When Life Doesn’t Go As Planned: Danelle

I met Danelle at my Galentine’s Day Event. We were talking a little before the speakers spoke and she mentioned her struggle with infertility briefly and we connected on Instagram so I could talk to her more and share her story. We share a common goal and I love that!

Danelle is a wife, Target enthusiast, chocolate addict and champion of kitchen karaoke! After years of struggling with infertility, she was left feeling hopeless and alone. In her efforts to find a connection with others experiencing trials, she discovered a love for writing and shares her journey on her blog wecallitajourney.com. Her message is one of hope, faith, and growth. She believes we are all connected through heartache and once we understand that, we can really start to heal. You can also find her on Instagram @wecallitajourney.

Photo by Blackley Photography

Our journey with infertility started almost five years ago. Even writing this now, it’s hard to convince myself that so much time has passed. I don’t like to admit it because hindsight is 20/20 and I might sound crazy but I think I always knew this trial would be a part of my story. Countless times the Spirit has touched my heart reminding me these simple words, “Your heart has been prepared for this.” At times my journey has left me feeling completely broken and worthless but through the cracks, I have felt the warm light of my Heavenly Father’s love. These experiences have been heartbreakingly beautiful and I am finally in a place where I can find gratitude for the journey.

I was married at 19 to an incredible man. The plan was to finish school and have a million babies! Okay… not a million, but we agreed to six! It’s easy to look back and feel ridiculous for how naive we were with family planning. We would talk about names and how far we would space our kids. We even went as far to say how many boys and how many girls we would have… [insert facepalm]. As if we ever really had a say in the matter. (If we’ve learned anything it’s how out of control we really are in all this.) I think about all those times we would panic because we thought we were pregnant and the timing wasn’t following “our plan” [insert facepalm]. All those times we joked about NEVER having kids after seeing one screaming at the grocery store. And lastly, I think about all that money we spent on birth control in the beginning only to find out we were “childproof” all along! If only we knew then what we know now.

I can honestly say for the first six months of trying, it was a relief we weren’t getting pregnant. I guess it’s like they always say, you’re never REALLY ready to have a baby. I think we spent the rest of the year praying that it would “accidentally” happen so that we didn’t have to take responsibility for the timing. After one year of trying we were frustrated with a hint of denial that there was indeed a problem.

I still remember that surreal moment of walking into a Fertility Clinic for the first time after almost two years of trying and thinking, “How are we here?! How are we THAT couple? I’m too young to be dealing with this!” We met with the Dr. and had a plan. We followed the instructions so precisely that it literally drove us crazy! So many tears were shed with that first fertility treatment. At the time I was putting my husband through his Master’s program so it took all our savings to pay for our medications and procedure. Surely the Lord would see how great our sacrifice was and He would bless us with a baby. When we finished the procedure, the nurse told us, “From this point forward, we assume you’re pregnant so no alcohol or hot tubs etc.” During that two week wait for our pregnancy results, we assumed we were so we were being cautious and realistic. When the results finally came and we heard the news that we were not pregnant we were so devastated that we realized how much we had actually believed this was a “sure deal.”

As time went on we tried several more procedures, all ending with failed attempts. Each leaving us a little more bitter, broken, and guarded than before. At one point our Dr. suggested we might be great candidates for an upcoming fertility study. If we were a match, we would be able to try a more aggressive (and much more expensive) approach at no cost for us. It felt like an answer to our prayers. Surely this is where our journey would end! It would all come down to one blood test level. Because I was young and otherwise healthy, there was no reason to think my levels wouldn’t be where it needed to be. Before our blood test, we fasted and prayed. We told our families and THEY fasted and prayed. We went to the temple and then prayed some more. Clearly, the Lord would hear and answer our prayers! The bloodwork came back at a level JUST under what was required and we were left again feeling angry and hopeless.

At this point, my faith in God and in prayer had been shaken. It felt so obvious that my name was not on His priority list. I didn’t know what to pray for anymore. I could no longer get down on my knees and continue begging him for the same thing over and over again. Because I valued my relationship with God, I was scared to ask Him for the things He wasn’t giving me. It would risk me being angry with Him when things didn’t pan out and I did not want to be mad at God, although I think He can take it. For a long time my prayers would sound like this, “Dear God, I’m here. Amen.” At one point I told Him He could put me through this but I was going to kick and scream the whole way. After that, it felt as though His arms embraced me and said, “You can put up a struggle but it will be easier if you don’t. Let me change you.”

It wasn’t until more recently that I have seen the beauty in brokenness. I have truly understood the “refiners fire” and that God is good. I guess I always knew that truth but it has meant so much more now that I’ve experienced it first hand. God has not blessed us with a child yet but He has molded and shaped us both into people we never knew we could be. I have found strength I didn’t know I had and courage I never knew was there. I have felt a deeper love for the Gospel as I cling on to every word in the scriptures and every song sung at church. I have felt God’s love for me more in the last few years than I have at any other time in my life and for that, I am eternally grateful. The heartaches are still there but it hurts less often and each day I relearn how to find gratitude and see God’s hand. I know this will be a lifelong pursuit and I guess that’s why We Call it a Journey.

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