Stories of Faith: Britney Hemsley Part I

October 21, 2014

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 ultra sound.   As I looked at the ultra sound screen and saw my baby kicking andmovingall 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 Anenchephaly 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: Also visit her blog, dedicated to her sweet, unborn son:

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  • Reply Kristin Swainston October 22, 2014 at 8:08 am

    Brit.. thank you for sharing this tender and very special experience your sweet family is having. I admire your strength and faith. Love you and am thinking of you.

  • Reply Tessa Sparriw October 22, 2014 at 8:40 am

    Britney and Channing,

    Thank you for sharing your special story! You are such a strength and support to all those who know you! Your unmoveable faith and trust in The Lord is such a strength to everyone. Your are true servants of our Heavenly Father, by willing to share your testimony and strength through your experience to help, uplift, strengthen and serve others. Hoss and your other cute children are so blessed to have you as parents. Hoss is such a special little boy that is fulfilling his mission and purpose. The gospel is true and we are eternal families. What a joyous day it will be to have our special little ones welcoming us home! May The Lord continue to bless you and His love and comfort continue to surround you! He is always there and it is an amazing feeling to know He is and that through Him we are capable of more than we know. You are in my thoughts and prayers! Love you Brit!

  • Reply Andrea Andersen October 22, 2014 at 9:39 am

    Britney, I am praying for you to keep feeling Heavenly Fathers love for you. You are strong and so blessed to have the understanding of the Gospel in your life. Thanks for your thoughts. It has strengthened me and reminded me how to stay strong through my own trials. You are going to be great and bless other people through your experience. Keep sharing!

  • Reply Mandy Williams October 22, 2014 at 11:33 am

    Brittney and Channing, you have been in our hearts and prayers. Thanks for sharing your story and for your example of faith. Love you all.

  • Reply Dallas Hemsley October 22, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    Your baby “Hoss” needed to do this for His Soul growth. He chose You as his Mother, because He knows you and the kind of Mother you are…He knew that even though He won’t be around long in body, He can be with you now, and enjoy your beautiful soul energy….You are special and God and Hoss knew this….

    I love you….Dallas

  • Reply Chelsie Stuart October 22, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Wow, I pretty much cried my way through your story! You are such a great example of faith and courage. I definitely admire your outlook on life! Love you and your family!

  • Reply Chelsie Stuart October 22, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    Wow, I pretty much cried my way through your story! You are such a great example of faith and courage. I definitely admire your outlook on life! Love you and your family lots!

  • Reply Linda C October 22, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    The faith of your sweet family makes me realize how weak mine is. But I am going to work on it. Thanks for this beautiful story. I look forward to traveling the journey with you. I hope you will be writing more about it because you spread beautiful rays of strength, positivity, submission, etc. along with faith. God bless your whole family!

  • Reply Tonia Brown October 22, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    What a Special Little Spirit in the Hemsleys life.
    The Journeys your Family is a Test of Faith, Love & Endurance!
    Knowing this Awesome Family~they are Strong in All the above!
    Best wishes and your in our Thoughts & Prayers!

  • Reply Chelsie Stuart October 22, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    Wow! I cried the whole way through your story! You are such a great example of faith and courage. I admire your outlook on life. Thanks for sharing! We love you and your family lots!

  • Reply Tanara (Skinner) More October 22, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear of your trial. Having just lost a baby in June of this year, my heart goes out to you. It’s amazing how strong we can be when faced with something so difficult and heartbreaking. We knew at 19 weeks that something wasn’t right with our little boy. His little heart stopped beating right around 37 weeks. I have relied heavily on my faith and the gospel to sustain me. I have the knowledge and comfort of knowing where these sweet spirits are and that we will be with rhem again. I send my love and prayers to you and your family. Talking it out has helped me a ton. I’d love to be there for you if you need an ear or a shoulder. Stay strong and know you are loved!!

  • Reply Megan Orme October 22, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    I cannot help after reading through your trial, how amazing you and your family are. You truly are an example of enduring. Not only is your family blessed, but Hoss is also blessed to be born into an amazing family. I pray that you and Hoss will continue to be healthy throughout this time. I also pray that your family is able to find peace and comfort. I love you, and am blessed to have your faith as an example for me to follow.

  • Reply Sara Edwards October 22, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    After talking with you the other day Brit, I have been so inspired by your amazing faith. You and
    Channing, and your sweet baby boy, Hoss, have touched my heart and helped me to focus more on what is really important in this life. I pray for you daily, and I know that The Lord will strengthen you as you bring little Hoss into this world. I hope I can help in any way. Love you and your wonderful family!

  • Reply LuAnn October 22, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    Britt, After getting to know you several years ago I’ve always been so impressed with you and I’m not surprised to see you handle a trial like this with this kind of faith and acceptance. You baby has chosen well. Still, my heart goes out to you and your family and my prayers are with you. Thank you for sharing your sweet faith building story with us and God bless you all.

