Saturday, June 07, 2008

Technicolour Yawning

Waaay back in the dark mists of time when I was pregnant with Sapphire (whom we named Lucy Lawless Lockett in-utero) I suffered ‘morning sickness’ all damn day and for the entire 40 weeks. Earlier today I was sorting through my old files, and found this diary entry from that period. Although perhaps it's best forgotten?

14 weeks

The train trips in the mornings are the worst part of my working day. I feel queasy when I get up, and am unable to force myself to eat anything. Friends and well-meaning colleagues have all suggested that you’re meant to eat a cracker before you get up (makes for itchy sheets) which should quell the queasiness, but it just hasn’t appealed to me.

I have what is normally a ‘refreshing’ one-and-a-half kilometre walk from our house to the train station. It helps me to wake up and also get a bit of free exercise in each morning. Now, however, I walk in agony, chain-sucking boiled sweets the entire journey - I’m normally on my fifth by the time I shove my ticket into the validating machine. Each colour and flavour is carefully selected before I leave home - orange or raspberry ones today?

Is morning sickness directly related to a sudden increase in sensitivity to smells? We all know that trains aren’t exactly akin to fields of lavender, but never before had I noticed the BO, morning breath, smelly feet and general unsavoury ponginess of the average train carriage. Even aftershaves and perfumes seem over the top and dominating. They almost take on an active physical presence - so much so that it seems as though the carriage has a vague brownish fog of odour inside.

I rely rather heavily on the air sickness bags that I’d been prophetic enough to take from the plane on the way home from Malaysia (where we 'made' Sapphire), and always make sure that I have a couple in my back pack at all times. So far, I’d been sick in the train station toilets, but not actually on the train.
By today, my precious stash of airline bags had been used up and the closest thing I could find (apart from a sealed Tupperware container) were those clear plastic snap lock sandwich bags.

The various offensive smells of the train were mingling hostilely around me, and the rocking motion of the carriage was encouraging my stomach to do some unwelcome swirling of its own. Only six stops to go - I was positive that I could last the distance and heave somewhere on the platform or in the station toilets - the blue lights installed there to deter drug users would make my pallid face look particularly attractive.

Beads of sweat formed on my upper lip and under my eyes, and my stomach began to develop it’s now-familiar bilious heartbeat. Reluctantly, I reached into my back pack and felt for my plastic bag. It was within easy reach - good. Another stop went past. Another milestone of non-vomit. I touched the back again for good luck, fingers sweating against the plastic.

Three more stops to go. I hastily unsealed the top of the bag. No time for prayers or to wait for doors to open now - “BWAAAA!” - straight in, no spillage. This would have been something to have been proud of if I was in any mood to care. I heaved three more times, wiped my mouth with my hankie, and sealed the top of the bag again. It was then I looked up from my lap and noticed the stares of my fellow passengers.

The blush I experienced was so deep and so red that I felt as though my internal organs were on fire. I muttered my explanation to the passenger on my left, “morning sickness,” but the look he returned was so devoid of sympathy I pretended to rummage for something in my back pack - my dignity had a good chance of being in there, next to my work shoes, buttered vegemite crackers and additional glad plastic bags. I could not look anywhere or meet the stares of anyone. The entire carriage was disgusted and their collective opinion seemed to be a derisive ‘Alcoholic.’

It was then that I longed to have a big belly and be hugely and obviously pregnant. My size 12 trousers still fit me and no-one offered me a seat when all were taken as I looked like everybody else. I just didn’t feel like everybody else.

But what was I to do for the remaining five minutes of my journey? I forced a contented smile on my burning red face, and primly clutched the sick bag in my lap. I could hear a faint ‘sloosh sloosh’ of my vomit each time the train entered a tunnel, and realised for the first time that perhaps clear plastic wasn’t the best way to hide the ‘ol regurgitated peas and carrots from my fellow passengers.

The smile remained on my face for the longest five minutes of my life. I would prefer to do nude cartwheels down Burke Street Mall than go through that again. I'm now take the 7:09 train to Spencer Street instead of my usual 7:18.

Ah the memories!


Ariel said...

Tag! For 'facts about me' meme.

redcap said...

That first pic is truly unpleasant :P

Naomi said...

oh yes to heightened smells, petrol for me was a shocker, not that I went about smelling it, just when I filled up the car!

I was one of those folk you would have loved to hate...count on one hand the number of times I felt nauseous and didn't barf once in my two pregnanices.

River said...

It appears mother nature "punished" you with all the morning sickness from other children that you weren't going to have.
I had one day of queasy feelings for each of my first three, then about 8 weeks of milder queasiness for the fourth. I'd just had a miscarriage and thought I'd picked up a tummy bug. When I finally went to the doctor because I wasn't getting over it I found I was 10 weeks along with #4.

Baino said...

Oh my . .thanks for sharing! I understand the surge of sweat thing . . I could always tell when one of the kids was about to throw up due to a sudden sweat fest, gave me enough time to reach for a bucket! I feel for you though . . oh the embarrassment. I was lucky, a little queasiness in the first 12 weeks but nothing 'productive'. I go with the smells though I couldn't cook meat for weeks and developed an unhealthy craving for chocolate Paddlepops! No wonder you stopped at one!

Kath Lockett said...

Ariel - Tag meme soon....

Redcap - True, it is very disgusting, but a classic. I love the guy next to the vomiter who's clearly dealing with shock and an attempt to avoid getting splashed!

Naomi - you're right, I'm jealous. I'm one of those weirdos, however, who has always loved the smell of petrol. And felt tip pens.

River - It's nice to read that a tummy bug can turn into such good news!

Baino - it was cheese twisties and anything with milk in it for me - in between the nausea of course.

Ernest de Cugnac said...

Strange thing being pregnant (says the man). Apparently the baby is the next best thing to a parasite that the mother can carry and it its waste products that are making the mother sick!

Colin Campbell said...

Your last picture is a delight. Not quite been there, but close.