Stories of Faith | Britney Hemsley, Part 1
I have learned that I am stronger than I ever thought I could be. I used to see others going through hard trials and think to myself, “I could never go through that,” but I have had a trial come into my life that I never thought I would be strong enough for—one that has made me dig deep within myself—and I’ve seen how strong my faith really is. I have also learned that Heavenly Father knows me individually. He knows how strong I really am. He knows I can do hard things!
In August, I went to a doctors appointment in Logan, Utah. I was about 12 ½ weeks along in my pregnancy. The doctor wanted to do an ultrasound. As I looked at the ultra sound screen and saw my baby kicking and moving all around, I couldn’t help but smile. But the doctor then proceeded to tell me that something didn’t look right with my baby’s head, and she stepped out of the room to get a ultra sound tech to double check. My heart raced as I laid there with a million thoughts running through my head. The tech said that the baby didn’t have a skull. The exact diagnoses is called anencephaly. It is the worse case form of spinal bifida. The baby did have a brain stem, so it would have involuntary movements, and it also had a very strong heart beat.
My stomach dropped as I was listening to my doctor tell me all of this. I felt like I was in a dream. She then told me this was terminal diagnose, and that I could choose to terminate the pregnancy then before the baby got to big, or I could carry this baby to full term with the hopes that it would maybe live for a few hours. I didn’t even feel like it was a choice, and I told her I would continue to carry my baby to full term.
As I walked out of the doctor’s office that day I had a so many emotions, but also a different feeling inside of me. I got in my car and said a prayer to Heavenly Father to help me be strong to press forward through this trial. I also prayed that I could sustain the physical pains of pregnancy to carry this baby to full term. As I called my loving husband and told him the news, he said everything would be okay as long as we continue to follow the commandments and live righteously. This gave me much comfort and I was grateful for his faith and support.
We met with a specialist from McKay Dee Hospital a few weeks after that first appointment. He did a very detailed ultra sound—he measured bones and looked at the organs very closely. We also found out that our baby is a boy! I kept thinking it was a girl because 90% of babies with anencephaly are girls, but we are very, very excited to have this little boy. We are naming him Hoss T. Hemsley, the "T" stands for "Todd", after my dad.
Despite our excitement, I do have days where I wonder, Why me? I’ve noticed those feeling come when I let my spiritual guard down, which allows Satan to come in and feast off of my weakness. I’ve learned how important it is to choose joy, and to keep my heart open to God and the teachings of the gospel. A good friend shared the following scripture with me:
Believe that a man doth not comprehend all the thing which the Lord can comprehend.
— Mosiah 4:9
When I am having a hard day I always turn to this scripture. I know the Lord has a greater plan for me if I cant quite comprehend it now.
I also know that Heavenly Father has put this special baby our lives for a reason. I don’t really think of my son’s anencephaly as a trial anymore—Heavenly Father trusts my husband, Channing, and I enough to give us this special baby. What a blessing! We have told our kids about our special baby and how he will not live with us for very long, but will go back to live with our Heavenly Father. Children have such a greater knowledge than us and it helps me build my faith. If I could only have the faith of a little child!
Finding this wonderful song on woman’s blog whose baby girl died from anencephaly a couple years ago has also brought me such peace:
“I Am A Child of God” – special version
I am a child of God and He has called me home.
My earthly journey’s through but still, I do not walk alone.
He leads me, guides me, walks bedside me,
Helps me find the way.
He welcomed me with open arms. I live with Him today.
I am a Child of God and I have gone ahead.
My earthly life was brief but oh, such peace
And love you gave.
You loved me, held me, stood beside me
And though I cannot stay.
You gave me much to help me and I live with Him today.
I am a child of God and I will wait for you.
Celestial glory shall be ours, if you can but endure.
I’ll lead you, guide you, walk beside you.
Help you find the way.
I’ll welcome you with open arms.
One bright Celestial day.
Everything has been going well in my pregnancy and Hoss is growing. We are planning on delivering at 36 weeks. I am excited to meet this little boy and very nervous at the same time. But I have seen so many tender mercies along the way, and I know there will be more to come if I live righteously. Seeing the hand of God at work has been truly amazing—especially in the case of my own faith, which is stronger now than ever before. Meeting Hoss will be such a special experience for me and my family. He will forever bless our lives!
If you'd like to connect with Britney, especially regarding Anencephaly, she is ready and willing to talk and to help you find peace, too. Contact her via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit her blog, dedicated to her sweet, unborn son: ourlittlebrotherhoss.blogspot.com