And so began the the introduction of the horrible phrase I uttered at least once a day – sometimes by doctor’s orders and other times, gag reflex avoidance. I’ve always been a fearless and enthusiastic eater, a try-anything-once type of gal (and get helpings twice), so it was a rude awakening to transform into a food-hating monster.
About three weeks into the pregnancy on a gloomy Saturday, the husband and I ventured out for our favorite rainy-day fare – Vietnamese noodle soup. They seated the two of us at a corner table and plopped two laminated paper menus down, we quickly ordered our usual. He getting an extra large pho (rice noodle soup in beef broth, with assorted cuts of thinly sliced meat) and me with the lesser-known Mi Do Bien (egg noodles in a pork broth with various types of seafood). The wait time was pleasant, I twiddled with my chopsticks while he mixed his meatball dipping concoction – a yin-yang of sriracha and hoisin sauce in a small white dish. I could feel the hunger starting to gnaw at my stomach but was calmed knowing the food would come soon. After the customary ten minutes, our orders – steaming hot and filled to the brim, were brought out along with a plate of fresh herbs, limes and peppers. I dressed my soup with excitement and created a perfectly portioned soup-spoon full of noodle and broth, folded in crab meat and started eating hungrily. Nothing seemed amiss.
My first few bites successfully made it down before I realized something wasn’t right. The wafting smell of the broth was beginning to make me dizzy, beads of sweat forming on my face. I was able to ignore that pretty easily but could not escape what came next – complete dry mouth as my stomach lurched and the few bites I’d had threatened to make a reappearance. “BLEGH”. I pushed my bowl to the other side of the table in defeat as my husband looked on with curiosity. I sucked down a few sips of my soda before he noticed the look of panic and sadness on my now green face. “Trade?” he asked knowingly. For some odd reason I was able to stomach his soup, but was too preoccupied with my new food reaction to eat much. Vietnamese food, my most cherished of cuisines, the food of the motherland, my soup for the soul, now diminished to being too “fishy” to eat. What was happening to me?
For the next few weeks my aversion expanded to an increasing number of cuisines. From home cooking to five star restaurants (foie gras? ewww!), my stomach did not discriminate when it came to nausea. Combine this with the list of foods I had to stop eating for health reasons (sushi, raw oysters, soft cheeses, deli meat?!) and I basically had the tastes of a finicky five-year-old. Saltine crackers, granola bars, plain salads and croissants became my new best friends. The new answer to “what do you feel like eating tonight?” was “oh, anything dry and devoid of flavor will do!”