Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Nose (Only for the strong of stomach. On which I dwell on morning-sickness... at length...)

This time around, one of my pregnancy symptoms has been exaggerated out of all sense of proportion.

You read in the books that certain smells can make you feel sick, to avoid certain cooking smells, but with this, baby no. four, it's gone waaaaay beyond that. It feels very much as if I am a giant, walking ultra-sensitive nose.

A giant, walking nose moreover who finds all of my old favourite smells absolutely disgusting.

My favourite candles: gross. My favourite soaps: Ugg. My moisturiser: Nooooo! My shampoo, conditioner, laundry-powder, deodorant - all of the brands I habitually use now smell completely sickening.

Beloved gave me some new candles and smelly stuff for my birthday (a week before The Sickness began) and we had to put them all in the shed for The Duration.  I went out to put the compost in the bin and the smell lunged at me to attack. We've had to pack away the bedroom curtains as there's just something about them...

Interestingly, the smells of nature don't effect me in the same way. The smell of the basil in the garden, of eucalyptus, of growing things, all make me feel marginally better. Man made scents however? Uggh.

It makes me wonder if there's something in them inherently unhealthy.

In the same way that I tend to try to view The Sickness as trying to keep me from foods and drinks I should avoid (caffeine, damn it, although unfortunately wine still smells delicious and I can't look at feta and goats cheese without feeling slobbery and mournful) I'm wondering if my body's intense distaste for synthetic smells is because it views them as suspect.

Having said that, although the man-made scented things make me feel sick, it's the Other Smells that have me running for the bucket. The nappies. The dog-bone-breath. The toilet someone forgot to flush. The heavy sweat that comes from mowing the grass in Queensland heat. The pee-soaked sheets when the wee one has an accident. All the smells that are a constant in a busy house of kids and dogs.

Walking past the outdoor bin at a friend's house did it once. Opening our own bin did it once. As did opening the fridge and going into the laundry. I'm literally scared to go into the kitchen. Because... smells. Smells I'm hardly aware of when I'm not sick, and I'm not really sure are all that strong. It's been awhile since the smell of nappies bothered me. A long, long while.

I'm on the mend. A lot more things look like food now. I no longer wander the supermarket going does that look like food? No? Does that? Not a chance. That? I really don't think so.

It is a lot less painful throwing up if you've eaten half a pizza or a big bowl of porridge as opposed to a few slices of cucumber or watermelon. Throwing up on a empty stomach is wretched, so as well as enjoying food glorious food, it's also such a relief not being wracked for ages for bile.

Being the Nose thing has made me consider. Is this what it is like for people with migranes triggered by smell? I'll definitely be more cautious about the scents I wear in future. As it is, there's a perfume that always gives me a headache, pregnant or not... With Giggle-Bear I brought strongly scented body lotion into the hospital, as a pick-me-up after the birth. I didn't notice that it effected her, but now I wonder what a baby used to nothing but amniotic fluid thinks of the assault of smells in the world. Babies do have a sense of smell - they're drawn to the smell of the mummy milk... and while none of my three had any problem nursing, it does make me wonder.

How common is an intense awareness of smell, and how much should the rest of us consider it, in a world of so many man-made, synthetic smells that we coat ourselves with everyday.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Not Quite at First Sight....

Beloved does not want his face bandied around the internet so I'm a little limited in photo choices! 

It's ten years since Beloved and I first met. So of course I'm feeling all nostalgic.

Ten years sounds quite substantial, mm?

Ten years, three (nearly four kids), three (nearly four) extra degrees, lived in three countries, visited twelve, and moved nine times. I'm a tad exhausted, but it's definitely been interesting!

We met at Honiara Airport in the Solomon Islands. I was fresh off the plane - OK not, so fresh -I was tired, sweaty, and overladen - and Beloved was checking out the new arrival of volunteers.

I'd been packing and doing the final clean out of my rental house until late the night before, then caught a hellishly early flight from Melbourne to Brisbane and then onward to the Sols.

