What would her name have been? Would it have been Inga or Hilde? Could she have been named Mary or Emily? We will never know.
We will call her "Baby."
This tiny one, this little one with the unutterable look of peace on her fragile and perfect face, only eighteen weeks gestation, was excised from her mother's womb via hysterotomy. She was photographed after death*, still within her amniotic sac, the placenta still attached.
Eighteen weeks old. Her mother would just have felt the signs of quickening, the first tiny kicks showing the movement of the new being within. "Baby" had been moving long before her brief eighteen weeks of existence, but the fluttering of her movements would not yet have been noticeable to her mother.
Now, she was dead and a cover girl. She would not have the glamorous life a LIFE magazine cover girl usually had. She would not grow up to be gorgeous and famous, pampered and adored by millions of devoted fans. She would not be a movie star like Marilyn Monroe or Angelina Jolie.
She would never grow up.
She would never dream her first dreams or smile her first smile. She would never lose a first tooth or read her first book. She would never go to a prom, never have her first kiss, never fall in love and get married, never have kids and never grow old and die.
"Baby," to look at your exquisite and delicate beauty is to love you, to wish you had been born, to wish you had had someone to cradle you in your arms and dry your tears. To look at you is to know you would have been forty-six years old this year. Forty six. Who knows what your life may have been: A mom of five, a nurse in the NICU, a CEO of a software company, a captain in the army, a famous baker of cupcakes?
We don't know why your mother did not want you, but we do know this: He who made you and formed you perfectly within the womb loved you even when others did not. He sent winged angels to take you to his heart.
God bless you along with all the other millions of cherubs unwanted, unknown, unnamed and unloved. May you and your kindred cherubs play together in the presence of your Creator, eternally at peace and at rest. And when in Heaven you are grown into unimaginably beautiful, incandescent and powerful creatures under the fatherly care of God, may we meet you in Heaven your home.
God bless you, "Baby."
* Lennart Nilsson photographed both living and dead fetuses, but posed the latter as if they were still alive. LIFE magazine stated the baby on its cover was living. The editors were wrong.