39 Weeks Pregnant & Labor Notes from Previous Early Labor/Birth

How far along: Will be 39 weeks on Sunday, but I’m getting this post out early when I have time.

Total Weight Gain/Loss: 3 more pounds, so up around 15 in all.

Sleep: I’m sleeping well at night but it’s still hard for me to take naps during the day.

Movement: Lots of movement. She might be turning a little since I feel her feet pushing up against my ribs on sometimes one side and then the other. I really hope she doesn’t go posterior!

Food cravings: Still into cherries, all kinds, dried, fresh, or even cherry jam.

Labor signs: I might have had some tightening, or maybe it was just baby girl pushing outward. I remember being confused by that with Eva’s pregnancy too. I wasn’t sure if I was feeling Braxton Hicks contractions or if baby was just stretching.

What I miss: Nothing! Can’t wait to meet our baby girl!

What I am looking forward to: Surviving labor and delivery and having a healthy baby girl.

These are from last week but can’t be much different.

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I found my Labor Notes from my last labor/delivery with Eva.  How nerdy am I that I took notes during my early labor? I’ll totally try to do it again because you just can’t remember those things and it’s a good way for me to have an idea of what might happen this time. I started my notes on Sat, 1/14/2012 at 11am before labor had started and the notes ended about 24 hours later at 11:30am, Sun, 1/15/2012. They ended because I went into, as any other mother knows, the final stages of labor which require complete concentration and definitely do not allow note-taking. Eva wasn’t born until 12 hours later after 11pm that night.

Here are the notes I took:

Sat, 1/14/2012 11am: Took less than 1 oz of castor oil in juice. (***I was 10 days past due date and this was an attempt to start labor to try to avoid the hospital induction and it seemed to work or was totally a coincidence that I started labor that night.)

6pm: Mild cramping.

9pm: Cramping increased to something more like a contraction, but I’m not sure because I never had contractions before.

10pm: Tried to sleep. Still having contractions, but they are irregular.

11pm: Can’t sleep, contractions are getting very painful and now have a pattern of every 5 min for about 60 seconds.

Sun, 12am – 3am: Labored at home, contractions staying regular. Called OB around 3am and she said to come in.

4am: Went to hospital. Triage checked me in. I was 3cm dilated so I was admitted.

4am – 5am: Took my vitals, signed paperwork and checked into room. Requested room with labor tub.

6am: Nurse put in heplock and I was given a dose of anti-biotics because I was Strep B positive. (***This is not an illness or disease, it’s a bacteria that some healthy women carry and it does not make them sick, but it could be passed to the baby during birth and make the baby sick, so anti-biotics are given during labor. I have only taken anti-biotics a few times in my life and I hated that I had to get them in labor, but I wanted to greatly reduce the chance of it affecting the baby, so I agreed.)

7am: OB and nurse switch shifts. Talk to new OB and nurse. My regular OB happens to be on call while I am in labor and deliver, so that is a nice coincidence that I didn’t have to be with someone I didn’t know.

8am: Nurse fills jacuzzi tub. This is amazing for pain relief. I was in there 2 hours and then nurse said I should get out and move around. (***That hospital allowed women to labor in the tub, but not to give birth in the tub, which is why I switched to U of M this time, which allows water birth.)

10am: After getting out of the tub, the pain increases immensely and I have a contraction every time I move. (Wish I could have stayed in the tub.) I try a position on hands and knees since I’m having back labor and it just feels like I shouldn’t be on my back.

11am: 6cm dilated. OB asks if she should break my water. I said let’s wait a bit and see if it breaks on it’s own. I’m happy for the progress.

11:30am: Danail is a sweetie and keeps bringing me water. (***I love this last note, I totally don’t remember thinking or writing that.)

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Those were the end of my written notes, but I was in labor another 12 hours until Eva was born. I wrote a full birth story on my previous blog so I’ll have to post the link to that when I find it. There was another note written at the bottom of the page which said that during labor I didn’t want any massage or counter-pressure on my back (which is what the husband’s learned to do in Lamaze class), didn’t want to be touched or spoken to. So, basically when I was in that much pain, I just needed to be left alone in a calm environment to allow my body to do what it was meant to.

