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... 

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