Tag Archives: love

Orcas: The First Encounter

I’m going to set the matter straight away before I go any further. This is NOT going to turn in to a debate of whether or not these beings should be in captivity. This is a memory, do not tarnish it. If you really feel the need to know my opinion, ask, in a nice manner, I may tell. I respect your opinion, but please do not go telling people what they should think. Research, experience, then make your own mind up. Thank you.

~~~

This week, my cousins are sunning it up in Tenerife the lucky devils, and yesterday they went to Loro Parque, and throughout the day on my request, I was sent photos and videos of the sealions, dolphins and Orcas. I couldn’t decide whether I was loving the updates, or just plain torturing myself as I wasn’t there but so dearly wanted to. Anyway, you probably all know that I love, love, love Orcas. Always have done, and I’m sure I always will. They are my favourite ever animals, for so many reasons. If you don’t know what I am talking about then please go and google. I’ve decided for todays throwback blog I am going to tell you all about the time my heart exploded as I saw Orcas in the flesh for the first time.

It was 2005. November to be exact. The Christmas before our parents had surprised us with the trip to Florida, we had a little envelope with photos of the places we’d be visiting, and of course I’m sure I was almost crying when I held the tiny piece with Sea World on it. It seemed like a lifetime to wait until the day we flew out. I’d never been long haul before, and am a nervous flier, but knowing what was waiting for me the other end helped so much. I remember it actually took me a few days to realise I wasn’t dreaming and that it was a reality. Everything is a bit fuzzy now, I can’t even remember how many days we spent at Sea World. I’d of happily spent the whole trip there. If you’ve never been to a theme park then you won’t quite understand the atmosphere of them. I was there for the animals, I don’t like roller coasters or most rides. I was there for the orcas. Shamu. I was giddy with excitement the first day we went. I couldn’t quite believe that I’d actually be seeing one.

At Sea World, you can either see the Orcas during a show, which was The Shamu Adventure at the time, in the underwater viewing area, or by doing Dine With Shamu. Naturally we did all of them.

Walking in to the stadium, it’s sheer immense size, you’re looking down on to the pool. We chose seats close but not too close. (Mum or Dad may remember how many rows back!) It was still in the “Splash Zone” but my parents did not believe we’d get wet so far away from the water. I did try to warn them but it fell on deaf ears. Then I heard the ‘pff’ of an orca surfacing. My head whipped round, and there just in front of us was this black and white creature, so smooth looking, gliding through the water. I’m sure I cried. It was everything and more to be in their presence. I’d studied this particular group of whales, and vaguely knew how to ID them, but that pretty much went out of my head with just a few facts stuck in my mind. I also only had a disposable camera at that stage in my life, but I took some photos, not very good mind. I can only find a few of them, but will share what I took, and shall update the post if I find the lost ones.

PicsArt_10-12-10.11.44Photo: Preshow, who was watching who?

The show was amazing, personally I think it was better than ‘Believe’ which it had changed to before my next trips in ’07 and ’09. I remember there being a kayak involved, and a lot of facts and waterworks. If you don’t know, waterworks are where the trainer performs in the water with the whales, a practice that now doesn’t exist due to health and safety.

PicsArt_10-12-10.10.05Photo: I used to remember what this was called, but it’s impressive to see nonetheless.

It got to the splashing part of the show, and the big guns came out. Tilikum. I’m sure many of you know of his name, he drew a lot of media attention before his death this year. My heart still aches that I won’t ever get to see him again. He was the king. 22.5 foot long, 12,500lb in weight. He was spectacular to see perform, pure muscle. So when he came, and you were suddenly faced with his flukes (tail) about to send a ton of water towards your way, you knew you had no escape. My parents faces. The look of realization, they were about to be drenched, I was right. I’ll never forget it, it was hilarious. Sadly, as I hid my camera I didn’t get any photos of him myself that year. Following years I did, although I did a lot of filming as well, but I shall share with you another time if you’re interested.
PicsArt_10-12-10.08.16Photo: Takara, Kohana and Skyla. Takara was pregnant with who turned out to be my favourite little (not so little now!) orca ever, Trua, who happened to be born the day before or after we flew home! Typical. (I can’t remember what day we flew home) It made meeting, and interacting with him, in 2007 even more special though.