37 Weeks Pregnant

How far along: 37 weeks. 3 weeks to go! or 4 or 5 :)

Total Weight Gain/Loss: Gained 3 more, so up around 12 lbs.

Sleep: Sleeping fine but waking twice a night for bathroom.

Best moment last week: I got a prenatal massage, which was great, but my back still hurt later that day. I’m having success with using an ice pack when I have pain, so not sure if I’ll bother with another massage, since they are not cheap.

Movement: She moves so much and is kicking my ribs more on my right side. I think she’s been in the same position for a few weeks since I always feel her feet in the same area under my right side ribs.

Food cravings: I’ve been craving dried tart cherries this past week. Trying to find them without preservatives can be expensive, but I found a large bag at Costco that had nothing too bad added. I’ll have to pick up a few more bags, that may be a good snack to take to the hospital for before or after labor. Even though I don’t think I’ll be interested in eating by the time I would get there, but just in case.

Gender: F

Labor signs: None, just a kicking baby, she is so active.

What I miss: Being able to walk for long periods of time. I’m at the point where my back is just tired and is feeling the larger load and I can’t walk around a lot like I used to. If we go out shopping or something, I have to sit down more frequently. I’ve been using an ice pack in the evenings when I lay down, and that really helps.

What I am looking forward to: Meeting baby girl and having labor and delivery behind me. I’m getting a little nervous about the thought of labor again. But, I do feel like this time it cannot possibly be longer or more painful than it was with Eva and I survived that.

I am also feeling that I’d like my normal brain back. I have typical pregnancy foggy brain and low energy. I think I am normally a creative person and I usually always have little projects going on, but during this pregnancy, especially when I was sick for so long, and then now as I’m getting toward the end, I feel like I can’t do anything besides maybe cook dinner each night and that doesn’t even always happen. I have no energy or incentive to do a lot of things I usually like to do, so I’m really hoping I can bounce back from that and be the productive person I’d like to be. I think a lot of that has to do with having hashimotos too, so I’ll be trying some new things to try to heal from that after baby comes.

34 Weeks Pregnant

I have been sooooo sick the last 6+ weeks, but I am feeling almost normal again. I almost cannot believe how sick I was so I have to rant/document this experience because I will forget. I had mentioned that I started getting some innocent allergies after 4/26. I know the exact date because it was my mom’s birthday and we went to a park with a large farm animal exhibit. It was a really fun day, Eva loved seeing all the animals, and pretty much the next day I started having allergies. I thought I was just irritated by something on the dirty animals or something, but no, this was something that was going to stick around for 6 weeks and cause me not to be able to sleep because I was so congested I could not breathe while laying down. I was waking up with sneezing fits and feeling like my head/sinuses were inflamed beyond anything I had ever experienced. I had never had allergies before and it was horrible. It was like having a miserable cold that never goes away. After a month of that, on top of these regular allergies, I did come down with a common cold, but it was the worst cold I’ve ever had. And that lasted 2 entire weeks. Who has a cold for 2 weeks? I don’t know anyone who has a cold for that long. It was like it was never going to go away. I had a low-grade fever, nothing too horrible, but had a really bad cough that caused me to lose my voice on several different days from coughing so much.

I am usually one of those people who never gets sick. I’ve never had the flu, and I might get 1 or 2 mild colds a year, but I’ve never experienced sickness like this, so it was very nerve-wracking. The whole time period is like a blur now because I wasn’t sleeping well and wasn’t hardly doing anything but being miserable, so now that I’m almost normal again, I feel like this pregnancy has just gone by way too fast. Oh, Eva and Danail also got sick, but they only had the sickness a few days, unlike me whose body held onto it for 2 weeks.

Okay, I’m done with my sickness rant so will move onto other news.

How far along: 34 weeks

Total Weight Gain/Loss: I can’t believe this, but I have not gained anything in the past several weeks. I am still up only 9 lbs from pre-pregnancy weight. So weird.

Maternity clothes: My maternity clothes are still big since I had gained much more weight during Eva’s pregnancy.

Sleep: I am finally able to breathe again at night, so I am sleeping better. I am really tired and some nights I’m sleeping 10-11 hours. Eva goes to bed around 9 and I usually lay down and read a book, but immediately get tired in like 5 minutes, so my night reading hasn’t been very productive lately.

Best moment last week: Getting over this cold.

