ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The passage of time makes everything easier.

  • Guatemalan family visits Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital every year
  • Their daughter Emma had a rare condition, died at the hospital
  • Their visit is the family's way of remembering Emma

For Maria Ines Maegli and Andreas Losen, the task of walking through Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital has become less painful.

“Five years ago, when we left here, I would have never said that we were going to come every year,” Maegli said.

The hospital is the place where their firstborn Emma took her last breath.

“Thankfully, we got her for like, seven days,” Maegli said.

Emma had a rare condition known as velamentous cord insertion, resulting in a serious complication, which affected the umbilical cord and placenta.

The baby was less than 24 hours old when she was flown from their hometown of Guatemala City, Guatemala to St. Petersburg, Florida.

Emma passed away six days later.

“What Emma needed, there’s nothing like that in Guatemala. Nothing,” the couple said.

Fast forward a year later – the couple was blessed with news of another pregnancy, their son Lucas.

Not taking any chances, they flew back to Johns Hopkins as a precaution.

“Someone from the hospital telling me, look, everything is okay, it was really comforting,” Maegli said.

The trip coincided with what would have been Emma’s first birthday.

The couple snapped a photo in the hospital lobby to commemorate the milestone.

From that moment on, they decided to schedule their annual Florida vacation around mid-August, as a way of remembering Emma.

Every time, they pay a visit to the hospital and snap a family photo in the lobby.

“We didn't think of it as a tradition,” Losen said. “It started... like just natural.”

This year, there was a new addition to the family photo – baby Ian, who's just two months old.

Someday, when Ian and Lucas look back at the pictures, they’ll remember the sister they never knew.

“It’s a day that we just dedicate to Emma and that’s special,” Maegli said.