Julia hoists herself around on the bed until her head's at the bottom, then sticks her legs straight up in the air and leans them gently on the headboard.

“You know, you look ridiculous,” Mark snorts, walking out of the bedroom to grab some toilet paper from the bathroom, because that is their deal: She will allow the wet spot to be on her side of the bed as long as Mark is the one to clean it up, and she is only allowing it at all because she is thrilled, delighted, amazed that Mark has even agreed to this baby in the first place.

She was thrilled. Nine months ago. Nine months ago when she first broached the subject and told him that she was desperate for a baby, that at thirty-three time was definitely running out; that her mother had problems conceiving her, and it took her two and a half years. That last part was actually a bit of a white lie. Her mother conceived her on her wedding night, but that was the clincher, and Julia finally got her wish.

She watches Mark as he comes back from the bathroom. Tallish, broadish, green-eyed and mousy-haired, he would produce adorable children. They, together, would produce adorable children. They would have Julia's dimples and Mark's eyes. Julia's hair and Mark's physique. Mark's gentleness, calmness, and Julia's tenacity, drive.

They would have so much, if Mark and Julia were able to produce at all.

Nine months.

Ironic, isn't it?

If they had been successful that first time they decided to leave the condoms in the drawer, they'd be having a baby right about now. To be more specific, Julia would be having a baby next Thursday. Thursday the 30th of January.

He or She, or Baby of Mine, as Julia has termed the life that isn't yet growing, would be an Aquarius. Her Secret Language of Birthdays book says the following about people born on the 30th of January:

Those commanding personalities born on the 30th of January are born to lead. They have a great talent for guiding, entertaining, teaching, explaining, and in general making their ideas clear to others.

Julia's baby would have shared a birthday with Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Vanessa Redgrave, Gene Hackman, and a whole host of people allegedly famous but not worth repeating.

But Franklin Delano Roosevelt? Well. You can just imagine what Julia's thinking. She lay in bed for hours that first night, eyes wide open, thinking about her son, the future Prime Minister, or her daughter, the next head of the United Nations. Not that she'd planned it, but really, she had thought, is there a better sign in the galaxy?

Baby of Mine would have been lucky enough not to have inherited Mark's Cancerian moodiness or her dodgy Pisces sentimentality. According to Linda Goodman, Aquarian boys and girls can be calm and sweetly docile on the surface, but the north wind can turn them suddenly topsy-turvy.

Expect your February child to have a dream, she says, and hold it fast—until he gets another one. Your little Uranian is, apparently, very special. He's a humanitarian. He loves people. Do you know how rare that is? As society moves into the Aquarian age, his unprejudiced wisdom is leading us. Aquarian boys and girls have been chosen by destiny to fulfill the promises of tomorrow.

All in all, not a bad deal. So rather devastating that Julia's baby chose not to make an appearance.

The first couple of months it was no big deal. It only became a big deal when Sam, Julia's best friend, fell pregnant without even trying. Of course Julia was delighted for her, could not have been happier or more excited, but somehow it raised the stakes, began to put pressure on, and suddenly Julia found this was no longer fun, this was business. For the first time in her life she found herself failing at something.

Julia had always been Golden Girl. Through university, then into her first job on a graduate trainee scheme at London Daytime Television. Someone somewhere must have been smiling on her, because she was quickly promoted to the better series, and now she's the executive producer of a leading early-evening chat show.

Lunchtimes she finds herself sitting with the President of Entertainment. He digs his fork into her chicken for a taste, in a manner that implies equality and intimacy. And possibly more, although she's not interested. The Head of Drama—much to her continued amazement—calls Julia to bemoan her love life. They sit in the bar after work, as production assistants try