Sushi Breast Milk

Several years ago now, back when I was still living in Toronto in fact, a friend changed my whole world when it came to sushi. You see, I have been a vegetarian (of varying degrees) now for twenty-two years. Even before I stopped eating meat, though, I never ate seafood or fish, (unless they were frozen fish sticks as a kid and nearly innocuous, taste-wise.) I just hated the taste of anything that came from the sea, really, and this included seaweed.

Then, sushi came along as the big trend in urban centers and, having heard how healthy it was for a person and watching everyone I know devour the stuff, I was trying really hard to like it—the veggie kinds, at least. The problem is that the seaweed still occasionally made me gag a little. I had a really difficult time getting past that. It just tasted too “fishy” for me.

My friend changed my whole world when he said:

“You know what, Ember? Seaweed doesn’t taste like fish; fish tastes like seaweed.”

He went on to explain that the flavour of seaweed is actually so strong that this is what generally permeates the water, and since this water is filtered through the gills of fish, they take on the plant’s flavour. So, in fact, it was the plant that governed the flavour spectrum of the ocean, not the fish.

After that, seaweed just tasted different, like itself, like a non-threatening flavour that simply serviced all sea creatures and could start to service me. From then on, I started to love sushi and I still do. In other words, the gagging stopped. My favourite kinds? Avocado and/or Sweet Potato Tempura sushi. There’s a place in Toronto, on College Street, that serves a veggie sushi roll that features both of the above combined with green grapes. It’s divine.

(Makes me hungry! Wish they could deliver to Beijing!)

Anyway, this story is relevant because this is the week that I started to think that I had perhaps inadvertently changed the laundry detergent or started to sleep walk and apply a perfumed lotion or deodorant to my body without my conscious knowledge. I actually started to look around for where the yummy smell was coming from in the house. I was sure it was a product or a food item. It was kinda like vanilla or cookies or that smell of warm custard cooking….

Then, I realized that it was me.

I realized that my skin, especially my breasts, smell YUMMY! (And, since my breasts are so large, don’t forget, I can actually lift them almost to my nose and confirm their source.) In fact, it wasn’t long before I realized exactly what they smell like:


The last new born I held was my friend’s son last fall of 2010 when he was first born. I couldn’t inhale enough of him. Delicious. I could have had a sauna in his scent. He smelled like this—the way my skin smells—like a dessert worth savouring.

And then, I thought of the sushi.

The thing is, my body is starting to prepare to breast-feed. My breasts and skin smell yummy, so they must be starting to smell like MILK. So, as my friend who illuminated my world about sushi would have worded it:

“You know what, Ember? Breasts don’t smell like babies; babies smell like breasts… or, more specifically, milk-producing breasts!”

Ah-hah! From here on in, I know what that newborn baby smell is all about: IT’S THE BREAST MILK!!

And, soon, I’ll start producing it. It could be anytime now. The breast milk factory must be starting early production and/or quality control testing or something. After all, Little Spark could come early! Like Santa’s workshop, these breast milk elves are probably very busy in there assembling all the equipment required for constant feeding of a hungry wee one…

But, moving right along, new physical symptoms now that I’m in my last month not only include this delicious body odour that has me huffing my own shirts and bras like a deranged pervert or something (!), but also include the following lovely last-month developments:

  • I can no longer put on my own socks. (Thank you, Guo Jian!)
  • I am increasingly emotional and have been crying and depressed and laughing manically and peaced out all in the course of a ten-minute period and only notice the humour in this ping pong gong show when it’s pointed out to me by my loving and patient partner.
  • I could drink a small lake and am constantly thirsty.
  • As a result of the previous point, I am a peeing machine and usually have the urge to urinate almost immediately after I have pulled up my pants from having urinated. (Sexy.)
  • I have experienced tightness in my belly that sometimes feels like the skin is going to snap and like Little Spark is uniformly pushing from all angles, trying to get out. I encourage these moments of discomfort and pain, however, because I figure he or she is at least aware of his or her impending performance. Dress rehearsals?
  • Have you seen “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”? In it, there’s a scene where Harry gets angry and makes his “muggle” Aunt Marge (though unrelated) blow up like a blowfish or a blimp and then float up in the sky. I’m telling you this because I kind of look like she did in that scene. If I stood in a strong wind, I’d be afraid for my balloon self. I’m serious.
  • I can barely sleep. I’m up at least five times a night to relieve the bladder and no sleeping position is comfortable. I’ve been napping when I can, but the fatigue is constant. Soon it will be perpetuated by a crying baby! Yeah!
  • I can’t stop eating fruit. I consume four times the fruit I’ve ever normally consumed in a day. It’s almost all I crave right now. Tangerines, grapes, oranges, apples, pomelos, bananas. The citrus especially, though. (Thank you, Guo Jian, for re-stocking me with bags of fruit every two-three days.)
  • Walking, (which I’m trying to continue to do regularly), hurts. It hurts my shins and calves and feet and knees. It keeps my muscles more limber, I know, and it’s healthy, but it sucks when even walking hurts. C’mon!
  • My feet are perpetually swollen and when I remove my socks, it looks like I’m still wearing them for at least ten minutes. (Sexy.)
  • I’m a grunter, I’ve discovered. I grunt when I get dressed, when I sit down, when I stand up, when I breathe. Everything is an effort and I seem to inadvertently express that audibly. Oops!
  • Even my fingers are swollen now. My wedding ring now has its own special little dent to spin in. (Sexy.)
  • Libido? What’s that again?
  • I feel nauseous after eating, especially if I eat too much. Bu I’m hungry immediately after digestion. I’m trying for the smaller but more frequent meals or spaced out snacks. (These two last points remind me of early pregnancy!)
  • And last but not least, my belly button has become a “pouty outy.” It’s super cute!

So, that’s the low-down.

After having written his blog, I have serious cravings for both sushi and fruit, but only the latter exists in my kitchen. So I’m going to make the epic journey downstairs, holding onto the railing for ‘balloon balance safety’ as per my partner’s constant instructions, and get myself a bowl of various, fruity delicacies.

Then, I’m going to re-ascend to my palace, otherwise known as the comfy chair in my bedroom that sits in the sunlight, put my feet on the bed, upload this blog, probably inhale my yummy, milk-factory scent a few times, and then promptly take a nap.

It’s a busy day in the world of gestation.


I have asked three other women who have been pregnant if they’ve ever experienced this olfactory phenomenon and none of them have. I suppose it’s not as common as I think. So, that’s part of the reason I’ve posted this story. If there’s anyone out there whose nose is as sensitive as mine and who has experienced this, please post a comment so that I don’t start to think of myself as more crazy than I already do!

BUT, please comment even if you don’t relate to this post! This is officially the loneliest and hardest time of anyone’s pregnancy, so when I hear from you, I’m reminded that there’s love out there! Thanks! -es

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