  • Reply julie smith October 22, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    What a beautiful, strong woman you are. You have a beautiful family and I know Little Hoss can feel of your love. Thank you for sharing your testimony of the love of our Heavenly Father, and for helping my testimony grow today. May your family be blessed with the strength you will need to go through this trial.

  • Reply Andrea Holyoak October 22, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    I’m so grateful I can type this, because I don’t think I’d ever be able to tell you my feelings without sobbing through the whole thing! You are incredible. Channing is incredible. You both come from amazing families that have led you and guided you to be those incredible people. Life is so uncertain, and it is that uncertainty that continues to challenge us and push us to grow, whether we like it or not. During our difficult time with our Journey, prayers, blessings, love and support were all around us. We were so blessed. We never expected her to make it. We were told time and again that she wouldn’t, but through it all, one of the greatest spiritual experience of my life occurred. I felt overwhelmed with love from my Heavenly Father that even if she didn’t survive, I would be forever blessed to be the vessel by which she obtained her earthly body and made an instant return to celestial glory. I will NEVER forget it. It changed me forever. What a true blessing and privilege it is that you were righteous enough to allow this special spirit to grow, gain a body, and return to Heaven to await the day when he will spend the eternities with you.
    Jamie and I love you both so very much, and our family continues to put you in our prayers.

  • Reply Phil & Suzanne Young October 23, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    We so felt of your love and faith. Britany, only a mother’s love would give life over her own grief. The realization of the partnership you have with our Heavnly Father is priceless. May you continue to be blessed as you complete this process in the plan of life. Our love & prayers are with your family.

  • Reply Christy Stephenson October 26, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    Brittney, I am so touched by your story. It seems like just yesterday Lee and I were out to your parents place helping you get your steer ready for fair! But that was more than 10 years ago! And needless to say I am blown away to see the wise young lady you have become and the maturity you possess. I wish I had been as solid as you are when life threw me a curveball! The fact that you can see this as a blessing and seek to grow from it, rather than seeing yourself as a victim is beautiful and a true sign of your spiritual strength. It’s funny how at some point in life each of us gets the opportunity to face something that we didn’t think we could. The beauty in it is that you will never be the same as a result. My challenge of having a child diagnosed with autism has made me more compassionate, patient and most importantly it taught me the true meaning of unconditional love. And I am convinced that this was the only way I could learn these lessons. It took me many years of struggles to get to that point so I admire you for embracing this trial upfront with so much humility and spiritual strength. Please know that you will be in my thoughts and prayers. I am certain that this journey will be one of the most precious things you get to experience in this lifetime.

  • Reply velvet hubbard October 27, 2014 at 7:38 am

    As difficult as these times are, I know God is closest to us and if we allow ourselves to see His blessings and feel His love, all His tender mercies are overwhelming! You are such a strength to those around you and know when you feel that strength starting to fade a bit that you have lots of love and prayers from both sides of the veil to lean on and bouy you up. We love you, Brit! Our prayers are with you and your sweet family!

  • Reply Susan Andersen January 8, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    My third miscarriage was twins. One died at 3 months along and I delivered the other at 4 months along on the doctors examining bed. Later I had an experience in the temple where he came to my good friend beside me, and told her to tell me how much he appreciated all I had done for him. I know Hoss feels that same way and he thanks you so much and will bless your name forever.

  • Reply Ashley Ulmer January 16, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I had a baby that was born premature and lived on this earth for only a few hours. I knew that she had little chance of living after she was born but, like you, I made the choice to carry her as long as I could. It is the best choice I have ever made. Heavenly Father sends these sweet little spirits to us to help us learn and feel his love. He knows and loves each of us and will carry you and your family through every part of this journey. Love your little ones with all you have and everything will work out in the eternities.

  • Reply Jackie Bottoms February 4, 2015 at 10:38 pm

    May you ever be blessed for what youve been going through. Although you may not know me, I am thinking of you and uour family. Families are forever!

  • Reply Kathleen March 26, 2015 at 10:11 am

    I also had a baby girl (Sarah) 33 years ago with anencephaly. I became pregnant for her shortly after being sealed to my husband and 2 older children in the temple. I am a convert to the church and it was the plan of salvation that interested me and prompted me to join the church. Little did I know that I was being prepared for the greatest trial in my life! I went full term despite the doctors efforts to induce me and she was almost a month overdue! I was in and out of the hospital many times over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays trying to induce labor. Having Sarah was a life changing experience for my immediate family. My children (those both born before she was born and those after) have a special bond with her. She has helped our family deal with other trials and has made her presence known when a missionary daughter was lonely and down serving a mission in faraway Japan. Having Sarah has been a blessing in many ways, but sometimes the heartache can almost be unbearable! Time does not take away way the pain, only dulls it. I look forward to the day I will be reunited with my perfect daughter that came to earth in an imperfect body. Thank you for sharing your story. Sometimes I feel as if I am the only one who has experienced this trial and no one else understands. I do! May the Lords tender mercies continue to be poured upon your precious family.

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