Sunsets and sunrises! 

I am not an early riser! So this love of sunrises is conflicting. My alarm goes off and I am instant filled with a dilemma. On the one hand – I want the shot, on the other hand – I want my sleep!! 

Early bird catches the worm and all that!! I have some fab shots from various places, early morning here often means fog and I LOVE LOVE LOVE these shots more than anything. 

Here are a few ūüôā 

What are your favourite shots that you take? 

Beauty and travel 

The summer time always makes me want to travel. Sunshine and blue skies always seems like a waste when you are rushing around working and doing normal life stuff. 

We don’t just stop to appreciate it. 

I am doing a bit of a push on editing some of my images in my spare time at the moment. We are very blessed to have travelled as much as we have and we still have so much more to do. I don’t know if I am ever going to be any good at photography but I love doing it so much it almost doesn’t matter. 

Dreaming of doing something isn’t enough. Dreams are a wonderful thing but I want to do it. Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words. It’s time for change in my life again. Losing my cousin this year should make us realise life is too short. It’s not always about the big things, it can just be taking that extra time to relax. We are here for such a brief moment of time. Will you look back and think, I am so pleased I stressed out about my job or will you remember the laughing and adventures. 

Yes indeed talk is cheap it’s time for action!! 

Surviving heartbreak…my guide to 11 years of trying for a baby.¬†

Firstly thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the messages and e mails I have had in support.

Really deciding to blog about the miscarriage was a form of therapy for me, to get it out of my head and try to heal! I had no idea how many people out there it would touch and it does make it worth it. The amount of support that you my lovely readers have given me is amazing and it really helps me too. 

It’s such a taboo subject often uncomfortable for some to read, but for as long as your stories come back to me and the thanks messages I will continue to write. 

The intention was not to blog about fertility but about my life up here in the countryside however it’s such a huge part of my life it’s hard not to write about it. 

I am often asked questions about handling certain situations from both perspectives and the truth is ….. I’m no expert. The titles a little naughty because have I really survived ? I don’t know. But I wanted to try and give you some of my 11 plus years experience of trying for a baby because if that’s the one thing I succeed in, helping others from my experiences, it’s something positive to come out of it. 

Honesty is not always the best policy. 

While it’s true to say having open dialog for me with those around me having kids is important, give yourself time. I have found a lot of the thoughts in reaction to something people say or do are usually irrational and not my real feelings. It’s like a little monster trying the fuel the anger fire so that you don’t have to deal with the pain. 

It passes normally for me and I start to sort through my feelings, then that’s the time I feel ready to talk. 

Learn to accept that people do not know the right things to say! 

This goes for both sides of the coin. From my point of view early on I would get defensive and hurt when people said anything to “try and help” here are some examples:

“Don’t worry time is on your side it will happen!!”

“I have a friend who has been trying for x years then bang pregnant at 40!!”

“Oh god be thankful they are a bloody nightmare!!”

“What I would give for one kid free weekend”

Worst- “you’d hate it no more handbags for you!”

Worst still “stop trying it will happen”

While all of the above are from the heart, genuinely people do not know what to say.  What one might say to one friend might not be right for another. For me I am lucky in that I haven’t felt jealousy to the point of resentment but I know some people who have and it just makes an all round awkward. 

Truth – there is no right thing to say and give your friends and family a break, if they say something truly hurtful to you then talk it out. But accept they just don’t know how to make you feel better. It’s not intentional. 

There is no time limit on grief. 

This is something I have noticed more and more as time goes on. In my early twenties everyone would say – it will happen give it time. Now in my mid thirties mainly people avoid the subject or in some cases I get the impression they feel like I should just get over it and move on. 

Until someone has gone through this it’s impossible to understand. If they don’t have that needed for children, again it’s hard. 

There is no time frame , it’s not for anyone else to tell you how long you should keep that dream alive. Don’t waste time thinking about why they don’t undestand. You can’t control other people’s thoughts and what they say. You will know when it’s time and that’s the only opinion that matters. 

Try not to go over the top with happy when someone is pregnant

This is something I have been guilty of repeatedly. While of cause I feel genuine happiness for new babies trying to brave face it can be exhausting. I am not suggesting being miserable but I have found over the many many new lives I have welcomed most people will look at me gone out like they are waiting for the crack if I’m over the top happy, if you genuine are that over the moon great! If not don’t fake it too much. Deep breathes be cool! Look at the little bundle of joy – those little dudes are cute. It helps. 

On the flip side – to those friends and family having the kids don’t try to hide your joy. We already feel so much guilt that you have to be in this situation because of our issues, to hide the news or hold in your happiness isn’t fair on you and makes us feel worse. Ok maybe not a Ta Dah I’m pregnant deal with it bitch, but talk it out and hope they can be happy for you. 

