Becoming a mother at 46 and the adventure of having a baby unicorn!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

It's been a year. I woke up crying.

A year ago I unpublished my blog to get through the journey and very big challenging roller coaster of IVF cycles and procedures.  It was mother's day and I woke up crying as I have done on this day for many painful years, and wrote the previous post.  Today was no different. 

I woke up crying. These are different tears.

I woke up feeling the Baby Unicorn moving in my belly and those were tears of immeasurable joy. 

I woke up thinking of all the women in the world who feel pain and deep sorrow for their babies, born, unborn, deceased, twinkling stars in the universe not here on earth with them.  These are tears of solidarity and understanding.

"Is infertility a common problem? Yes. About 10 percent of women (6.1 million) in the United States ages 15-44 have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).Feb 9, 2018"

The pain is unexplainable to the other 90% of the world. It's a unique emotional pain that burns through your heart and lingers there waiting to be reignited over and over again by the slightest breeze. I want to remember this pain, but I am starting to forget. I want to release it, but I know I need to hold on to it because it was such a huge part of my strength for so long and if I let it all go, I will miss something so powerful that it kept me going on my 10+ year journey of becoming a mother.  I am not the same person as the one that wrote my last blog post one year ago and yet I am the same person because this journey left a scar on my heart that keeps me aware of what real pain is and keeps me compassionate for those still on that journey.

I am going to journey back in time eventually I hope but for now I am so happy to report that on November 20th, 2017  1 embryo was transferred and on December 1st, 2017, I found out that it finally worked!  That I am going to be a mother, the one thing I have never doubted I wanted my whole life! Thank you for being on this journey with me.  I will be livestreaming on Facebook and Instagram every Friday at 4pm Pacific Time and I hope you can join me. m

10 weeks
27 weeks

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!

Every year I struggle on this day.  I have written in the past about how Mother's Day affects people, not only with happiness and joy but with longing, sadness, and grief.  If you would like to know more, I have two blog posts:

"When Mother's Day Approaches"

"It's one of those days and I am not alone"

As I am still holding on to the hope of becoming a mother, I thought it would be a good time to write an update on my IVF Journey.

I haven't written for a while for a few personal reasons but I'm happy to announce that some solid decisions have been made and instead of doing a "fresh transfer" I will be doing a frozen transfer. To sum it up, I will be doing the IVF Cycle with an extra step.  My egg donor will be completing her cycle end of May and I will know some time in the first week of June, how many good embryos I have.  I will then know how many chances I will have to get pregnant!

It's a good decision but took some time to make. Now that I know my new path, I am feeling hopeful again.

I am planning my first transfer end of August.  If all goes well, this time next year, I could be a new mommy.

For now, I'm giving birth to another business for the summer.  In case you didn't see, I am opening a pop-up store to fund the Charity Wings Art Programs called ART+SUPPLIES.  Yes, I am certifiably insane. For more details see my new Facebook Page.

As for the baby journey, I just keep trying to eat healthy, live healthy and stay positive as I mend my heart and plan for whatever the universe has for me.
If you got this far, thanks for reading, thank you for caring, and never let go of your hopes and dreams!


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Sad Unicorn

I didn't know if I needed to post this, but then I realized I did.

Monday January 16th was supposed to be the start of my IVF cycle.  I have been doing all the last minute prepping and getting ready for what I have been so hopeful for.

I had stopped the BC pills on the 12th to regulate my cycle and I was supposed to have started my period. It had not come on the 16th which was suspicious.  When I got to the doctor's  for my baseline ultrasound, the nurse told me that I have 2 cysts, one on each of my ovaries. They are each about an inch long.  This is not good.  The cysts are likely from the "mock cycle" that we did to see if I can even carry a child.  So it had to be done, but this is the result.

They drew blood and sent me home.  I made it out of the doctor's office before the tears started coming.  This news was depressing to say the least.  More than that, it was frustrating.  Then, that afternoon I got the call.

My estrogen levels were at 1100. To put that into perspective, they want me to be at 100. The cysts are producing estrogen.  So I am back on BC pills to try to get the cysts to go back down.  I will be having another ultrasound on Jan 23rd.  Wish me luck.  I was so hopeful that my body might actually be capable of doing something it is supposed to do in regards to becoming pregnant. This set back, sets me back.

The weird things is, I had just written this blog post Saturday, and forgotten to publish it. I was so hopeful that day.  Weird.  Is this the brick wall slamming down for me to run into when things are going well?  I hope not. All I know is that right now, I am a sad unicorn.

The child in me.

