evilrooster was much obsessed by death...

Not usually, but this has been an unusual time. 37 weeks pregnant with my first child, I am brought face to face with my own mortality, with the series of "what ifs" that determine all our fates.

Enough grandiose philosophy and esoteric quotes, rooster. What ARE you talking about?

OK. In English this time.

For the past six or seven weeks, we've been able to tell how the baby is lying. And it's all wrong - the head is under my ribs on the right, and the feet kick down in my lower left abdomen. Technically, it's oblique breech (diagonal and feet down). Normally, babies at this stage are head down.

The midwife booked us in for an ultrasound yesterday to confirm the position. The scan itself was exciting - we haven't seen the baby since 10 weeks into the pregnancy, when it looked like a lima bean. We saw the head, the spine, the ribs and heart, even the tiny feet. No chance of spotting of the genitals, sadly (we would have loved to know ahead of time). And all these adorable body parts are in the most awkward place possible. Put simply, it cannot come out as it is.

If I had been born a hundred years or a thousand miles south of where I was, if I lived out of the reach of modern medical science, I would be dead by May. And I would know it. Worse yet, I would know that the baby would die as well. Even the thought is unbearable; how would I deal with the reality?

Of course, the NHS will just do a Caesarian section in a fortnight's time. If I go into labour before then, I am to call the hospital right away and tell them the baby is oblique breech. They will then do an emergency section. Even that is a low-risk, everyday operation.

I love modern medicine, but I can't help grieving for what might have been.