Treasured Time

As a busy wife and mother I find there is never enough time to get everything accomplished. I am always wishing for “more time.” If I had more time in the day my house would be clean, I could workout every day and I may be able to read one of the many books waiting to be opened on my bedside table.

Time always frustrated me but it looked different when I was a child. When I was younger I was convinced that time literally stood still. When December 1st was upon us I would begin my annual countdown to my Christmas birthday. I always had an advent calendar of some kind that helped me count down the days to the big event. The days and weeks leading up to December 25 moved like molasses and I never thought the day would ever get here. I remember waiting for the day with eager anticipation and as the date grew nearer and nearer the agonizing wait seemed longer and longer. In childhood an hour seemed like a day and a day seemed like a week and a year or more was simply too much for my young brain to conceptualize. An entire year, 365 days, seemed light years away!

Now I ask my younger self, “Why were you so eager to grow up?” As a child I didn’t know that as an adult I would view time as a coveted resource. That I would gladly trade all of the rubber ducks and Goldfish Crackers (my daughters favorites) in the world for a few extra minutes every day.

I began to reflect on the subject of time after reading a piece a colleague of mine recently wrote about his young adult son. Although I never had the opportunity to meet Jordan, after reading the words written by his father I was reminded to slow down and cherish each and every second of the day.


Jordan’s Watches

by: John Mark Slagle

Jordan loved his watches.

He had one for every day of the week. Some were important and were of high price. Some were copies. All were big and were, to his eye, beautiful. Each watch was embellished with plenty of bling – whether solid gold and encrusted with diamonds or plated and garnished with paste, Jordan was drawn to each watch for different reasons.

Jordan wore all the watches with times stopped at inaccurate intervals. He loved them as jewelry but could never slow down enough to visit the jeweler for battery replacement. He always wore a beautiful watch and never knew what time is was.

The watches now sit in the sleek wooden case Jordan kept them in – waiting in the corner of our room for his dear brother to take them up when his heart is ready. One morning this week I set out to the jeweler with them to have them cleaned and repaired and repowered and I could not complete the task. It seemed like they should remain stopped and as Jordan left them.

Lessons learned from these watches …

Life is beautiful.
Life is short.

The only time that really matters is right now.

Time runs out.

Some days are diamonds.
Some days are paste.

All are lovely.

I plan on honoring Jordan’s life by being present in every minute of my young daughter’s life. I will spend more time taking in the beauty of the day that God has graciously blessed me with instead of worrying about not having enough time to get everything accomplished on my to-do list.

Listen To Your Mother 

The Listen To Your Mother videos have been posted! Now I can share my story with all of you. I still get emotional when I think about my journey to motherhood, “Although my scars may never completely fade, I proudly wear my scars as they provide a reminder of the battles that have been fought and eventually overcome…” Click on the link below and see me share my entire story on stage.

A Fertility Miracle by Jennifer Freeman Talley

Being selected as a cast member in this year’s Listen To Your Mother show was a life changing experience. After years of keeping my infertility struggles private, the show provided me the platform to publicly share my journey with the world. It is my desire that by sharing my story I will bring hope and encouragement to women who are struggling with infertility.

I proudly shared the stage with a cast full of amazing women who were all strong and creative. Throughout the rehearsals and the two performances I had the opportunity to hear their beautiful stories and see them evolve on stage. Please take the time to watch all of their videos on the Listen To Your Mother You Tube channel. I promise you will not be disappointed and you may want to grab some tissue while you watch because the stories are guaranteed to make you laugh out loud and cry. Now I proudly share my story with all of you.

A Fertility Miracle

By:  Jennifer Freeman Talley

I always knew that motherhood was a privilege, and I never took it for granted.  I actually dreamed of being a mother for most of my adult life.  But, you see, my journey began when I turned 40. Although it might sound cliché, that is when I woke up from a busy life as an educational consultant, musician and wife and realized my maternal clock was ticking and that the time for me to give birth to a child of my own was running out.

After trying naturally for six months, while having vile after vile of blood drawn and undergoing countless tests, my self-prognosis was correct. I had a low ovarian reserve, and the probability of conceiving a child with my own eggs was low, although not impossible. In total, we did seven iuis, intra-uterine insemination which is artificial insemination. Not as romantic or as sexy as my husband and I had intended!  We did this month after month without any success, so, it was clear to see that IVF, In-Vitro Fertilization was our one and only chance at conceiving.

I entered the world of IVF with the statistics glaring me in the face. For the over 40 crowd, I had a 12% success rate and the percent was growing smaller and smaller with each passing day.

I was scared. I was scared of the needles and what would happen if it didn’t work? Do we have enough money to do this and do I want to take time off of work?

After agonizing about it and through lots of prayer, my husband and I realized this was the best option for us to have a child.  So, we jumped on the emotional roller coaster that is IVF.

Although IVF is becoming more common it is often not talked about. It is a secret that gets hidden away and at first we were reluctant to share our journey with even our parents and close friends. So I joined an online support group for women who are undergoing fertility treatments.