Movement: So much movement, especially when I sit or lay down.

Food cravings: I’ve become a very picky eater. This happened during Eva’s pregnancy at the end. I feel disgusted by leftovers or anything that isn’t totally fresh. My body seems to want a certain food and I cannot eat anything else. I’m usually not at all picky and I will eat leftovers and eat the same thing a few days in a row, but not now, I cannot eat the same thing twice, and I’ve had to buy different varieties of food because my body just wants something different.

Labor signs: None

What I miss: Having energy.

What I am looking forward to: Having energy :)

Milestones: Only 6 weeks until my due date. We think we have finalized the name, but I won’t share until baby girl is here because I’m just private like that and I worry about what if I change my mind at the last minute or something…

This pregnancy has been so different from Eva’s in so many ways. I’ve only gained 9 lbs so far and with Eva I think I had gained 50 lbs by this time. I have felt this baby girl move from really early on and with Eva I never felt her move until closer to the end probably because my placenta was attached right in front and might have muffled any movements. I had some swelling at the end with Eva’s pregnancy (probably from the weight gain) but I’ve had none with this baby girl. I still have 6 weeks though so maybe it will come. I was working full time at a stressful job with Eva and this time I’m working part time from home with much less stressful work. I feel much more confident about things with pregnancy, labor, delivery obviously since it’s my second. In some ways this is good, but then in some ways, it makes me worry about labor/delivery more because I know how painful and hard it is. I only hope that my 2nd labor will be shorter and not as painful as everyone tells me.

We had an appointment at our new pediatrician’s office today to meet the pediatrician and see the facility. We are transferring to an office that is literally a 1 minute drive from our place. I really like Eva’s pediatrician but now that we’ve moved 15 miles west of there, I wanted to go somewhere closer, especially since I’ll be frequently going to appointments with a newborn. This is a smaller office with just 3 doctors and 2 nurses, but they have amazing reviews online and I’m so happy to go somewhere so close. I love the area where we live, so many things are just a few moments drive away. We could even walk there, but probably too difficult with 2 small children, unless I get really coordinated.

That is all that I can remember that is new with pregnancy. I’m so thankful to be feeling better, even though I’m very tired, at least I can breathe at night and sleep. I have midwife appointments every other week until due date.

Belly at 34 Weeks!

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Water Kefir

I’ve made milk kefir for a long time now, but this week I am trying water kefir for the first time. If you are looking for the similar health benefits of milk kefir, but want a dairy-free option, water kefir is the next logical step. I have resisted trying water kefir because the culture feeds on sugar and I was worried about how much sugar this would contain, but I understand that the kefir grains feed and consume most of the sugar and create enzymes, B vitamins and beneficial bacteria, and this fermentation process reduces most of the sugar. The end result will be a probiotic beverage that could taste like juice, or it can be fermented further to create a carbonated drink.

I bought the water kefir grains from Cultures for Health and followed their simple instructions. Learn about the importance of eating fermented foods here.

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Potted Herbs

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We planted some herbs and lettuce in pots on our modest little porch. We have mint, oregano, dill, chives, basil and romaine leaf lettuce. There is also a random jade tree that I put out there and am hoping does alright in the warm weather since it’s always been inside. Eva loves going out there and watering her “purple flower” (petunia), which was a gift from Grandma. As you can see, the builder has not done a thing to the landscaping, so the outside of our condo looks a little deserted, but it should be nice whenever they decide to add grass and bushes or whatever else they will do. We can use the porch door as a front door and come in that way, which is convenient. Eva loves this porch and uses her table out here all the time and brings out her toys and art projects. She is really good about not messing with the plants, she doesn’t play in the dirt or do anything with them unless I ask her to help. She does ask about 10 times a day to water her purple flower and I try to explain that once a day is probably sufficient, but she’s still trying to understand that.

31 Weeks Pregnant

I have been very tired and still struggling with allergies and waking at night. I scheduled an extra appointment this week just to check on baby since I’ve not been feeling good and just wanted to hear her heartbeat and make sure everything was fine. Baby is measuring perfectly and the midwife said everything looks perfect. I think my thyroid is just still struggling and also having these allergies have just knocked me down during this pregnancy. She increased my levothyroxine to 225 mcg and hopefully I can stay on that dose until baby comes, but we’ll do another blood test in 4 weeks to make sure. I plan to see a thyroid specialist after baby is here to try a different med and try to get my thyroid more stable.