I think this is an area to be honest, be considerate your news may sting and give your friend or family member time to adjust. But let them deal, you can’t change your news and have a right to be happy, don’t assume they don’t want that for you. 

This is one of the saddest parts for me, everyone in my life has to deal with my problems. I hate that. 

Try not to avoid being around kids. 

Firstly let me say if you really can’t handle being around kids, maybe get a little help to cope. It’s hard sometimes but I have always emersed myself in the children I knows lives. I would have missed out on so much if I hadn’t.

I can name a few times I have sat in a room full of mums and felt like an alien with nothing to contribute to the conversation but the good times far out weigh the bad moments. I have had so much joy from the kids in my life that it’s sad to think some of my fellow sufferers are missing out because it’s too painful. 

Recently when all four of my nieces and nephew were staying there was a moment when we were all snuggled on the couch my hubby included, watching the movie Home and I felt so happy. Those moments make some of the pain so much better and the love those kids have for us definitely makes it easier to deal with the rest. 

Give yourself a break! 

I don’t know about you but I spend a lot of time beating myself up. You can not change what is, you can not control what others say or do. You can only focus on your thoughts and feelings. 

As much as it isn’t my fault I can’t sucessfully have children, I can not control what my body does. I have spent a lot of time beating myself up! This is a hard lesson to learn. I haven’t chosen this for myself and my husband, in fact that’s the most frustrating thing – I haven’t controlled any of it. There was no choice here!!

I still feel enormous guilt to my mother whom only had me so will never be a grandparent. To my husband who will never be a father. To his brother who will never be a uncle to our children.  To my best friend who so desperately wants this for me. Time has helped me realise I can not change this, the guilt has to stop. I have to take responsibility to deal with my feelings. 

Finally ……. Let it out. 

I have always had my writing and art, letting it out for me doesn’t always mean talking. But find a way to release the pain that works for you. 

Through the worst bits of this miscarriage and I am far from done even now, but I feel a real distance from everyone. I don’t really want to be around a lot of people, I feel best in my house. Which I know to some may seem wrong but to me it’s getting through it as best I can. It is important to let it out in some way however. 

This weekend I had some time alone while my hubby was out and I wrote a letter to my lost babies and took it to the river at the bottom of my road. For the first time I let it out, that monster that’s clawed at me from the inside for  years for every heartbreak, every loss, every “smile and get through it” moment, for every degrading procedure, for every moment of agony, for every time I have felt that vice like grip around my heart. The anger at the world for why me???? – the one thing a woman should do and I can’t. 

I cried, I sobbed – for an hour and a half at the waters edge until there was nothing left and then I burnt the words and let them fall into the water and float away. 

Do I feel better!? Not completely, but it’s helped. Perhaps opening the flood gates needs to happen because brave facing it is exhausting. 

So have I truly survived heartbreak? Well yes I think I have, it might not be pretty and not everyone can understand but I have done the best I can.  

I do truly believe one day it won’t hurt so much. I was almost there before this last loss. 

There isn’t one formular to surviving or supporting someone through this, I suppose that’s my point. Try to put yourself in the other persons shoes for a moment before speaking or acting. 

Being human doesn’t come with a handbook. No one knows the right things to say or do all the time, we just do the best can. 

Ask for help when you need it. 

Talk it out when you feel ready. 

Forgive those who may say or do the wrong thing. 

Mostly forgive yourself!!

Until next time xoxo 

The Lambs, and the birth of a calf part two……

At last we spoke, I had just arrived at my friends farm. I know very little about the workings of a farm I just know that I love animals so any excuse to spend time with them I will  and of cause my friend and her family, especially her farm-house cooking!

Over the last couple of weeks I have witnessed the birth of 5 lambs and 1 calf, I don’t think I can express the sheer excitement I feel when waiting for that new life to enter the world.

My first visit to the farm was a few weeks ago at the time I wrote my first blog, the barn was filled to the brim with little dancing lambs, Ewes, cows, calf’s and even a puppy!¬† My second visit was last weekend, we went for weekend boxing celebrations and more lamb cuddle’s the barn was a little less busy!!IMG_3075My friend Marie and her family live on this amazing farm, in the middle of no where…… I do mean no where…….

IMG_3029IMG_3043No main roads, No other buildings, in the middle of no where!

No main roads, No other buildings, in the middle of no where!

Marie was a townie like myself but has merged into farming life beautifully,¬† it’s always a pleasure to be around this family. Marie and I have been friends since we were babies, in fact along with my best friend Amanda I can’t remember a time we didn’t know each other, we all lived on the same street growing up. Marie’s Nana and my Nana were even best friends so it feels like being with family when we all get together.

The farm is so peaceful, there is a bitterly cold wind the type that gets down to your bones but even that couldn’t dampen my excitement!!

