URBANDALE, Iowa -- Tuesday is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. It's a topic grieving parents say is difficult to process, let alone talk about.
A local organization is looking to change that with a "wave of light" Tuesday night.
The Wave of Light event provides an opportunity for those to join bereaved parents across the globe honoring and remembering all babies who died too soon by simply lighting a candle.
For the first time, Des Moines will officially be participating in the event at the Iowa State Capitol thanks to an Iowa-founded organization No Foot Too Small and an Urbandale couple who wanted to make sure their son, Weston, and all other angels are remembered.
After getting married in 2015, Tanner and Annie McCoy both knew they wanted to become parents right away. After fertility issues, the couple finally got pregnant, but the struggles didn't end there.
“Every two-three weeks I was in the E.R. I was scared,” Annie said. “There was always something happening so it was very, very scary, but I had no idea it could end in death.”
Their boy, Weston, was born at 23 weeks and one day.
“They took off his ventilator and they laid him right here,” Annie said while holding her chest. “They laid him right here and he passed.”
With his lungs not fully developed, Weston lived for just five minutes.
“It was the best day of our life, but also the absolute saddest most tragic day of our life,” Annie said.
His short life is making a big impact. On what would've been Weston's first birthday, the couple raised over $1,900.
“He made us better people so we want to share that with everyone else,” Annie said.
The McCoy's donated to No Foot Too Small, funding the Wave of Light event, something local angel ambassador Lindsay Felty said is important to all those grieving lives lost too soon.
“We don’t get to celebrate milestones with our angels. We don’t get to celebrate the first steps, birthdays, and first day of school,” Felty said. “So when we have events like this that are specific for our angels, it means a whole lot to our families to have a night that is specific for them.”
Felty lost her first baby, Liam at 37 1/2 weeks. After going into labor she found out he had passed. She delivered him 10 hours later.
Felty said this event allows her and other families to also feel community support that can almost be cathartic.
“I think it also helps to break the silence of pregnancy and infant loss which is very taboo to talk about in our society it is something that is so deeply personal and emotional so be able to come in public at the steps of the capitol as a community to boldly share our angels is hugely impactful,” Felty said.
The event will take place at the State Capitol. Check in starts at 6:30 p.m. with the lighting of candles beginning at 7 p.m. There will also be a reading aloud of the names of all the angels represented. Anyone is welcomed to join the event.
If you are someone dealing with grief after a pregnancy or infant loss in Des Moines or surrounding communities, No Foot Too Small encourages anyone to attend their quarterly mom groups. The next one is on December 3rd at Gilroy’s in West Des Moines.