How far along: 31 Weeks

Total Weight Gain/Loss: I lost another pound since the last appointment 4 weeks ago, so total weight gain is only 9 lbs. I’m still surprised by this because I’ve been feeling so tired that I definitely have not exercised as much as I would like. But, I have been eating very well most of the time, so I think that is just it and my body just doesn’t need to gain a lot. My midwife said she doesn’t care too much about weight gain, as long as baby is measuring/growing well, everyone is different.

Maternity clothes: It is getting hot here, and I have about 4 pairs of maternity shorts, 1 maternity skirt, and maybe 5 maternity shirts, so basically I’m wearing the same clothes over and over again. No need to buy anything else since I only have 9 weeks left.

Sleep: I still wake up once a night because of allergies. Sometimes I can go back to sleep, but sometimes I have to get up and make some tea or something to clear my congestion since I’m usually waking up because I can’t breathe well. Very annoying.

Best moment last week: Can’t remember last week.

Movement: Lots of movement.

Food cravings: I haven’t been able to taste things well because I’m congested, so that makes eating less enjoyable. But, I still am liking steak and fresh salads.

Labor signs: Nope

What I miss: Being able to breathe through my nose all the time. My midwife said to not be surprised if I have these allergies continually until baby comes. She said to blame it on the pregnancy, since I’ve never had allergies before, and it’s just my immune system acting crazy, which is very normal.

What I am looking forward to: Next week is our “meet the midwives” and birth center tour. The “meet the midwives” meeting is where we’ll meet the whole group of midwives at the hospital, since any one of them could help deliver the baby, depending on who is on call that day. I’m looking forward to that and to seeing the birthing center rooms. I’ve requested to use a birthing tub, so I’m curious to see what that looks like.

Milestones: I’m happy to be in the final stretch. I can’t believe it’s only 9 weeks. We have chosen a first name, but we’re struggling with a middle name to go along with it. It is such a big decision. I don’t like trendy names and I like classic spellings of names, and I like to make sure they go with the last name and the flow of the name is good, so I’m particular about following those personal guidelines that I like.

I spoke with my midwife more about labor and delivery thoughts. I will definitely be declining the Hep B vaccine and the antibiotic eye ointment for baby girl, since those are not necessary for newborns with healthy disease-free mothers. I have not decided on the Vit K shot, still researching that. With Eva, I also declined the Hep B, but allowed the Vit K, but I’ll look into it a little more this time. I also would like to try the birthing tub, but want to leave it open to get an epidural if I choose to and that all depends on how baby is positioned and how labor is progressing.

28 Weeks Pregnant

Am I in the 3rd trimester? I can’t believe it. This pregnancy is going by fast! I have been feeling a little crappy lately, but finally got another belly shot.

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My belly is bigger! Wow, even though I’ve done this before, it is still amazing to see your belly grow with a baby inside. I still sometimes forget that I’m pregnant for a moment, but then am reminded by a kick or by seeing myself in the mirror and being surprised for a second, haha!

Here is the baby questionnaire for the past few weeks:

How far along: 28 weeks

Total Weight Gain/Loss: I gained and then lost 2 pounds since 25 weeks, which is weird. I think I’m still about 10 pounds above pre-pregnancy weight.

Maternity clothes: I can still wear normal shirts, but if I wear a t-shirt, I just look fat, but if I wear a maternity shirt, it’s much more flattering and then I actually look pregnant, not just like I ate too much pizza.

Sleep: I have been having horrible sleep because I’ve had terrible ALLERGIES the past 3 WEEKS! This has been very miserable. I do not ever normally get allergies, so this is a totally new thing to be happening. I’ve read that it’s called pregnancy rhinitis and it is the most annoying thing ever! It has been worse at night. I wake up every single night around 3am feeling like I can’t breathe and I’m sneezing and blowing my nose over and over and over again. I feel like my nasal passages are swollen and irritated all the time. I did not want to take any medicine, because I’m pregnant and usually try to never take medicine unless absolutely necessary, but I was told that benadryl was fine, so after 2 weeks of misery, I started taking just 1 benadryl before bed, so I could at least sleep better. I did that for a few days and I did fall asleep more quickly and deeply, but I still woke up every night around 3 with the same congestion/sneezing/feeling like I can’t breathe. So, I stopped that, since it wasn’t helping much anyways. I’ve been using a neti pot, which is a natural safe way to clean out the sinuses. That does work, but it only feels good for about 1 hour afterwards and then I am right back to congestion again, so it hardly feels worth the effort, but I’ve been trying to do that at least once before bed. I also have saline spray but that doesn’t do much but make me have to blow my nose 10 times afterwards. So, I’m out of ideas, and just hoping that this stage will pass.

