foot of our crazy stairs hanging ajar. Yup, there she is - climbed to the very top of the bilevel stairway and is laughing at the fun of doing something she's not supposed to, but thank GOD is just sitting at the top step swinging her legs in glee. When we finally settle down to play upstairs, I take quite literally TWO MINUTES to put some of Bug's clean clothes in her drawer and when I step back into the hallway, I hear water. Never a good sign. Quick investigation shows that she's pretty much attempting to swim in the toilet - splashing the water up and out of the bowl, soaking the bathroom and herself. I mean....she gets major points for how quickly she's learned to go straight for the things she knows she's not supposed to get into, in case Mom comes running to stop her! 

I have to admit, despite the craziness and harried situations that frequently occur, there are plenty of adorable moments too - like when they both try to squeeze onto my rapidly-shrinking lap space to read a book, they both attempt prenatal yoga beside me (ha!), or Bug hugs my tummy and says goodnight to her baby sister in utero. Those moments (usually) make up for the insane ones! 

It's been a while since I've been in this space - what's new with you?! :) 

A Vulnerable Sharing

Rebecca O'LoughlinComment

It's been a long time since I sat and wrote anything creatively. A LONG time. So much so that I actually started a journal entry a few days ago entitled, "Wherein I Lament the Demise of My Creativity" and then decided I was being far too dramatic and fatalistic, and quickly searched online for a creative writing prompt to get the juices flowing. If you recall, my word of the year is "do," and there were many things attached to that word - in the eco-friendly, natural, homemade space but also in terms of personal goals in writing, and pursuing social justice in some way. One thing I wrote as a goal for writing, was just DO it. Stop attaching all of my expectations to it, take all of the pressure off, and just simply write again. So, in the aim of sharing the real me in this space, here's a little from my very first creative writing prompt in well over a decade. I'm well out of practice of writing in the third person...but enough excuses. Here goes:  

image via unsplash

image via unsplash


She sits, waiting. Staring out the window blankly, not even registering the last stubborn remnants of snow clinging to the far edges of the garden, or the faint twittering of the first birds to herald the coming of spring. She sees and hears none of it. She is lost deep inside her mind, wandering, wondering. And waiting. 

There is so much that lies ahead and myriad things that must be done. Many would feel that call to action, and rise up in response, begin to move, to do. But not she. She feels no urge in this moment, no gravitational pull in any direction, as if Newton's law doesn't apply at all. Instead she floats in a space somewhere between earth and the stars, patiently watching the ants marching beneath her from home, to work, to home again, all to start again the next day. She sees it from afar, but does not recognize it. 

She blinks and almost imperceptibly shakes her head, as if she's attempting to shake off the somnolence that lightly rests upon her like a veil. Her eyes attempt to focus on the world directly in front of her. For a moment, it is almost as if she fully sees. Her pupils dilate in their first response to the sunlight beaming into the room, and her eyes narrow, squinting ever so slightly, as she tries to discern what she finally sees just outside the window's clear glass. 

But then, a small noise is heard from an unseen room nearby. A quiet calling, a nonsensical syllable in a voice that is too shrill, too used to being muted. And that tiny atmospheric change is all it takes; she silently retreats back into her shell, back into herself. No longer focusing, no longer seeing. She is only aware of what is inside her own head again - whatever vast and haunting things have taken up residence since she was last able to clear out the dusty cobwebs hanging in the corners of her fragile mind. There, amongst the clutter, she waits. 


OK, fellow writers and readers. Thoughts? Critiques? Share, please!!