Saturday, 17 June 2017

Not Hume's Problem: 10 Words I've Learned in the Last 9 Months

My wife and I have been manufacturing a human. To be honest, she is doing most of the hard work. I've been busying myself reading the instruction manuals. Here are some of the new words that I have learned:

  • Fundal (adj.) Relating to the fundus.
  • Fundus (n.) Height upwards round the belly. [Out of curiosity, as this is not a service provided by my tailor, I used the paper tape measure provided for fundal height measurements to measure upwards around my own belly - the result was 'taller' than I wanted to admit, so I pulled the tape measure tighter and it snapped and after that Charlie said I wasn't allowed to look at her maternity folder unless she was in the room.]
  • Induction (n.) In this obliquely technical usage, 'induction' is a way of encouraging a small human who has got used to his current surroundings to make his way into surroundings that will take considerably longer to get used to. [Like me, you probably immediately think of 18th Century Scottish philosopher David Hume when you see this word. But, in the topsy-turvy world of midwifery, 'induction' has nothing to do with the problem of inferring that "instances of which we have no experience resemble those of which we have had experience." (as Hume memorably put it.)]
  • Mucus Plug (n.) Like a normal plug - this plug stops waters from draining away, but it is made of mucus.
  • Multigravid (adj.) (Trans. from L. - author's own) Having experienced more than one heaviness (c.f. primagravid).
  • Occipito Anterior/Occipito Posterior (adj.) These Harry Potter spells make a muggle's head face the other way.
  • Primagravid (adj.) (Trans. from L. - author's own) Of or pertaining to the first heaviness (c.f. multigravid).
  • Show (n.) External manifestation of the mucus plug.
  • Sweep (n.) Intimate procedure that (uncharacteristically tactless) midwives have named after a glove puppet.
Bedside Reading