Best moment last week: I don’t have a one best moment, but Eva has been sweet in her understanding that she is going to have a baby sister soon. She says “say hi to baby?” and then wants to see my belly and she says “ahhhh” and pats it, so that is very cute. Sometimes she says “see baby now, please?” and I say we have to wait a little while for baby to grow more before we see her. Then she goes into her “why?” after everything I say, so that’s an ongoing conversation.

Movement: Baby girl still moves a lot all day long.

Food cravings: Hmmm, probably sweet things. I’m in love with lemons so I’m making a lot of healthy lemonade with fresh lemon juice, water and stevia. I’m also making iced red raspberry leaf tea with fresh lemon juice and stevia. Red raspberry leaf tea is fabulous for women, especially during pregnancy. Some sources say that it helps to tone the uterus to prepare for labor and delivery. I need all the help I can get so I’m up for that :)

I steep the tea right in this large glass pitcher, add fresh lemon juice and lemons with some liquid stevia and then let it sit for a while to cool down, then add ice a bit later and have it most of the day.

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Gender: F

Labor signs: None

What I miss: Being able to breathe clearly and not blow my nose all the time!

What I am looking forward to: Having 2 precious girls :)

Other Discomforts: I totally added this last question in because I’ve had 2 other physical discomforts that I did not have in Eva’s pregnancy. I’ve been having heartburn, especially after eating anything slightly spicy. This is also something I’ve never experienced, before pregnancy, or in Eva’s pregnancy. I’ve never had heartburn before and it’s not fun. I would say it is very mild, because it only lasts 5-10 min and its happened maybe 5 times, so it’s not as bad as what I’ve heard others say who get it every time they eat or at night and it lasts for hours, so I’m lucky, I just have a mild form of it. But, I do wonder why. Maybe because I’m older in this pregnancy and my body is just struggling more, not sure.

The other issue I’ve had is extreme fatigue and I really think that is because of my thyroid. I am having my thyroid monitored every 4 weeks and I’ve had to keep increasing my meds every time, which is the same as the last pregnancy. I am currently on 200 mcg of levothyroxine, which is the highest dosage I have ever been on in my life, which means my thyroid is really struggling. I expect it to need to be increased consistently throughout the rest of the pregnancy and then consistently need to be decreased after the baby comes to whatever level it needs normally. But, if I’m on these high thyroid meds, why am I so exhausted? I am tired beyond any level of fatigue I’ve had in a long time. If I take a walk through a park, I am wiped out for the rest of the night. It is frustrating and makes me sad. I feel like something is wrong with me.

As I mentioned before, I’ve been watching this seminar series about Autoimmune Thyroid Disease and it has been enlightening and encouraging. I’m encouraged because I have hope that I can feel better and possibly reduce the thyroid med that I was told I’d have to take the rest of my life. I’m learning a lot and it has motivated and encouraged me to stick with eating gluten-free and removing other allergenic foods and toxins from my diet and my life that could be harming my thyroid. It’s hard to believe that if I eat a certain food, my body reacts by attacking my thyroid. That is just sorta crazy to think about. But, I’m listening to the science behind it and I’m seeing how this is reality and it would be foolish of me to not do my best to try to follow these guidelines. Many people have healed themselves or at least greatly reduced their side-effects of thyroid auto-immune disease by changing their lifestyle. I will share more about that in future posts.

Hashimotos and Hypothyroid Disease

About 7 years ago, shortly after we moved to Michigan, I was told that I had hypothyroid disease and needed to start taking a thyroid replacement pill every day to replace thyroid hormone that my body wasn’t producing. I never gave it a second thought. At that time, I didn’t have any symptoms, and I just didn’t care enough to learn more about the disease, and I just took the pill and went about life. I had my thyroid levels checked periodically and slowly my medication had to be increased over the years but I still never thought much of it.