PicsArt_10-12-10.06.29Photo: Kohana on the slide out. She is one of the orcas that my cousin is seeing in Tenerife!
PicsArt_10-12-10.20.57Photo: A few more of the snaps I got while I was there. They’re very special memories to me. I just wish I could go back with my DSLR now!

We also got treated to Dine With Shamu. I shall have to go and raid my Mums computer for some photos really, as you can see the pure joy and excitement in my face. I barely took my eyes of the whales. Basically you get delicious buffet food and then the trainers perform an up close little show. This does cost extra, but it is well worth it in my eyes! Or at least it used to be, don’t count me on that for now! It was definitely a cool experience, and the food was really yummy too! Afterwards, at the end the trainers come round and you can meet them, have your photos taken and have a chat.

From the same pool that they do Dine With Shamu in is where the underwater viewing is located. I would honestly love to sit in there all day. My cousin and I actually did spend a large proportion of one of our days in there in 2007. In 2005 however we didn’t see as many of the whales in their as we liked. Obviously they have freewill and have a choice of pools to go in. We did see Tilikum and Taima though. Taima was gorgeous. She was also pregnant at the time, and didn’t want to play at the glass, but to just watch her swim, for her to be gliding past just the other side of the glass was enough. When you are that close you can really respect them, they are huge, powerful. Again, I need to raid my mums computer for photos!

PicsArt_10-12-10.03.48Photo: Taima swimming past. Another whale I can’t believe is gone. She died giving birth, and I remember just after I gave birth to Logan I was thinking (and may have asked out loud) that I hoped Taima didn’t die in the pain that I just experienced.

So there you have it. It was probably all just a babble, I just love Orcas so much, particularly the ones who I have seen with my own two eyes. You just can’t describe their presence, or their true immense size and power to someone who hasn’t seen them. They’re so, so amazing. I’d love to see them in the wild. When I went whale watching in ’06 the trips before and after us saw them, but we weren’t so lucky! Maybe one day I will. I also hope to one day get back to Orlando, or at least see some in one of the closer locations.

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The Beginnings of Team Heberling

Okay, so I was thinking of the goals I’d set myself almost a week ago (which aren’t going to plan at the moment… Oops) and was thinking of what to share for Throwback Thursday when it struck me, why don’t I share a post as well as a photo for it? I have loads of memories that I can share with you, stories behind photos etc. I hereby christen #TBTblog and hopefully you’ll get something new each week! So to start with, I think I’ll tell you all how Kiba and I met. (This is the point Mr Heberling will be raising an eyebrow and either thinking it’s all too mushy or gaaaay!)

As previously mentioned in my Hello post, Kiba isn’t actually called Kiba, that is just what we call him. His name is Maurice, and he is German. Most people ask how we got together, seeing as we are from different countries, and whereas it isn’t your conventional dating and romance story, it is ours, and I love it.

WhatsApp Image 2017-09-21 at 18.21.52

Now, going back to my teen years. I was part of an online community which shared a love for Orcas, and we would edit footage to songs to make Videos to share on YouTube (Not always Orca footage, other animals, and films too!). It was fun, and I made many friends all over the world who liked to do the same. Sometimes I even miss video editing, and I will still often imagine how I would edit a video when I am listening to a song. (Both our individual and joint YouTube accounts still exist if you fancy checking them out, Mine and our joint one, bear in mind they’re quite old now!). Kiba also enjoyed this pastime, but I didn’t meet him directly that way. In fact he was actually dating a friend of mine from said community.

I’m not going to name her, just call her R, but she was good friends with my cousin and myself and we’d regularly chat on ICQ (German equivalent to MSN, remember the good old days?) and she soon started dating Kiba. One time they were together she said she was having some sort of argument and I’m not sure how but I ended up talking to Kiba on her account. I’m not going to lie, there was a genuine sort of spark between us. I liked talking to him. After a while (days, weeks maybe? I know it was May) I added him to my chat list. R wasn’t happy for some reason and she wanted me to try and talk with Kiba about it I think, mediate. I fell in love instead. I never meant to steal someones boyfriend, but I did. I lost a friend, and I am sorry about that, but I shall never, ever be sorry for falling in love.