I have always wanted to be a mother. I wasn't always ready, but I have always wanted it. When I was growing up, my plan was to be married and pregnant by the time I was 25.  So 20 years late and I am not where I thought I would be at all.

I don't know if other people do this, but when I wake up, the first thing I reach for is my phone. Addicted.  Yes. I admit it.  And the first thing I do is look at the Facebook On This Day post. I open it and start scrolling. Right now, it is Jan so its filled with photos of me at CHA and Art Venture.  Im dressed up and having a great time and doing my thing. I love seeing these pictures. 

But the photos I am looking for are the ones of Matthew and Jake.  If you knew me during that time, you will know it was the happiest time in my whole entire life.  I have never ever felt the kind of love that those two little boys gave me for 2 years. I will never be able to hate Matt because he let me mother his two small children and I got to feel what I was missing and fill that huge hole in my heart for a short time.  

So, at this point in my life. I have switched gears. From all of the sadness, depressed artwork and love of blood and pain, I am moving to my world of rainbows and baby unicorns and looking for a bright sunny sky.  The child in me loves this place.  The adult in me is teetering on the edge of a precipice, waiting to see if there really is going to be a child in me.  I don't know how far I will fall if this does not work. But I know that right now, I am very very hopeful.

Monday, January 09, 2017

This is My IVF Journey.

My name is Elena Lai Etcheverry and I am the Founder and Executive Director of Charity Wings Inc. I am on a journey trying to get pregnant and I am sharing this personal experience to hopefully help others know they are not alone, and to bring awareness to infertility and the one in eight couples that have trouble conceiving or sustaining a pregnancy.

Here is my story.

The cycle starts Jan 12th and the money is due in a few days.
If you wish to help, I will be forever grateful.

#findingelena #findingmyhope

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

My Holiday Roller coaster- Searching for a partner

I had planned to be pregnant before the end of 2016. I just wanted to either know I am having a baby, or start the slow decent into the inevitable depression before I pulled myself up to try again.  However, it didn't work out and now I can't do the embryo transfer till first week of Feb 2017.  This is literally torture.

The holidays are already a roller coaster of emotions. This is harder.

I've been trying for weeks to blog. I hate when I get out of the habit. I spend so much time thinking and realizing that I need to write and then when I sit down, I can't get the words to flow.  Tonight I am determined.

There is something about planning for a baby, that may or may not come, that is surreal and unique.  I have finally resigned myself to the fact that I am in for a lot of changes. Not just because of the baby.  Not the obvious ones.  More because I am finally ready to accept what I have said a to so many people.

"I would not do what I do (run Charity Wings) if I had children."

This is the truth.

So many times my "married with kids friends" have told me that I am so lucky to get to do what I do.  I don't deny that at all. My life has been so charmed. I have had the most amazing experiences. Meaningful relationships in my life are plentiful. I have not lacked happiness. So it is with a guilty heart that I even slightly complain about the cards I have been dealt. However, every time my "married with kids friends" say how lucky I am to get to do what I do, and do whatever I want, I tell them not to envy my life.  I have no children. I have no husband. I would trade it all, every minute, for the life you have with your family.

I have been dealing with the "ticking clock" for about 7 years now.  I was married when this whole baby challenge started. It sealed the fate of an already incompatible relationship while wreaking havoc on my heart, mind, soul, and sanity.   I was ready to be a mother but didn't think anything like this would happen. I didn't know that my body would not cooperate.  I  didn't know that it would betray me in the simplest most natural task.  I am a woman. It is my God Given Right to bear children.  

And I never never never thought I wouldn't be a mother.  Never. 

To finally learn, and maybe not for the first time but for the first time that my heart was open to learning, that not being able to conceive did not mean that I couldn't carry a child, well, that is a gift from a friend that I was not expecting.  It came to me in a moment that I could hear it and understand it.  Somehow the stars aligned that night.

So full steam ahead I went. And in the process, with all the changes, I am having to face the fact that my words are true.  I cannot run Charity Wings and have a child.  

So as I look 2017 dead on, I see that I am on the fast track to change. 

On January 12th the IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) AKA (ART Assisted Reproductive Therapy) Cycle will begin. The cycle will last about 6 weeks from start to finish and in the end I am hoping with all my heart, all my might, all my power to be pregnant.