After a brief catching up we went into the barn and I was in animal heaven! I have mentioned before that snuggling one of those wooly jumpers with legs has been a to do list thing for a while, when I actually got my hands on one it was near perfection. With its little warm fuzzy body pressed to mine, at first I was worried I was stressing it out as its little heart pitter pattered against my hand, but the lovely snuggles and nibbles told me otherwise.

Within this cavernous barn there were lambs, sheep, cows and their calfs, pregnant cows and a baby sheep dog Billy hidden in the comfy corner, he is just a bundle of bouncy fur with eyes! Sorry Marie I had to steal your picture of him!!

Even Lewis the cat gets in on the action!

IMG_2954IMG_3005The Brown family all work to keep this farm running including the kids,  the freedom for the children out in the countryside is amazing. They are so independent and are able to be off out enjoying the fresh air, they are very aware of the dangers of farming life and seem to be more sensible for this!

There is something wonderful about watching the kids tend to the animals. Marie and Ian’s (Her Husband) children Ellie, Rose and little Florrie (who needs her own blog she is so hilarious, a little old woman trapped in a toddler)¬† get stuck in with the farming chores and have no problems getting dirty, watching Florrie toddling around with a lamb under each arm is unbelievably cute!

This last weekend was a family gathering and these little lovelies looked after their cousins who were up here also.

Florie and a lamb!RoseTeigan, one of Marie's neices.IMG_3082

Some of the pics here – Top left Florrie , top right Rose, bottom left Teagan (Marie’s niece) and bottom right Florrie and the lamb =D

Ian, Mary (Ian’s mother) and David (Ian’s dad) all work hard, so hard. I enjoy being around them very much, don’t get me wrong I would love to trade the stress of deadlines and sales targets for a slice of this wonderful life but it’s so tough I am not sure I am cut out for it. I don’t think there is much call for beautiful handbags on the farm!

By the time of our first visit the Brown’s were already a month or so into Lambing season, which is a 24hr job. Sleep is a luxury but you can clearly see the love and passion for the job in everything they do. By the second visit a couple of weeks later, they were looking a little zombieish =D

Although it was already quite late on that first evening, surrounded by the sounds of the different animals, they still found the passion when talking to us about their job. Showing us the various breeds of sheep and their lineages. Some descended from show winners! The examples of good ones and bad ones for resale and showing. David often joking about the leaping £ signs and their fate, he knows I would keep them all as pets given the choice. However I know they are all soft-hearted, and Davids teasing is just that. There were examples of their compassion all around me.

For example the below pic is of a little fella that was lame, he wasnt even standing, now a cold-hearted business person may have seen this as a waste of feed and time, not the Browns! Ellie, the eldest daughter, was determined to get him to walk! When I left after our first visit she promised me that he would be up and around no matter what! And guess what? On my second visit for the boxing party  Рhe was up and about!! I even got kisses off him!! see below!!

IMG_3067Watching David, Ian, Mary and Marie wandering round hand feeding orphaned lambs, the work involved in fostering the orphaned to a new mother, the time checking their little bellies are full, that they are warm and comfortable you can really see the dedication to their “job” and I word job loosely as I think it’s more of a lifestyle!

Ian told me of the terrible snow fall in April a couple of years ago that killed so many of those vulnerable little lambs out in the fields across the UK, they rounded their flock up into shelter and then spent all of the next day digging them out of drifts – they only lost one lamb! There is so much love, care and passion for the job and its evident from everything they do.

Now I am not getting into the vegetarian argument whats right or wrong that not the point of this post, but I will say this, for those of you concerned with where your meat is coming from, which I am, seeing the effort the Brown’s put into this stage of the process is a proud statement for British farming.

I am a complete hypocrite I will hold my hands up to it, I like my meat shrink wrapped and not resembling anything like the animal it came from, but I enjpy being a meat eater and I couldn’t do without it. But I also love the animals and don’t want them to suffer so to know there are farmers out there like the Brown’s, making sure their stock are well looked after, healthy and happy for the time they are with them makes it a little easier for me and I am proud to buy british products!

I had never, up until this first visit, witnessed any sort of birth first hand. As we were making plans to leave Ian already had noticed a Ewe starting to get ready. I find it interesting that they constantly have their eyes on the pregnant Ewes and know when they are close, of cause they can labour alone but its much safer for the farmer to be on hand as I witnessed.

The barn is a very organised system, so Ian knows who is about to birth and when they are in labour, there are signs the farmer recognises. The farmers also have the sheep scanned so they know how many lambs are being born and keep track of this by colour coding their backs or sides. The Ewe about to give birth had triplets inside her and she needed some help, sadly the first lamb out didn’t make it. It was a sad moment and again another example of the love and care given. I could see David, the very same lovely man who had been joking was a little quite, he doesn’t like to lose any of them. The other two were perfect and out safely, one boy one girl – named after me Sharron and my husband Ben. I am pleased to report they are both still doing well! The second Ewe went into giving birth soon after this and she gave birth to two perfect lambs. I was amazed by it! I could have stayed all evening, listen to those little ones barring playing.

