María Inés gave birth to Emma four years ago in Guatemala, where she and her family live, but within 24 hours, Emma was transported to the neonatal intensive care unit at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.
“She spent the rest of her short, but intense and meaningful life in the hospital, and she passed away six days later,” explains María Inés.
Little Emma had a rare condition known as velamentous cord insertion, which resulted in vasa praevia. This can turn into a serious complication that disrupts the important role of the umbilical cord and placenta to keep the baby healthy. It came as a shock, as María Inés had a normal pregnancy and there were no signs leading doctors to believe that anything was wrong.
“The hospital staff managed to help us have good memories of what was probably the worst week of our lives,” María Inés says. “We will be always grateful for all their warm attention for us.”
A year later, María Inés and her husband, Andreas, were blessed with the pregnancy news of Lucas, their healthy baby boy. While pregnant, a visit to Jose Prieto, M.D.
, at Johns Hopkins All Children’s confirmed Lucas did not have the same diagnosis. Lucas has only needed his eyes examined here at the hospital, which was scheduled during their annual family vacation to Sarasota–a place they have visited for many years.
“Since Emma passed away, Andreas and I decided to make our annual vacation trip to Sarasota around Emma's birthday and visit 'her hospital' as a way to make her present in our happiest days–vacations.”
While it will be never easy coming back to where they said goodbye to sweet Emma, for them, it is, in a way, therapeutic. As part of their trip, they snap a family photo in front of the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital logo in the main lobby–a keepsake of hope, a memory of reflection.
A very special way to remember Emma, keeping her alive in their hearts.