Several years after that, because my thyroid wasn’t stable and I kept having to increase or decrease the medication, I went to an endocrinologist who did another test and said I had Hashimotos Disease, which is when your body creates antibodies to the thyroid and actually attacks it’s own thyroid, which causes hypothyroid. I still have a lot to learn about this disease, but there was sorta an answer to why I have hypothyroid, well I have it because my body has this auto-immune disease, which is attacking my thyroid and causing it to be hypothyroid or not produce enough thyroid hormone. But, why do I have Hashimotos? I am just now starting to learn about possible reasons why I could have this. It can be hereditary, but it can also start and be worsened by environmental factors and the food we eat! Wow, that is nothing I ever heard from any doctor I’ve had.

This week I’ve been watching this free seminar series on Thyroid Disease. It is free, you just have to register and you can watch each group of sessions for a limited amount of time before the next group of sessions replaces it and it is still ongoing through next week. I’ve starting paying more attention to this disease because I’ve had an onset of thyroid symptoms which are much worse than in years past and I think it woke me up to the reality that this isn’t normal and I need to pay attention and educate myself more or it is just going to get worse. I am the only one who is responsible for myself and how I treat this disease. It seems that there is a recent expansion of medical knowledge on thyroid disease, because it is just rampant across the United States and there are things I can do to heal my body instead of only taking a pill the rest of my life. It’s probable that I won’t ever be able to stop taking thyroid replacement medication, but I can reduce the dosage of it and stop it from needing to be increased periodically.

Super-food Yogurt Parfait

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This looks a little strange, but tastes great as a sweet breakfast or snack.

Mix 2 cups of full-fat organic plain yogurt with 2 spoonfuls of chia seeds and 2 spoonfuls of raw cacao powder. Add some honey or stevia for sweetness. Sprinkle on some organic gluten-free granola or some seeds and walnuts and then top with blueberries.

Chicken Marbella

This is one of my favorite chicken recipes. I love sweet and salty things, and the sweetness of the prunes and saltiness of the capers go amazingly well together. I first discovered this recipe in Elana Amsterdam’s “Paleo Cooking” recipe book, which I love. I usually make it a little different each time, depending on what is in the fridge.

I recently learned how to properly cut up a whole chicken (I liked this video demonstration), so I prefer that method since it is easier to marinate and easier to serve and eat. But, you can make it with a whole chicken or whatever chicken pieces are your favorite. We usually buy whole organic chickens from Costco, so now that I can properly cut them up prior to cooking, I won’t even bother buying individual pieces going forward. You save money and you get more meat for what you buy when you buy the whole bird. I also prefer the taste of chicken when it’s cooked on the bone, and I save the bones to make chicken stock, so it’s a win-win all around.

Marinate a 2-3 lb chicken overnight in the fridge with the following ingredients:

  • 1 c prunes
  • 1 c olives
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • 1/4 c capers
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 5 cloves chopped garlic
  • sprinkle of sea salt & pepper
  • drizzle honey over the tops of the chicken

I sometimes add some chopped carrots or fresh parsley if I have it. After overnight marinating, bake at 350 for 1 hour or so.

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Here is my nicely, properly cut chicken in the baking dish, and the leftover back in a pot ready to make chicken stock. I added some salt/pepper and a splash of apple cider vinegar to the stock and simmered for 2 hours. I then transferred the chicken stock to a few mason jars and put in the freezer for later. There was some leftover chicken meat stuck to the bones, so I picked that off and saved for the next day (about 1/2 c of chicken) and added the cold cooked chicken to my salad.

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This picture above is before baking. I have a hard time getting a picture of a finished product, since Eva and Danail are usually ready to eat right when it’s done.

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I was out of olives this time around, so I omitted those but added some carrots.

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This is the latest quinoa we tried and really liked from Trader Joe’s. If you saw my Miso Soup post, I mentioned that I used the leftover miso soup instead of water or broth for the base and it turned out really well. I liked the taste of the soup with the quinoa even more than the soup on it’s own. I like quinoa because it takes on the taste of whatever you cook with it. You can use it with savory dishes or you can eat it like oatmeal with nuts and honey. It’s also gluten-free.