Ian confided in me afterwards that the best moment for him is watching them hop skip and jump about in the fields, he feels like job well done, I have to agree job really is well done. Go on admit, when you see those little babies jumping and playing together with their little tails wagging – who can resist a smile?!

The second visit to the farm was to be a weekend of fun and I would like to say the animals were the main attraction but sadly the lads in our little party were raring to watch the boxing match that was being shown over night early hours of the morning. I am not a boxing fan but it was a fun night! We didnt get home until 7.30am and we were planning to go back to the farm to continue the fun later that day – I should point out that I don’t drink so was safe to do this!

I love this time of day and with the fresh air I was wide awake by the time we got home, made worse by the suicidal bunny’s intent on going under the van as I drove, sleep was a struggle – don’t worry I missed them all!!

The lads enjoying the boxing from left Shaun Mckie (Maries brother), Ian brown, Ben (my husband), Steven Mckie (Maries other brother) and Luke Mckie (Stevens son)

The next day, no sorry later that day……. we freshened up and headed back to continue the fun, Ian is again an example of a total legend, proving farmers don’t need much sleep! He had no sleep from saturday morning until 2am monday morning!!!

I had expected us all to be a sleep in our food on the Sunday evening, long gone are the days where I could party all night and survive on very little sleep to do it again the next night! We had so much fun, we laughed a lot, we ate some wonderful food cooked by Marie and at about midnight we decided we should make a move and start the 40 min drive home!

I wanted one last look in on the animals ………and a cow was in labour!! I couldn’t go home now, no sir! Ian predicted about another hour or so…..my husband was so pleased as he was able to have a couple more beers – beer monster!!

While we waited I spent some time with Caesar a calf that wouldn’t take to his mother so had to be hand feed, he would suckle on hands but not on his mother. Farmers often have to teach the little ones how to latch on but sadly Caesar just would not. Ian tried so hard with this little one, he even ended up with a broken toe from the mother standing on him!

He looked so little and lonely in his pen at the back, timid standing staring at me. He peeped out behind his feeding tray to say hello, then would bob quickly behind it again. All of the animals know the Browns smells, Ian was able to stoke and interact with them easily I had to work a little harder for it. I stayed with Caesar for about twenty minutes before we made friends but then after that it was amazing, he was letting me cuddle him, he loved the side of his neck stroking and most of all suckling on my hands! I am not going to lie it took a lot for me to leave him in that barn, I was wondering if he would fit in my back garden!!! Caesar and I are firm friends now….I might even be trying to smuggle him home with me! =D

Another calf on the other side of the room was one they had bought as sadly the originalcalf died during the birth, he was just too big for his mother to get him out and its testiment to the skill and quick thinking of the Browns that the mother survived, but she needed a baby. So they bought this little guy and to make sure the mother did take to him they had to use the hide from the original calf like a cloak so she would accept it, they are both very happy now and the calf is a little friendly one.

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The birth of the calf we were waiting for then begun, whom I think we had a mix of names for but Shauna (Stevens daughter) and myself liked Betty and as this was my nana’s name I am going with it. I can not describe the beauty of this moment, I loved it. The cow is held in place by fence type thing that traps her head, sounds a lot more medieval that it is, shes as happy as she can be with a big calf popping out!!

Ian and his father help her to deliver feet and nose first, up to his armpit Ian helps this little one into the world. With a litter picker looking contraption, times a hundred in size, they snugly fit the arms of this rig around the cows bottom. then it’s tightened and then propped under her bottom, they don’t want this cow to sit or lay down! Finally the little one drops to the floor and its done, Ian clears its airways and administers some medicine to help it along.

Other than Ian, I was the first one to touch this little one, so hot she was steaming, smooth and wet feeling a little like a dog covered in shampoo, I was totally smitten!!

IMG_3204Ian and David then cleared the pen, because of cause I was right in there along with the kids!! Then they let the mother free, she headed straight for her baby and got to cleaning her off. Ian tells me there is nothing better than the mothers touch to get the little one going and that was so true within a few minutes she was trying to stand. The mother, who has a stunning white love heart on her forehead, was so attentive to her little one. A mothers love translates whatever the creature, there is nothing better than that!

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¬†So a very weary crowd of party goers finally gave in after 2am on that Monday morning after an epic weekend we all went our separate ways. I was so excited that I didn’t sleep for hours after I got home!! I want to do that again!!!!

Until next time xoxox