My ingenious plan to avoid baggage limitations (I'd been caught out before with both of my suitcases separately breaking weight restrictions, and having to do major repacks at the airport) was to wear a raincoat with a heap of pockets and pack each pocket with books. Which sort of worked. But when I stepped out of the plane and began walking across the tarmac and the full, familiar heat and humidity of the tropics hit me, I regretted lugging the heavy coat as well as my overladen bags.

After the long wait going through customs and then waiting for luggage, I joined my intake of volunteers and we headed out of the arrivals door and there was a large, overbearing stranger, I vaguely recognised from photos as a fellow volunteer, demanding hugs of all the newcomers.

I thought not.

I believe I strode past with a sniff, or possibly just a dismissive head shake and eye roll. The rest of my intake were a lot more accepting of the welcome. We loaded into the back of a ute, balancing on our backpacks and were away to our new home.

We met up a few times over the next month. Not-Yet-Beloved was working at the Ministry of Health and the hospital fixing computers and I was working at the National Library, and they weren't far from each other. We went out as part of the volunteer group to a few meet ups at the yacht club and a few nightclubs, but we didn't really connect. Again, my thoughts were 'Over-the-Top', and his thoughts were 'snooty, non-hugger'.

And then there were the elections. The ones I'd asked an Ausaid guy back in Canberra 'so, are you expecting any trouble with the elections?' (the Solomon's had, after all just come out of several years of 'the Tensions' and Australia had sent troops in) and he'd rolled his eyes at me. Not at all.

About that.

I came back from a visit to a volcanic island with a temperature and severe gastro and the city erupted into riots and the whole of China Town was burnt down and most of the night clubs we'd been so recently dancing in. We went into lock-down, although shamefully, my main thoughts were whether there'd be enough toilet paper to see me through.

A few days later we were told we were to be evacuated, and my thoughts were ' I can get to a doctor, yay.' Not-Yet-Beloved, like lots of earlier intakes of volunteers, saw no point to leaving and wanted to hide and stay. He wasn't given the option and came on protest. I started throwing up in the filthy toilet in the wooden shack the army were processing us in for the flight, and then discovered that diarrhea on a hercules that has a little fold down toilet surrounded by curtains is deeply humiliating.

Not-yet-Beloved caused a diplomatic incident by leaving our group and catching a plane home as soon as we reached Townsville. In between throwing up every hour, on the hour, that night in the hotel they brought us to to de-brief (which also had filthy toilets, I had time to observe many times over the night) I spared a few seconds to think 'idiot.'

Things calmed down, and a month later we met up again (I'm not sure we even nodded at each other) in Brisbane airport, joining the other returning volunteers. Quite a few had decided not to return.

But then... my computer broke. The one with all my writing (not backed) my photos, my music. Everything. And after trying a few other computer fixers, my housemates, who were good friends with Over-Familiar Guy, pointed out that his job was fixing computers.

And I could be very, very nice to someone who could fix my darling computer.

Ten years later...

Sunday, April 17, 2016

So in October... (the very good reason for my bloggy absence)

So I'm going to try to sneak this in here (sotto voice) because although we're very, very excited, I also feel a tad sheepish. A little greedy. A little too lucky.

And, well I was so very insistent that Giggle-Bear would be our very last. For sure and certain.
You can probably guess what comes next... our fourth little bundle of wonderful is due in October. Perhaps I spoke too loud?

And yes, we are crazy. And no, I'm not any more organised. Chaos still rules.

We already know that she's a girl (the Extravaganza is making plans for her 'Girl Army', Adventure Boy is bearing up boyfully to the loss of a potential brother) and that she's doing very well. She'll be thirteen weeks old tomorrow so she's looking very much like a baby - in an alien kind of way. She has darling little fingers and toes and even fingerprints.

I am hopeful that any day now - surely - I'm going to stop throwing up. I really was getting better (maybe) but then the leurgy - okay, I admit, a bad(ish) cold, hit and threw me right back again.

There has been a reason for my bloggy absence! I do intend to start writing and maybe even picking up the camera any day now!