Why I Cried During Paw Patrol Live

My three year old daughter loves puppies and like many children her age she is obsessed with anything and everything Paw Patrol. If you have a preschooler in your life you probably know Ryder and his team of search and rescue pups that protect the residents of Adventure Bay. What started out as an animated series has grown into a franchise filled with a collection of toys and merchandise from books and games to plastic plates and underwear! And to bring the pups from Paw Patrol directly to boys and girls in cities across the world there are currently two touring live stage shows.

Now why did I cry at the show? Well, you might think I cried because spending two hours in a theater filled with preschoolers on a Saturday night isn’t exactly on my bucket list. Or that I cried because my family paid $376.50 for five center aisle seats to see Paw Patrol Live! (this included a discount my friend got us from Citi Bank) My husband felt like crying when he found out he was going to spend a Saturday night seeing Paw Patrol Live while the St. Louis Blues were playing in the arena right next to the theater! But the tickets were a Christmas gift from Nana and we all piled into the mini van and willingly went to the show because it was a dream come true for our sweet little Lillian.

I shed a few tears when the curtain opened and the music started playing and a huge smile appeared on my daughter’s face. Imagine her excitement seeing the beloved characters she reads about in books, sees animated on the screen and loves on toys and puzzles, magically come to life on the stage right in front of her! When Ryder introduced each of the pups on the Paw Patrol team she clapped her hands and sang along to the theme song. I enjoyed watching my daughter more than the show! I delighted in seeing my parents smile sweetly at their little granddaughter, knowing they had made a little girl’s dream come true! And the enthusiasm continued until the actors took their final curtain call and the lights came on.

Seeing the joy on my daughter’s face and experiencing this event with my husband and my parents certainly brought me joy. But what truly brought tears to my eyes is when I suddenly realized that my parents, my husband and I wouldn’t be sitting in this theater, at this particular moment, seeing this specific show, if there was no Lillian. My mind rushed through all of the wonderful things we have done together and all of the experiences we will enjoy in the future because of the little girl sitting next to me. I looked around the theater and every adult was accompanied by at least one little person between the ages of 2-6! I felt honored to be a member of this elite group. Membership I feel privileged to have received and that I will never take for granted.

For a brief moment I went to a dark place and I thought about a life without Lillian. It isn’t something I can ever imagine now but at one time prepared for. During our final IVF cycle (our fourth and final cycle) my husband and I had to accept the statistics and come to peace with the fact that we may never have a child of our own. I thought of the women who continue the fertility struggle and those who may be dreaming of sitting in my seat at the theater at this very moment. My husband and I would have had a blessed life no matter what the outcome but it wouldn’t have been this life. We may have adopted a child or fostered a child but we wouldn’t have this child. We wouldn’t have Lillian and we wouldn’t be sitting together as a family at the Peabody Opera House on this January evening enjoying a performance of Paw Patrol Live.

An Amazing Doctor

Throughout my journey to have a baby my husband and I were treated by several fertility specialists. We got second and third opinions and then we found Dr. Elan Simckes and his caring staff at Fertility Partnership. We finally found a doctor who believed in us! He was personable and wasn’t afraid to think outside of the box. We were excited to hear that Dr. Simckes was named one of the top doctors in St. Louis this year and were honored when he asked us to appear in a photo in the August edition of Saint Louis Magazine. 

When a reporter heard about my story she interviewed me and the following article appeared on Saint Louis Magazine’s website in August. 

Fertility Partnership Helps St. Louis Families Grow

Dr. Elan Simckes keeps moms-to-be at ease with his colorful personality and  lighthearted antics.

By Mary Tomlinson August 22, 2016
Jennifer Talley and her daughter, Lillian, with Dr. Elan Simckes.

Jennifer Talley started her search for a fertility specialist as many do, trying recommendations from her general practitioner. Not feeling she’d found the right specialist, she visited an online support group for women dealing with infertility. She read a recommendation for Fertility Partnership in St. Peters.

At the clinic, she saw pictures of smiling families with their babies, a montage of success stories. Dr. Elan Simckes, the reproductive endocrinologist who started the practice, was unlike many other physicians. “He had a colorful personality and used humor to put us at ease,” Talley says. “I remember at one exam he was playing air guitar, and when I was getting ready to have a transfer he came in singing Looney Tunes.”

Simckes also keeps the cost of his clinic reasonable. “A sense of service to the community drew me to the field of reproductive health, but then there were people who couldn’t access it because of money,” he explains. “The lower you can get it without sacrificing quality, the better.” (The Centers For Disease Control ranked Fertility Partnership No. 2 in Missouri in live birth rate for women ages 35 to 37.)

Jennifer Talley and her daughter Lillian.

Jennifer Talley and her daughter Lillian and husband Ken

For Talley, her online support group also continued to play a pivotal role. “Our journeys all looked different, had different outcomes and twists and turns, but the emotions and fear and sadness, it’s all the same,” Talley says. “These women were there to support you. They were there to cry with you.”
One of the women, who lived in England, would send a knitted teddy bear when a fellow member had a child. When Talley’s daughter, Lillian, was finally born two years ago, she received a bear. It remains one of the family’s favorite toys.