I became friends with women from all over the world. Three women were with me through my entire journey. One friend was a neighbor to the north and lives in Canada, another was from across the pond and resides in England and the last, lived a bit closer to home in Oklahoma.

I would have never had the strength to continue my journey if it wasn’t for their love and support. Although we have never met in person and each of our journeys look different, the pain and hurt we suffered united us and we share a bond that will connect us for the rest of our lives.

Unfortunately, my first IVF cycle was cancelled as my body did not respond to the medication. I learned later this is not uncommon and there are many women both young and Geriatric like myself that do not have success the first time around. (Did you know that ANY woman over the age of 35 in the fertility world is considered a senior citizen?) We decided to give IVF another chance as the doctors had learned a lot from my first cycle.

I wasn’t looking forward to being a human pin cushion yet again but was determined to do whatever it took to get my miracle baby. Although painful, the injections administered daily by my devoted husband never hurt as much as the heart wrenching pain of an unsuccessful cycle. My second cycle resulted in the doctors retrieving two eggs! But then the doctor called and I felt numb when she gave me the news, “I am sorry but neither of your eggs fertilized.” My doctor said there was one last protocol they could try but she sadly didn’t sound very convincing that it would even work.

I was going to give up but something told me to carry on. I began doing my own research and read success stories about 40 something’s giving birth with the help of IVF, and this kept my hopes alive. I began seeing an acupuncturist, began taking herbal supplements to improve my egg quality. Could there be one good egg left in me yet? I cut out caffeine, stopped using scented soaps, perfumes and body washes and began to meditate. I also began researching doctors and got a second opinion.

That’s when one of my cyber sisters from Canada recommended I see a doctor she had researched for me. He had a pretty high success rate for woman over 35 and his office was only a few miles from my house so I said, “Why not?  I have nothing to lose in getting a third opinion.”

My husband and I were blown away by this new doctor. He was unlike any doctor we had ever spoken to. Although the statistics he shared were the same, the sparkle in his eye, his compassion and acknowledgement of our journey so far was unlike anything we had experienced. He said he could understand our want and desire to conceive a child that was genetically ours and said although it was like throwing a ‘Hail Mary Pass’, if we were willing to try he would be happy to take our case. We left his office truly feeling like he wanted to help us and not just take our money. And he and his staff at Fertility Partnership were cheerleaders throughout the process. Dr. Simckes uses humor to put his patients at ease. I couldn’t help from laughing when he burst into the operating room singing the theme song from the Looney Toons or played air guitar during an exam. His commitment to his patients was like no other.

Sadly, my first cycle with him ended in a chemical pregnancy. But we got embryos this time, and although it was a chemical pregnancy –  I got pregnant! Our insurance was about to run out, but we had enough left to cover one more cycle, our LAST cycle no matter what the end result may be.

I entered that last cycle knowing I had done everything I could have possibly done and although I may live with regret, I counted all of the blessings I had in my life and trusted that if God wanted me to be a mother, He would find a way for it to happen.  I just knew in my heart that I would be a mother someway, somehow, someday.

Well, the last ‘Hail Mary Pass’ resulted in a TOUCHDOWN, a positive pregnancy! A pregnancy that Dr. Simckes would declare a fertility miracle!

I was on pins and needles throughout the first trimester and must have requested an ultrasound every week just to make sure the baby’s heart was still beating. My dad eagerly volunteered to be my traveling companion on work trips. He carried my luggage, took over the driving, brought me lemon aide which eased my morning sickness and even injected me with daily progesterone shots because I was afraid of the long needles and could never administer them to myself! You may think I have an overprotected father but I am an only child and I was now carrying his grandchild, a grandchild he and my mother prayed for but never thought they would have.

After what ended up being a perfect pregnancy, our dream came true 18 months ago when I gave birth to little Lillian Clare, 39 days before my 43rd birthday!  Even though everything about her birth was planned from conception to a scheduled caesarian delivery, and there were countless detours and bumps along the way, little Lillian is a miracle baby, a true gift from God. She defied statistics, and is a medical amazement.

My journey to motherhood taught me to remain positive and to look for the good in even the darkest time, to live without regret and to preserve even when the odds are against you. I learned it is OK to cry, and although you may feel alone, there are others who are experiencing the same fate.

Although my scars may never completely fade, I proudly wear them as they provide a reminder of the battles that have been fought and eventually overcome through the support of family and friends, a doctor who was both sympathetic and comedic and “babydust” from cyber sisters from around the world.


Taking Flight

The eight and a half years I worked as a full time educational consultant for McGraw-Hill I earned countless airline miles traveling for my job. I became a road warrior and conquered airport security lines, lost luggage, annoying passengers and delayed flights with ease. When it was my turn to put my items in the bin in the security line I had everything ready and was walking through the x-ray machine before the person behind me had time to take off their shoes! Early in my career I had issues with lost luggage but I was schooled rather quickly and learned to pack light and fit everything in a carry-on bag. Although I encountered crying babies, passengers who wanted to talk while I wanted to sleep and people talking a bit too loudly on their cell phones (lady, I don’t need to hear about your recent visit to the doctor) I learned to ignore the background noise at the airport and in the airplane and settled comfortably into my own little world by putting in my earbuds and listening to my favorite tunes. 