So I am searching for the right someone.  Charity Wings is looking for the perfect person to take on the operations side of the organization.  This needs to be the perfect person.  This person will be my partner. They will grow the side of the organization that I, as one person, have never been able to. This place has such amazing potential. Every city needs a place like this.  We have so much to offer and I have only been able to tap into the smallest part of it.  When I find this person, I will migrate my responsibilities and focus on what I am good at.  I will continue to build relationships and raise money and awareness for the amazing programs and classes we offer.  I have been doing this job for going on 11 years and it is time.

The change is coming and I am looking forward to what the next part of this life has to offer.

Ive raised about 1/2 of the $30,000+ I need to pursue this dream.
If you want to help:

My ever after is all I'm after.

Wishing the same for all of my friends and family in 2017.  Thank you for reading.

#findingelena #findingmyhope #infertility

Saturday, October 29, 2016

It occurred to me yesterday...

As I was riding the roller coasters at Disneyland with Paul I realized that this roller coaster ride is not just about me anymore. I post on this blog, and on Facebook etc. so that I can hopefully raise awareness or bring a needed message to someone that it might resonate with, but really, this journey is so much more than mine.

So, back up a little. I wanted to go to Disneyland with Paul because 1) its always fun! 2) he bought me a pass for my bday last year and we have barely used it. 3) It's fun to watch Paul Malone let his "kid" out sometimes and 4) I am hoping this will apply to me very soon.

So we went, rode all the roller coasters and it was a very fun day.  I did check Facebook a couple of times during the day and I saw that the photos I had posted about my uterine lining measurement was blowing up.  Well, for me, 300 plus likes is blowing up!

So, here I am at Disneyland and all of the sudden I get this feeling like.  I might disappoint all these people!!!  What if this doesn't work.  I already know how I will feel.  I just try not to think about it.  But what about my village?!?!!

The way social media has evolved, it really does feel like all of these people are cheering me on as I am battling these demons and holding their breath hoping that the demons don't swallow me up.

But what if they do.

Trying not to think about it.

Monday, October 03, 2016

My 5 day flight.

Last Thursday I disconnected from my electronics, social media, family, work, and people I love.

Today I'm driving back to my life a changed girl.

I met these amazing women.

Abby, you're sweet, youthful, and wise beyond your years. Just starting your journey and yet you have already come so far. Let's go to Taiwan together.

Amanda, you are a warrior. Thank you for feeling like me. It makes "me" a thousand times more bareable. You are so so beautiful.

Kolleen, you started my journey by knowing I was scared and pointed it out to the people who needed to know so I could feel safe. I am so grateful for your intuition and nurturing. My red bracelet brought fresh blood to my wounds and helped to heal me.

Melissa, you reminded me that I need to find more time for my body. And that opening your heart is scary and I am not the only one that feels this way. Strong and reserved and somehow still carrying an open heart.

Meredith, you fed my body and soul and I didn't know food could have so much intention before so thank you for teaching  me that. I can't wait to eat my vegetable with you again.

Eve, your spirit is sooooooooo soothing. I felt like I was connecting with someone from another world. I admire your heart.

Jennifer/Heather, I loved our walk. I loved our baller jacuzzi time. I loved when you were quiet and when you let lose and said the most amazingly right on things. I will be sending you foxy love on your marathon.

Tonia, you have the patience and heart of a Saint. Thank you for collaborating on my medicine pouch. I will treasure it always.

Jen Lake, San Diego calls us back and I am feeling like the luckiest person because I get to leave here and still see you. Rainbows, unicorns, giggles, and OLSPS . I can't wait to play again.

Denise, my wondeful bed mate. I am in awe of what you do. It's a beautiful thing to heal people through Art. I loved getting your energy while I slept. I think it was just what I needed.

Jeanette, I connected with your energy. It provided so much spiritual guidance these past few days. I feel your pain and I offer up my pain in hopes that you can be soothed at least a little bit.

Christine, every time I looked at you, your ever smiling eyes let me know I was in a safe place. You look at people with kindness and love and exude it. That is such a special gift.

Jen Jen Jen. Your beauty holds no bounds.  The fox tail will sit on my baby alter in a place of honor and I will pray for the magic that it holds to join my soul. You guide, I'll follow.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Cry in the shower?

Does anyone else do this?  Sometimes I get so overwhelmed by the GRIEF and HOPE and that the tears just come. They come and they work their way through my whole body and before I know it, I am wracked with sobs that come straight from my broken heart.  My broken body has betrayed me and it makes it very very hard to LOVE MYSELF.

So that even though my mind tells me lots of people love me, I feel completely alone because I don't love myself. 

In my heart I have such doubt.

