Hyperemesis Gravidarum and the Smell Thing

I think my hyperemesis gravidarum is weird.  For the most part food smells and thinking of foods are not triggers.  That doesn’t mean I can eat any old thing, but it does make life easier in that I don’t have to make my family cook in the garage.

It’s things like certain soaps, my husband’s deodorant, and the air itself.

I tried to explain this air thing to a friend of mine yesterday, and I think it’s worth explaining here.  Maybe this will give you all an insight into what I’m experiencing.  Maybe y’all will just think I’m nuts.

Let me start on something only tangentially related.  Raise your hands please if you are familiar with what a halocline is.  That’s okay.  I didn’t expect everyone to know this.  I know because I watch way too many Nat Geo documentaries.

At any rate, let me try to explain my understanding of haloclines.  Areas of water with different salinity have different densities.  Salt water is more dense than fresh water.  If you have still water (like in a cave), and the lower part is, say ocean water, and the upper, lighter portion is fresh water, the water will stratify.  It will remain separated with the fresh water floating on top of the sea water.  Like oil and vinegar.

In between those two layers you would see a blurry portion where the waters meet.  That’s the halocline.  Hold that image in your mind.

Okay, stay with me.  The air in my house does the same thing.  Instead of being stratified by salinity, the air is stratified by temperature.  The upstairs air is warmer and rests on the cooler downstairs air.

As I walk down the stairs, there is a point where I pass through that oil/vinegar/halocline barrier.  It is the smell that creates, the smell of the air mixing as my movement stirs it, that smells so horrifying.  I can’t describe the odor it creates, but it’s a very specific and awful smell.

Opening the doors and windows does the same thing.  The outside air doesn’t stink, and neither does the inside air.  However, as they mix they produce that awful and specific smell.

It is magnified by the refrigerator.  The temperature difference is so powerful that the smell of that mixing air rolls over me like a steam-roller.  I hate the refrigerator with the white hot passion of a hundred burning suns.

Am I crazy?  I can assure you that this smell is not something I am making up.  There’s no power of suggestion at play here.  I don’t see the refrigerator doors open and imagine the smell.  I can tell if someone opens the refrigerator even if I am upstairs in bed.  I can smell the air mixing.  I can smell the cooler air diffusing through the house.

It’s like I have a freakish super power.  I can smell the movement of the atoms.  Can I please trade this crappy super power in for something cooler like flight or invisibility or something?

Other fun things from the past couple of days?  More nausea, ptyalism, etc.  This sucks.  Stop the world.  I wanna get off.

13 thoughts on “Hyperemesis Gravidarum and the Smell Thing

  1. For me, the whole house stinks, 100% of the time. I actually have to MOVE when I’m pregnant. With my first, I bounced from my MIL’S house to dh’s grandmother’s house to my grandmother’s house. I literally could NOT step food in the DRIVEWAY of my house.

    With my second pregnancy, my husband got an ozone machine, ran it an entire day, aired it out an entire night, and then it was “liveable”.

    During my third pregnancy, we lived in a different house in a different state and couldn’t do anything to fix the smell. Since I couldn’t find a VBAC supportive care provider here anyway, the kids and I moved down to my MIL’s house for the pregnancy.

    At least you don’t have to move! But maybe an ozone machine is something you could try?


  2. Oh, funny stink story. During my first pregnancy when I was living away with my grandmother, my husband and I wanted some “alone” time, so we rented a hotel room for a weekend. I could NOT stand his smell, so I made him go straight out to the balcony and strip and he was NOT allowed to bring his clothes inside the hotel room. He totally stayed naked the entire weekend 🙂 and he had to scrub with my soap and use apple cider vinegar on his hair before he was “HG safe”.


  3. My husband at first thought I was being really sensative to the trash bags and the spice cabinet smell. It sent me into hours of vomitting.
    So once when i was outside on the patio with the door shut, he opened the spice cabinet and he could hear me yell out from the otherside. CLOSE THAT DOOR! and there was no way for me to see or hear him open the door. He knew I seriously could just smell it. I think he may have attempted to clean out the cabinet and throw out some spices after that. But it didn’t help. That cabinet had a bad smell/energy around it, that kind of made me sick even after I couldn’t bionically smell it.

    the PTYALISM is the WORST. For me worse than the vomitting. So I understand wanting to get off that ride.
    Head over to my blog. Read the scripture posted today, if you can read without feeling sick. I like it for HG for some reason. Maybe because for me it quells fear, and foreces surrender. Maybe it will provide motivation for you and a boost in positive spirts.


  4. I discovered the power of ACV to take away smells when I was a child. Both of my parents were heavy smokers and whenever my grandparents would come into town and have us out to their condo, the first thing my grandmother would do was strip us, boil our clothes and bathe us (hair and all) in ACV. And it worked, too 🙂


  5. All I have to say is “tumbledryer smell” oh dear God… it’s like someone is trying to kill me. That and the smell of stale smoke especially considering I’m an ex-smoker myself that smell makes the vomit move up my oesophagus rather quickly!!


  6. when i had my second HG pregnancy recently. Somone told me to bathe in ACV and to scrub myself with brown sugar and salt. YES I was this desperate!
    But actually i enjoyed the ACV because i couldn’t smell anything and the brown sugar and salt trick i now use as a skin scrubber just for fun. (and serious smooth skin) This didn’t help with the HG much though. And for my first HG pregnancy I drank ACV, but it didn’t help and hurt like hell coming back up.

    I like Knocked up’s description. The middle hazy part where oil meets vinegar. A good way to describe to non-HGers.


  7. I very much remember smells….. I lived in a different house for each pregnancy and each had a smell that I could not stand, yet I only smelled it while pregnant. For my first I had just gotten married and moved to a new state. I remember thinking, “Man, it really stinks outside here”. I thought for sure it was just stinky there, but it was only the HG.
    I could smell anything and everything. My DH said that I could smell the sweat on the back of an ant!
    Food cooking, skin, soaps, deoderants, perfumes, damp basements, dirty diapers, even my husbands clothes had a work smell on them so much so that he had to change when he got home ….. all made me vomit.


  8. I am SO hoping that our youngest (now almost 21 months old) is out of diapers by the time I begin my 4th round of HG. It is absolutely impossible for me to change a dirty diaper with HG. I seriously let my oldest child stay in a dirty diaper for FIVE hours once when I was pregnant with my second. I just couldn’t make myself do it.

    If she’s not out of diapers yet, I’ll have to teach my oldest (age 6) how to change a diaper and pay her to do it! ha ha 🙂


  9. Becky,
    My first was 11 months old when I conceived my second. There were many, many times that I had to call DH home from work (10 minutes away) to change her diaper. I had tried a clothes pin on my nose, tying a cloth around my nose, smelling the wipe, etc. but nothing worked and I threw up EVERY TIME I had to change her.
    With my last baby my oldest (now 5), had to wipe her 3 year old brother’s bottom everytime he pooped. I felt so bad, but there was no way I could do it!


  10. Thnx for trying to explain the refrigeratorthing! When I tell people about my pregnancy and explain that the refrigerator used to make me puke they think I’m crazy! Or that it must have been something in it that was bad, but that wasn’t it at all! It was just the smell from the thing itself… After my pregnancy I sometimes sniffed it to make sure I wasn’t pregnant again, when I did not smell anything all was ok with the world. If I got the slightest smell I would go back over and over again to see if it was gone.


  11. It’s like the mesosphere of your refrigerator/home is somehow being detected due to your heightened awareness from the HG.


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