Sweet baby Ellie is the daughter of our good friends Evan and Tracy. Ellie was delivered by emergency c-section last Thursday and transported by ambulance from Lake Regional Health System in Osage Beach to the NICU at the University of Missouri Women’s and Children’s Hospital here in Columbia. It’s been a frightening and emotional experience for their family, but each day Ellie shows signs of improvement. She still has a long road ahead of her and there are many unanswered questions as to the extent of all of her complications, but one thing is certain: this girl is a fighter.

I made another visit to the hospital yesterday evening, but this time I brought my camera. I wanted to do something for my friends and they graciously gave me the last ID bracelet they had which allows unlimited  access to Ellie’s private room. It’s an amazing gesture, because this means I can even visit if Evan and Tracy aren’t there, and perhaps document some of Ellie’s time with the nurses. Although I am anxious to hear the news that all is well and Ellie can go home, the reality is that they still might be there for a while. So in that time I’ll continue to visit and bring my camera and capture some memories for the Lampe family. Perhaps when Ellie is older and thumbs through these images with Evan and Tracy they’ll be able to not only tell her, but show her how miraculous her story is.

Two nights ago, Tracy got to hold Ellie for the first time. Evan documented that moment and I know that photograph will be one of Tracy’s favorite and most adored images of her with Ellie. The moments I captured below are from the following day when, once again, Tracy got to hold Ellie, but for a much longer period of time. And there really is no place like Momma’s arms. It was obvious when Tracy tried to lay Ellie down to sleep and she let out a cry that meant only one thing: she was not in Momma’s arms.

This my friends, is my passion… documenting life’s most real and precious moments. Evan and Tracy, thank you for trusting me with your memories.