spicy shoyu ramen

Spicy Shoyu Ramen // Welcome Baby Alanna

Part I of Alanna’s birth! (See part II here)

 I’m so excited to share our new baby girl!

Of course, my husband was doing a big surgery with his boss the day she was born. His boss had asked him a few weeks prior, “Hey, can you assist me in this complicated case next month?” B replied, “Sure, just an FYI, Natalie will be almost 39 weeks around that time.” Both of them agreed, “Eh, it’s fine, Natalie won’t go into labor that day” and booked the case for the operating room.

Well, that’s the day Alanna decides to arrive.

spicy shoyu ramen in bowl top view

I got a LOT bigger the second pregnancy, and since I was more than ready to get her out, I happily agreed to be on the wait list for an induction starting 39 weeks. In the meantime, I tried all the “tricks” from walking 20 miles a week to eating spicy food. 

On our daily walk, we stopped by a hole in the wall ramen place for dinner. I ordered the spicy ramen, in the hopes it would kick off labor before my induction date. It was extremely spicy, and it may have done the trick, as I started having contractions that night!

I couldn’t sleep since I was so uncomfortable, and around 2am, I started having stomach cramping. I finally realized they were contractions around 2:30am and started timing them.

Since Isabelle was a scheduled induction for intrauterine growth restriction, I had never labored at home. Since we didn’t know how long it would take (2 hours? 12 hours?). B went off to work at 6am for his surgery, while I laid on the couch miserable with my contractions. I was nervous about waiting too long since Isabelle was a fast labor but wanted to give it as much time as possible for B to finish his surgery.

Around 8:30am, I called him saying I think we should consider going to the hospital. They were only halfway through the surgery. B suggested my mother-in-law, who was staying with us, drive me to the hospital, and he would meet me there to buy him some time. 

spicy shoyu ramen

Although my mother-in-law can drive her car at home, she didn’t know how to drive our keyless hybrid SUV. She couldn’t turn on the car. Then she couldn’t adjust the electric side mirrors or the seat. And she had cataract surgery recently, so she kept saying “I can’t see.” Then we backed out of the garage start-stop-start-stop, and I clutched my contracting belly in pain with each jerk. 

Just going down the driveway was giving me a heart attack, and I couldn’t imagine going on the highway.  Finally, I said “Ok, we need to have B drive me to the hospital!” so I parked the car on the street in front of our house.

So, I called B again, and told him he needed to come home right now and drive us to the hospital. B said, right now?! And I yelled, RIGHT NOW! He ran out of the operating room and drove home as fast as he could (his poor boss finished the surgery alone, and we are now legendary among OR nurse gossip). 

spicy shoyu ramen in bowl

When B arrived home, since our car wasn’t in the garage, he yelled, “Oh my god, where is our car??” He had been in such a rush to get home that he didn’t see our car down the street, and immediately thought our car had been stolen (“Today of all days for our car to be stolen!”). 

Much relieved that our car was, in fact, not stolen, B quickly drove us to the hospital. I couldn’t walk due to the pain as contractions were increasing, so I was wheeled up in a wheelchair. Once we arrived at triage, we found out I was 4cm, and I quickly asked for an epidural. I had been nervous since it was July, but the resident did great, and the anesthesia attending was especially kind. 

I could relax more, and B and I placed bets on when baby girl would arrive. Our lovely labor and delivery nurse and my ob-gyn (who called to wish me good luck) both agreed with B that baby was going to come out very soon! Within a few hours, I reached 10cm, and after pushing for less than 5 minutes, baby Alanna was born at 6 lb 3 oz! She had a strong cry and so much black hair. B won the bet by a landslide, but I was very happy to have lost that bet.

Sharing my version of my spicy ramen soup (adapted from Killing Thyme), which I’m sure helped precipitate labor! Let’s just say this was a MUCH more stressful, chaotic labor than our scheduled induction with Isabelle.

Spicy Shoyu Ramen

1 tablespoon sesame oil, more if necessary
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1-2 tablespoons spicy chili bean paste
3 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups dashi stock
3 cups water
2 packs ramen noodles
4 soft-boiled eggs
Narutomaki (fish cake)
1/2 lb braised pork
1/2 carrot, julienned
1 green onion, sliced
sesame seeds, to garnish
Heat the sesame oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, sauté the garlic and ginger. Add the shiitake mushrooms and sauté until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Spoon the chili paste into the pot, then stir it around to coat the mushrooms. Add the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, salt, and sugar. Add the chicken and dashi stock into the pot; stir again.
Allow the soup to simmer for about 15 minutes. While it simmers, cook your ramen noodles, your egg (soft boiled), and prepare your toppings.
After the soup has simmered, adjust the spiciness and soy sauce to taste.
Strain the noodles when they’re ready, then transfer them to a large bowl. Spoon broth over the noodles in the bowl, and then garnish with your toppings.

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