Monday, 26 May 2014

What The (actual) Fundus!

Twelve weeks ago I was shocked to discover that I had a fundus... and it was shrinking!

I was advised of this startling fact by a lovely (non-English-speaking) nurse at 2am the morning after I'd given birth.  In the midst of my paracetamol-induced-haze the conversation went something like this.

Her: Can I check your fundus? (what I heard - 'kina chook or fondue')

Me: I'm sorry, what?

Her: Can I check your fundus?

Me: Um, I'm not sure what you mean?

Her: I need to feel it to check it's shrinking (what I heard - 'knee ta fool eat ta chook tis shrunken')

Me: Um, ok.  Can I have a Milo afterwards?

So it turns out she was referring to the top of my uterus, to check that it was shrinking back after the expulsion of the boy child.  Praise the lord it was an external exam, not internal (by this stage half the hospital had been up there and I was preparing to install a
'Closed for Maintenance' sign).

I discovered the facts around my fundus from Uncle Wiki .  Not from my midwife or other medical professional (more on this later).  I was initially excited by the name of this medical term, given that the first half of it was 'fun'.  Fun! There hadn't been a lot of fun over the preceding 24 hours so I was buoyed by the potential of something fun.  It was short-lived joy.  In fact, it's a pretty weak use of the term fun as there ain't no fun involved. No new shoes, no disco dancing, no mojitos in the sun on the beach.   Just a lot of cramps, blood and poking.  

The other relevant observation from this 2am exchange was my ability to be easily bribed by a cup of hot Milo.  I had gone from someone who wouldn't get out of bed for anything less than Moet, to someone who would accept an intimate internal examination from a stranger in return for some milky malty goodness.

Back to Uncle Wiki.  Here's the thing that bugged me about the fundus revelation.  Childbirth is arguably one of the most natural and normal things in the world. After all, we've all been born.  And about 40% of the global population do the actual growing a new person inside an old person thing (also known as pregnancy).   So why the need to use overly complicated medical terms that confuse what should be a pretty 'normal' situation?

There is a plethora of literature about pregnancy and childbirth.  Many people have made a whole lot of money by publishing 'childbirth for dummies' self-help books to assist unsuspecting expectant parents navigate their way through the myriad of medical terminology.  And most of the ones I've read are filled to the brim with medicalisation. 

Our six year olds had it figured out without needing textbooks and an understanding of Latin.  In their words, I was going to squeeze the baby out my vee-jay-jay and then my big tummy would go back to normal.  And if the baby got stuck, the doctor would then cut my tummy open and pull the baby out.  And either way, they were going to be good and buy me cake and flowers.

I just didn't need to know about my fundus.  And don't get me started on my Lochia or my Bilirubin... 

Monday, 19 May 2014

Is that your baby?

So today marks 11 weeks since our baby boy forcefully arrived and took his place on this planet and in our hearts.

It's been a hell of a ride.

I won't dwell on the details of his delivery (although I reserve the right to go back there in a later blog), but instead I thought I'd share a few observations from the past three months.

1. People (regardless of age, creed, sex or race) ask dumb questions.  I guess it's because they feel obligated to say something... maybe they get a little anxious about saying the wrong thing, and therefore say a dumb thing.  Without doubt, the most ridiculous question I have encountered since giving birth is "Is that your baby?".  I'm tempted to answer "What baby? I don't see no baby?" or "Nope, just got him from the Baby Factory - he's on a 14 day trial with a full money back guarantee".  What makes this question even more stupid is it often asked whilst my hungry wee lad is partaking of his favourite food (milk-a-la-boobie). Seriously, it's like they think I'm actually just breastfeeding someone else's baby for fun. Maybe I'm trying to reinstate the age old profession of 'wet nurse' as my new career path.

2. People also make dumb statements to fill the void.  My favourite is 'gosh he's got lots of hair'.  Now to be fair, our boy is rather hirsute.  This is a good thing, as it stops him from looking like a skinny wrinkled rat (a common newborn characteristic).  The dumb part of the statement is the way it is presented - like we haven't noticed! So obviously I respond accordingly.  "Hair? Oh that's just a wig, I think it looks good on him."  Or my new favourite, "You should see his pubes!".  That shuts them up pretty quick.

3.  Chanel No. 5 successfully masks the scent of baby vomit, but it is arguably an expensive option. I'm not sure it's what Coco originally had in mind.  However, it works and I'm going with it.  Maybe I should pitch them a new advertising campaign... move over Nicole Kidman, here I come!

4. People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.  That is, people who have not squeezed a baby out of their vee-jay-jay should not provide advice to those who have.  Especially when the advisee is sleep deprived, hormonal and covered in the aforementioned Chanel scented baby vom... otherwise the advisor might end up having a nasty accident involving their left foot and my left front tyre.

5.  Baby brain does exist.  It has too.  Otherwise, well, the alternative is too scary to contemplate.  To help you, dear reader, appreciate the importance of this point (especially if you fall into #4 above), I will share a few examples of the much maligned baby brain phenomenon.  Dirty clothes go in the washing machine, not in the dishwasher. Milk goes into the cup of tea, not into the sinkful of dirty cups to make the soapy bubbles.  Generally, most people aim to leave the house with matching shoes.  It is ok to misplace your keys, not so acceptable to misplace your newborn baby. 

On that note... where is the baby?

(Read more about the facts behind baby brain here)