During my infertility struggles air travel became emotionally painful. The airport is brimming with babies and young children. Ask anyone who has struggled to have a child and they will tell you how painful it is to see babies, pregnant ladies and happy families while you are dreaming of a baby of your own. And when you are traveling for work, alone and tired, these feelings of sadness and hopelessness are merely magnified. 

When I became pregnant with my miracle baby I continued to travel by air for my job. My dad traveled with me during my first trimester because I was taking progesterone and heparin injections. I can’t pass a family assisted restroom at the airport without thinking about the time we both squeezed into one of those restrooms so my dad could help administer my injections. After the first trimester we all breathed a little easier, I no longer needed injections and I began to travel solo once again. This is when I realized along with the rude people there were plenty of kind and helpful people at the airport as well. I never had a problem getting help putting my carry-on in the overhead bin, I recall having a gentleman offer his seat to me in the crowded gate area and for the most part people didn’t grimace as much when it took me a bit longer to waddle down the aisle of the airplane. 

When I resigned as a full time educational consultant you would think I would stay far away from airports and airplanes. Instead, I decided to take my little one on multiple air travel adventures within her first year of life. Her first flight was to Atlanta, GA when she was a mere 9 months old. She was a picture perfect traveler and at the end of our first flight several passengers commented they didn’t even know there was a baby onboard!  I declared that trip a triumphant success! A longer trip to California followed a month later and a return trip to Altlanta occurred shortly after her first birthday. Our little lady was becoming an expert traveler just like her mommy. She wasn’t walking on any of these trips and was small enough to comfortably cuddle up in my lap for a short nap. She was cooperative on each and every trip and I even successfully changed her diaper in the tiny airplane bathroom. I wish I could impress you by saying I took her on these trips by myself, but sadly, I am not brave enough to travel solo with her just yet, so we always had family traveling with us. 

Now that my daughter is 19 months old I decided it was time to take another trip on the airplane. This time we were traveling to Columbus, OH. I briefly thought about braving the trip with her by myself but my baby is now a toddler and I knew air travel would not be the same, so I chickened out and invited my parents to join us. This trip started out with a tantrum when I had to take her out of her stroller to go through security but that was the only meltdown. Thankfully the flight ended successfully due to the free episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse we watched on my tablet and the purse full of snacks provided by Nana.   

Since we all survived the trip to Columbus  without incident, I decided to brave a trip to Minneapolis. My mother in law was my accomplice on this trip. The trip started out pleasantly with a smiling toddler going through security. Maw Maw bought us a pretzel at the airport and after finishing our snack we were ready to board. With tablet in hand I was looking forward to putting yet another successful trip in our travel log. That’s when we got the announcement that our flight was…delayed! Not a problem, we can survive a small delay, and passed the time by taking a walk through the concourse. My daughter became friends with a giant red m&m and enjoyed waving to waiting passengers as we walked around. We got back to the gate to discover we were further delayed so we all went to get something to eat. After eating all three of us were getting tired and anxious to arrive at our destination. My mother in law took my daughter for a ride in her stroller and she fell asleep. After a 4 1/2 hour delay our plane had arrived and we were finally ready to board our flight to Minneapolis. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse was a lifesaver on our last flight so I was ready to get my tablet fired up only to discover that the wifi wasn’t working! Since she had grown tired playing with all of the toys and books I had packed, she passed the time playing with a cup of ice. Sometimes it’s the simplest things that entertain a toddler. Somehow we all survived that flight and made it to Minneapolis hours after my daughter’s bedtime. My daughter was a trooper and was a better traveler than most of the tired adults on that flight! 

We were all looking forward to a smooth flight home but unfortunately we encountered yet another delay. We passed the time quickly by getting something to eat and playing in the unique playground inside the Minneapolis airport. All airports should have a playground where children can burn off energy, get some exercise and have a safe place to explore before boarding a flight. In fact, we were having so much fun at the playground we almost missed our flight home! We didn’t get to sit next to Maw Maw on the plane ride home but we did have our friend Mickey Mouse to keep us company. My daughter was content after having played on the playground and didn’t miss playing with the cup of ice which was good since beverage service was suspended due to some turbulence. 

I know anyone who travels regularly has horror stories about lost luggage, delays and interesting passengers they have met along the way. I have more than a few to share myself. Now that I am a mother I have added a new chapter or two to my travel log, traveling with a baby and now a toddler. Traveling with your mini me certainly makes for an interesting and entertaining trip! Perhaps I am documenting these early adventures because deep down I know, in the not so distant future, there will come a time when my daughter will take flight and embark on her first solo flight, filling pages of her travel log without me. And when she does she will travel with ease because she learned from one of the best road warriors in the world!