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posted: 10/11/2012 10:57 AM

Debra Collins, Woodridge: 'We didn't get to hear his first cry or see him open his eyes'

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  • Curtis and Debra Collins of Woodridge held their son, Elias, all night after he was born prematurely due to complications in the pregnancy.

      Curtis and Debra Collins of Woodridge held their son, Elias, all night after he was born prematurely due to complications in the pregnancy.
    Courtesy of the Collinses

By Debra Collins

Nov. 22, 2011, 11:48 p.m., is the exact moment in time I felt a love so pure, infinite and breathtaking. A love so unreal it triumphed over any expecting parent's worst nightmare -- losing their child. This was the moment our son, Elias Randall Collins, was born.

We didn't get to hear his first cry or see him open his eyes, but I can trace all of the wrinkles on all of his 10 fingers and 10 toes. His lips are my favorite part of him. Elias looked so peaceful, like an angel sleeping, that I whispered as to not wake him when we held him all night.

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It was a mere 30 hours earlier that I was at home, beyond joyful for life. I loved every moment of my pregnancy. I had never felt so beautiful and blessed. With every week that passed, I would eagerly cross off the weeks on my calendar, as any excited mother-to-be. This was the day I made it to 18 weeks. The day the thought of a miscarriage finally went away. There was no warning, no pain, no blood -- just a sense that something was not right and that I needed to look down.

There it was, part of my amniotic sac. Doctors never saw this coming since I'd never had any form of cervical surgery or fibroids. There was no indication of an incompetent cervix, when a woman's cervix is not strong enough to hold her growing baby and opens up prematurely.

Nothing can prepare you for being in the hospital with a healthy baby inside of you and knowing that it was just a matter of time before his precious life slipped away. It could have been a matter of minutes, hours or days before my amniotic sac would rupture. Every time they would check on Elias, his heart rate would be so strong, impressing everyone. Twenty-four hours later the sac had started to slowly leak. Soon enough, it was time for me to push.

I spent the next couple of weeks at home, hearing the faint sound of a baby crying. It took every part of my being to not tear up my home to find my baby. I would stop in my tracks because I could smell him in the air. That sweet smell of baby that every newborn has. Every time I would hear or smell him, I thought the moment had finally come of waking up from a horrible nightmare.

It was with the love and support of our families, friends and nurses that my husband and I are able to cherish the night we held our son. We baptized Elias that night and have since spread his ashes in places that mean the most to me and my husband.

Elias is still very much a part of our family. We remember him each and every day. Not only are we going to walk for him, but to support the families that are walking through this journey with us.

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