So, we talked, and video chatted a lot. Kiba has always been amazing at English, lucky for me as my German was at zero at this point. He made me laugh, made me smile. I was studying for my A-Levels and he always gave me enough time and space to get on with my work, and was always supportive of making me get on. We’d talk until the early hours of the morning, I probably did get distracted from things going on around me as I spent so much time online, but he was important to me.

WhatsApp Image 2017-09-21 at 18.21.59

In August 2009, Kiba made his first visit over to the UK to stay with us. It was quite nerve wracking waiting at the bus station for him to arrive. For all the times I’d sat and stared at his face, I had never seen him in person, but I had nothing to worry about. He was even better in the flesh, understandably he was shy, it was a big step, but I’m so glad he did. We continued chatting in to the early hours, just this time we were with each other, we could hold hands. We did take our relationship slow and steady, and he visited a few more times until I took the leap to visit him and his family in August of 2010. By this point we knew we wanted to be together forever, so it was just working out how to keep the long distance relationship going. Meeting his family was incredibly scary, but again, I had nothing to worry about. They may be a large family, a noisy family, but they are a truly lovely family.

I had planned on going to University in the September of 2010, but in reality I don’t think I was ever cut out for it. I am glad I never went in the end, as I realized that’t not what I wanted out of my life. However, at the time I decided to just defer for the year, and to go live out in Germany in the time being. That didn’t last long, as I fell pregnant in the October! I didn’t tell anyone until the December though, and ended up having my first scan on the 24th December, after plucking up the courage to tell my parents. I wanted to birth and raise our child in the UK, so Kiba agreed that’d we move back to my parents until we got our own place. We moved back permanently on the 11th Feb 2011, Logan was born June 2011, and we ended up not getting our own place until June 2013! While I was pregnant with Logan, Kiba proposed to me. We were lying in bed, and had talked about it many a times, but he looked at me, holding my hand and asked if I would marry him. No brainer really. He is my soul mate, and I love him dearly. I always will.

So, fast forward to 2017 and we are finally planning our wedding, and have two beautiful children. Did I ever think I’d fall in love online? No. Would I change anything? Heck no. Online love can happen. Long distance relationships can work. I can’t wait to finally be a Heberling.

WhatsApp Image 2017-09-21 at 18.55.01

A New Chapter (Poem)

The house is so much quieter
there’s a small person missing here
The toddlers searching round and round
hoping her brother will reappear.

The time has gone so very fast,
was it really 6 weeks break?
Their childhood is flying past,
so quick, it makes my heart ache.

He’s starting on another adventure,
he’ll learn so much and grow,
but that little hand this morning,
it squeezed tight, not wanting to let go.

I put a smile upon my face,
squeeze back, and give him a hug,
“you’ll be fine” I say,
while the words give my heartstrings a good tug.

He’ll be fine, I’ll be fine,
it just all takes time to adjust,
Every parent and child must take the leap
in the teachers hands we entrust.

These children of ours, our womb fruit,
who we’ve raised all these years.
They now have another guiding hand,
and the thought may bring on some tears

but remember, never forget,
that although time may fly,
they’ll be our babies forever,
sit back, take it all in, have a cry

make memories when you can,
snuggle up, play games, make art,
even if you do nothing special,
they’ll know you love them with all your heart.

Bringing Taya in to the world 

Today Taya turns 2. At 9:56pm to be precise. As a Mum I feel that birthdays come with very mixed emotions. I love watching them grow, meeting milestones and joining in on the adventures in life. Then on the otherhand no Mum wants her baby to grow up. Each year they become more independent, less snuggly, and as a Mum you never forget that tiny bundle in your arms, completely dependant on you, and it’s hard to imagine that one day they won’t need you. So on this day that I sit here reminiscing over the past 2 years, I’m going to share the story of bringing Taya in to this world. I’ll never tire of my birth stories, I’ll share Logans another time, but for now back to Taya. I apologise, this shall be a long one.

Just before I go on, please be aware that I tend to tell it completely uncensored. Birth is messy. Or in my case, afterbirth.

I found out I was pregnant very early in to my pregnancy. Very early. I remember going for what I thought would be close to 12 weeks, but no, I think I was around 5 or 6 weeks. I felt slightly crushed to be honest. I was going through a hard time already, my so called mummy friends turned on me, and abandoned both Logan and I, which at the time was devastating, I didn’t understand why, but now I’m glad. I now have the best friends anyone could think of. But back then I was also struggling with constant nausea, which is so debilitating, and now I had what felt like a lifetime till my 12 week scan, to know everything was going to be okay. Finally it came and seeing the squiggling baby on screen confirmed I could actually already feel her! We shared our news, after Logans preschool had already found out, as he’d got excited, and then the wait for the next scan came. I got bigger a lot quicker second time round, your body remembers being pregnant which is just kind of amazing. The nausea did ease once I was in the second trimester and I started to enjoy myself. Guessing the gender of “Jelly” (Logan named her!) before the scan is always on everyone’s minds. So many ways to “tell”, but my cravings were different this time round, with Logan it was pom bears, and salty stuff. With Taya it was sweet stuff, particularly frozen yoghurt. I know everyone just wants a healthy baby, but the urge to have a girl was very overwhelming at times, so when the 20 week scan I was on tenterhooks as the sonographer tried to make this wiggly awkward baby open her legs! Finally at the end just before they gave up theu were certain they saw girl bits! Happy is an understatement. In between my 20 week scan and birth I got to have a 3D scan, which is such an amazing experience, even though we didn’t get the greatest shots as she had her hands over her face, and was hiding tightly up against the placenta. Amazing all the same.

Kiba had always said he didn’t particularly want to be at the birth, and I respected his decision, not all men do, and I felt he’d be better with Logan. With Logan I had Kiba and my mum as support, but for Taya I asked my sister Sophie. She was thrilled. I was planning for a water birth at the midwife led birthing unit, a part of the hospital in case things went wrong, but more homely. I had a lovely midwife throughout pregnancy, and as things went on I got more and more excited about our new arrival. My due date, and zoo trip, came and went. On the 10th July we were invited out for a fish and chips lunch, it was lovely, but I was having more Braxton hicks than normal, however I didn’t think too much about it so carried on the day. Logans bedtime came, and as I was getting him ready the contractions started. I used breathing techniques to try and carry on in case they came to nothing, but soon came to the conclusion that this was it, that there was no point putting Logan to bed. I took him downstairs and told Kiba she was on her way. I phoned up the MLBU when contractions were 5 minutes about, which wasn’t particularly long after I had started! After explaining I was 45 minutes away and had to drop off Logan/pick up Sophie they told me to head to mums and then wait there until they were 3 minutes apart. They were 3 minutes apart as I got to mums.

With Logan at mums, Sophie and I in the back of the car, Kiba drove us to the hospital. If you’ve been a labouring woman in the car you know that it is the longest drive you’ll ever experience in your life. You’ll get every red light possible. You cannot get comfortable at all. Anyway, we finally got there, Sophie and I took it slowly up to the MLBU, Kiba met us up there with our bags, and I asked him to stay, although I knew what are plans were. He left and the midwife wanted to do my observations, weight etc, but I got the sudden urge to push, so she decided to take us over to the birth pool. By this point I was in my “zone” I can’t say I took any notice of the people around me (I never noticed the student midwife!) or my surroundings, I think the room may of been a pink colour? They had the lights dimmed, and the pool ready. I’m sure I got in in just my bra, but it annoyed me, so I took it off. I went with my bodies urges and pushed. I remember panicking a bit as Taya never stopped wiggling. I couldn’t remember Logan doing so, so it was a bit of a shock and didn’t feel great to be honest. I remember Sophie with a flannel. I remember encouraging words. I remember I’d taught myself to repeat over and over “I can do this” while I pushed, and it helped, it really did. I held my breath through the worst pain. I liked to duck my head in the warm water, it felt calming. Shortly before the crowning I felt my waters pop. Such an odd sensation. Then came the crowning. For anyone who doesn’t know, this is when the head starts to come out. This is when most mums panic a little, myself included, only briefly before I remembered I could do this, and this meant she was close. Crowning is also the worst pain personally. Your vagina is a ring of fire. You can then feel your own baby with your hands for the first time, but this is a weird sensation personally, something I don’t think I can describe.

 A few powerful pushes and she was out. My beautiful baby girl was here. The euphoria of that moment is truly indescribable, a moment you can never, ever forget. I’d love to witness it, not just live it, it must be magical, maybe one day I shall. I was granted my golden hour, skin to skin cuddles, and breastfeeds, in the water. Sophie phoned Kiba, he had only just got home with Logan, 45mind after he’d left us! Others were informed, as I birthed the placenta naturally and got to have delayed cord clamping, both things that I was worried about as they hadn’t gone well with Logan (I shall tell you his story another day) but it all seemed to go so smoothly. I’d done it completely pain relief free, I didn’t think I’d be able to, but I did, and in the water! Dreams come true! From first pain to her arrival it was between 3 and 4 hours. Time is fuzzy now.

We then moved back to the other room, Taya was weighed (7lbs 8oz) etc, and then it was my turn to be checked down below, you know, to see how it had coped. By the midwifes grimace, and the “Oh…” I knew it hadn’t fared well. I’d torn. I was swollen, very swollen. The midwife admitted she wouldn’t be able to do the stitches so went in search of a surgeon. I forgot about it as I cuddled my bundle of joy. Then the surgeon came in and I got an even bigger grimace and another “Oh…” and by this point Sophie was interested and asked if she could have a look, she’d just watch me give birth so why not? “Oh…” So it turns out I was in a bit of a mess down there. The surgeon said she’d try but it could be tricky with the swelling. I was given gas and air to cope. Now, I’ve never done drugs, but oh God, I’m guessing that’s what it’s like on drugs. Everything goes out of focus, I can’t see anything, can only just hear things and I go silly. I’m sure it was hilarious. It was still painful for me though. She did her work and said she’d come check later. Fast forward through more cuddles, breastfeeds, sisterly chats and bonding. Surgeon comes back and there are even more grimaces. 

It turns out that the swelling had caused her to stitch me up wrong. Yea.. So, my options were to have her cut it and retry with gas and air but keep perfectly still (apparently I kept jumping with the pain before…), or, have a spinal and go to theatre to have it done. It was a horrible decision. I didn’t want to leave my baby and end up staying in. However I didn’t think I could cope with the gas and air again. I’m sure I cried. In the end I chose theatre. I knew Sophie would look after Taya. I am terrified of needles, but again I used my mantra of “I can do it”. We headed down and I coped surprisingly well with having the spinal. I suffer with anxiety around people I don’t know, but they were all very nice. It felt very, very odd not having control over my legs. A new surgeon came in and started work, commenting on the uniqueness of the situation, apparently. She then found a problem from the stitching after logans birth! So she offered me a “designer vagina” in her words, and I accepted. Once it was finally over and I was wheeled on to the ward I had to ask where Taya was, I started to panic a bit as I spent a good amount of time without anyone. Then she came, with Sophie, with Kiba, Logan and my mum. I was gutted. I’d missed both Kiba and Logan meeting Taya for the first time, something I was so excited for, and I still feel sad about now. 

On the ward I became “the lady from MLBU” as it seems it’s very uncommon for people to end up staying in. I hated staying in. I pushed to get us home as quick as possible. Taya was born Friday night, I was admitted to the ward on Saturday morning, and I got home Sunday afternoon, where we announced her birth to the world. 

Everything went up from there, I healed well, and I manged to get breastfeeding established. We’re now at 2 years of breastfeeding, I couldn’t be prouder. These 2 years have gone so quickly. I often think of both my births. I love birth. I love to read about it, see photos of it. I’d love to witness it in the flesh. I’d love, and hope to train as a doula, to support women to get the births they want. If I could, I’d relive it all again, as despite the pain it truly is beautiful.