Today I am leaving on a spiritual journey. One that I set an intention for at Brave Girls Symposium.  I am going to a retreat where no one knows me, well, other than what they may have read here :)  I am going to walk through those doors at 4 pm today and be Elena.  Just Elena.  I am going to ground myself on my path to have a baby. My phone and computer will be off. I am going to disconnect from this anxiety filled place that I am living in and look for me.

I don't know what will happen and admittedly I am very nervous.  I know I am holding my heart in my own hands and fixing it is all on me. So I am going to try.

See you on the other side.
#findingelena #findingmyhope

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

I'm like a tornado. The inside spins so fast

I don't even know if that is true but I imagine myself like a tornado. The inside of me is spinning so fast because it is in a small space and just like a dog chasing it's tail, I only have so far to go before what I want is right in front of my face again.  Unfortunately so is my inadequacy to get what I want.  It stares me in the face too many times a day.

It's like the hope eats me up inside because it is just out of my reach and I literally keep chasing it till I'm frustrated and exhausted.

And sometimes I get a teeny glimpse of what it would be to get it.  I have moments of absolute confidence.  Like last week when I went to the doctor and he told me that if I use a donor embryo I would have a 50% chance of success if I used one embryo and if I transferred two, I would have a 75% chance of success.

I ALMOST PASSED OUT.  I teared up and it took all my power not to cry right there because I had so many questions to ask and didn't have time for an emotional break down.  But I was DYING inside.  HOW DID I NOW KNOW THIS OPTION EXISTED.

for me.

That is why when people say, "Adopt"  I am not there.  I don't see that as an option for me.  I have done the research and for what I want, it is not an option.

for me.

Ok, so back to my tornado.  Inside its like a whirlwind. I can't at all keep up. 

On the outside I am running an art center. I am trying to keep my S#*! together. I am smiling. The world moves slower outside and people can actually see me, the things I do, the things I say, the actions I am taking to find my hope.  It's slower and people can see it. They can't see the inside until I share it. So for the other people spinning inside, I share it.

Not sure anyone buys it but I am trying so hard. I never ever thought I would be doing this alone. And now that I am, I can't believe how lonely it is.  It's not like I am some super strong, independent woman who wants to be a single mom.  This is the last choice.  The only choice I have left.  and it is incredibly lonely.

for me.

The autumn wind by Yuehui Tang

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

The fear of Hope.

Does anyone feel this way? So scared to hope? I made the decision to go forward with this part of my journey again. And I'm scared. What if everything that I've read and researched doesn't apply to me? What if I go in and this doctor tells me that there is no way that I can carry a child? All my hopes and dreams lie in his hands and I'm scared. Here I go.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

In a minute...

If you don't want to know what hurt looks like
--------------------------------------------do not read on.

Does this happen to other people?

It only takes a minute. The world is all pretty and just floating along and then. 

It just happens. It's like you can't take a breath.  There is no wind anywhere to be found.  You wrap your arms around yourself to keep all of you from falling apart.  You kneel down and your head falls into your lap and you just sit there concentrating on trying to breathe.

You are having an anxiety attack.  Nothing is wrong with you. You know you are totally going to be ok, but in that minute...

Something hurt you.  Something hurt your sense of what is right in the world.  Something hurt your reality and here you are.  

and here I am.
#findingelena #findingmyhope

Sunday, August 07, 2016

The reality is this.

I've never had a time in my life when I knew I was going to be alone.

Since I was a little girl my biggest dream was to get married and have a family.  I was the kid that babysat every kid in the neighborhood from the time I was about 12 years old.  I was the one that loved babies and that babies loved. I tell people I have a kid aura. That kids know that I will be good to them and care for them.  I have prided myself all my life on what a good mother I am going to be.

Now, as the reality is settling in, I can see that I am going to be alone.  I absolutely have to be. I don't mean alone as in without friends or support.
I mean alone as in without a partner.

This has never been in my plans.  In fact, it was so far from my plans that I have made steps on this journey that have taken me farther from my dream of being a mother because I wanted to do this with a man that would be the father.

Making the decision to leave my wonderful, safe, happy, sweet relationship and try to have a baby through Assisted Reproductive Therapy, has made me realize that I cannot accept another person into my heart.  Because after a lifetime of 2 year relationships, I don't trust that anyone has the same passion for my dream as I do. And this I know is probably the most obvious thing but I have never seen it as clearly as I do right now.

I'm scared and excited.  
I'm filled with anxiety.
I'm confused and seeking answers.
I cry every night and I am not always sure why.

My heart is open to what will happen next. My mind is focused on what I need to do.

#findingelena #findingmyhope

If you want to help: