Chapter 237 - In Labor

“What is going on?!” Yu Xiaocao, who was currently in the kitchen cooking up some medicinal cuisine, heard all of the ruckus and came out. She frowned fiercely and scolded all of the servants. The sound of her voice seemed to calm everyone down, and the whole courtyard quieted down almost instantaneously. 

Yu Xiaocao had come out in a hurry, so there was a still a soup ladle in her hands. All of the servants silently lined up as she instructed them individually, “You, go to the front courtyard and bring over some trustworthy elder servants in; you and you need to go to the kitchen and boil some water; you, go to the outer courtyard and send people bring Godfather home. Older Sister Linglong, escort my godmother to the birthing chamber...this is my godmother’s first child, so it should take some time from when the pangs first started to when she’s ready to push him out!”

All of the maids seemed to know what they needed to do now, so they immediately went off to do their duties. Linglong gratefully smiled at Yu Xiaocao. They were fortunate that Miss Xiaocao was here today. 

“Godmother, Younger Brother must be impatient to see all of us. Come here, I’ll support you as you slowly walk. No need to rush!” Xiaocao’s sweet and dulcet voice seemed to have the ability to calm a person’s heart.

Lady Fang’s panicky heart slowly became calm and the sharp pangs in her belly gradually subsided. The color of her complexion became normal again, and she smiled at her maids who acted as if they were facing their worst enemy, “It’s okay. I don’t feel pain right now, so don’t be worried!”

Xiaocao continued to support her godmother towards the already prepared birthing chamber. After helping her godmother sit down on the bed, she softly said, “All women will experience labor pain before the birth is done. Godmother, this is your first child, so the labor pains will likely be longer than usual. This is all considered normal, so there is no need to panic. I’m going to the kitchen to check on something since the medicinal cuisine should be almost done. You should eat something now and save your strength for later.”

Lady Fang cradled her belly and leaned on a hard pillow at the head of the bed. She smiled and nodded, “Ah you! My little sweetie is such a young child, yet you explain the birthing process so well. You truly do have the air of a little doctor ah!”

Yu Xiaocao pursed her lips and remarked, “Godmother, I already asked around. How can I not take this matter seriously when you’re going to give birth to my little brother? I’m going to go grab the medicinal cuisine, you should rest first…”

After plating the medicinal cuisine, Xiaocao came out of the kitchen and saw her godfather, Fang Zizhen, rushing through the gate. Sweat beaded his brow as he strode quickly towards the inner rooms.

This child of theirs did not come easy. After begging the heavens for years, they had finally obtained this blessing. Fang Zizhen had been nervous ever since he found out his wife was pregnant. Today, when he had left the house, he had felt unsettled. The uneasiness did not abate, and he had a feeling that something important was going to happen today. He had been an orphan since childhood, and his wife’s wet nurse had been left in the capital to manage their residence’s affairs. Without anyone experienced at home to watch over, it really made him a bit anxious! It was probably best for him to stay home for the next couple of days.

When he got to the docks, he carelessly patrolled a round. Throughout the whole process, his eyelids twitched constantly as his heart fretted about his wife, who was on the verge of childbirth, at home. Afterwards, Fang Zizhen hurriedly spurred his horse back into town. He came across the house’s steward the moment he entered through the town gates, who informed him that the lady of the house was about to give birth.

Fang Zizhen felt his heart squeeze and whipped his horse forward into its top speed. On the whole journey there, he had almost run over several pedestrians. The steward behind him had to constantly apologize to those unfortunate people as he also headed back.

While he was rushing back, Fang Zizhen wished he could suddenly grow a pair of wings and fly back to his wife’s side. The doctor had told him that his wife was on the older side, so she would likely have an element of danger when giving birth. At this time, he wasn’t by her side, so she must be scared, right? Although they had their adopted daughter, who normally acted like a small adult, she was still a kid who hadn’t reached the age of ten. Who knew how panicked she would get at this time!

As his thoughts circled around his head, his feet stamped impatiently forward and he almost started running. Because he was in such a rush, he almost bumped into Yu Xiaocao, who was currently holding a tray full of medicinal cuisine.

“Godfather,” Yu Xiaocao narrowly avoided the large man and managed to save the food within her hands. She rolled her eyes at her godfather and commented, “Don’t worry, the midwives are already here! These two are well-known experts in town, and Godmother’s body is quite healthy. This birth will definitely go very smoothly!”

Fang Zizhen came to a stop and took the food from his adopted daughter’s hands. He rubbed her head and linked hands with her as he softly said, “Daughter, you’re probably scared out of your wits, right? Don’t be afraid, giving birth to a child is…”

Yu Xiaocao slanted her eyes at him and made fun of him, “Godfather, how many times have you seen children being birthed? How do you know what giving birth is like?”  “Uh...I was only worried that you were scared, so I was trying to comfort you!” When Fang Zizhen noticed that she had seen through his actions, he relaxed a bit and felt the panic within his heart settle down a lot.   

The two of them very soon arrived at the birthing chamber. Lady Fang was in the throes of another contraction, so she supported her belly as she let out a cry. The expression on Fang Zizhen’s face immediately changed when he saw this, and he rushed into the room despite the midwives and maids trying to stop him. He held onto his wife’s hand as he asked in concern, “Wife, does it hurt? Let me help you rub a bit…”

“Lord, please don’t add to the chaos!!” The midwife steeled herself and pushed away Fang Zizhen’s hand as she continued, “The lady’s child hasn’t reached the birth canal yet. If you start rubbing, you might move the child into the wrong position! Men are not allowed inside the birthing room, so please leave now!”

“Why can’t men enter the birthing room? My wife is giving birth to our child, so what’s wrong with me staying by her side?” Fang Zizhen softly growled as he stared fiercely at the midwife with his large eyes that could cause his enemies to tremble in fear.

After hearing his rebuke, the first midwife trembled. The other woman hurriedly interjected, “Lord, it is said that the scent of blood from the birthing room is ominous. You can’t help with anything here and will only cause trouble for your wife. Therefore, can you please wait outside?”

Fang Zizhen’s innate stubbornness reared its head and he loftily lifted his head and proclaimed, “Not okay! My wife has a cowardly nature and this is the first time she’s giving birth. She must be very scared right now, so I need to stay here and give her some courage!”

Fang Zizhen was a general and would likely have to go back onto the battlefield in the future. When Lady Fang heard that it was not auspicious for him to be here, she hurriedly shooed him away, “What can you do here anyway? Can you carry the pain or birth the child for me? If you continue to stand here, you will only influence my mood!”

“Wife, don’t be afraid! I’m here for you!!” Fang Zizhen pretended that he didn’t hear a word. He gripped his wife’s somewhat cold hand and boasted, “If I could help you birth the child instead, then I naturally wouldn’t have you do this task! Wife, does it hurt? If it hurts, you can bite on my hand. My skin is thick and I have plenty of flesh, so I’m not afraid of pain!”

With her loving husband by her side, Lady Fang completely calmed down at this time. She glared moodily at her shameless man and said, “Do you think that me biting you will get rid of my pain? You...ahhhhh…” Another contraction attacked her, and she gritted her teeth!

In between the contractions, Fang Zizhen personally fed his wife a bowl of medicinal cuisine and a few eggs stewed in brown sugar. Yu Xiaocao also had her godfather support her godmother to walk a few rounds around the room. She told them that it would help the child move into the right position.

Fang until the evening, when her water finally broke. Fang Zizhen wiped off the dense sweat that dotted his wife’s forehead and tenderly remarked, “How come this stinky youngster hasn’t come out yet? He’s causing so much trouble for my wife. In the future, just watch me slap his bottoms!”

Lady Fang, who was in the midst of gritting her teeth to endure the pain of another contraction, firmly glared at him and snarled, “If you dare to hit him, then I will hit you!!”

“Okay, okay! Quickly birth this stinky boy and then you can hit me all you want!” Fang Zizhen could feel his wife clamping down on his hand. It was obvious that his wife was in a lot of pain to grip his hand so tightly. Thinking about this made his heart hurt. 

“The cervix is opening! Lady, when I tell you to push, that’s when you push ah!” Both of the midwives joyfully instructed her.

When Yu Xiaocao saw that the birth was about to happen, she hastily told Fang Zizhen, “Godfather, you should go out first! If you’re here, Godmother will only act spoiled when it hurts and won’t push as hard. It will only cause her to suffer longer!”

When Lady Fang heard this, she remarked sourly, “Act spoiled? Who are you talking about? Who will act spoiled towards him?? However, Daughter is right. If you continue to stay here, it’ll be too annoying and affect my concentration!”

Laboring was a cruel process. It was obvious that pushing a child out would only cause her to look quite fierce. She didn’t want her husband to see her in such a state, so Lady Fang had long wanted to shoo him out before that happened. 

Although he felt quite reluctant to leave, when he heard that he might poorly influence his wife, Fang Zizhen slowly left the birthing chamber. In front of her master, Linglong carefully closed the doors shut.

“Ah——” As soon as Fang Zizhen left the birthing chamber, he suddenly heard a scream from inside. He almost kicked the door open and rushed back in again. 

“Wife, wife, are you okay? Just tolerate it a bit more, once you finish giving birth to this child, let’s not have any more children again!” Fang Zizhen pressed himself against the crack in the door as he yelled towards the inside. The veins on his neck bulged and the expression on his face looked even more suffering than the one on his wife’s face.

“Fang Mingzhe, you shut up!!” Lady Fang suddenly lost her usual elegance and grace due to the pain ripping through her. She screamed out her rage, “If you don’t want more, this lady insists on more! I want to give birth to a dozen more just to piss you off!”

Everyone inside the room lowered their heads and muffled their laughter. This couple was truly too funny!

However, the light atmosphere within the room was quickly replaced by a more solemn one. After the cervix slowly widened, the child within the uterus still didn’t drop down into the opening. Lady Fang felt like she was slowly being crushed by a horse carriage and she could only feel one thing now——pain!

Yu Xiaocao could also tell that something wasn’t right and sternly asked the midwives, “What’s going on?!”

Neither of the midwives had any color in their faces. One of them replied with a voice that trembled, “The lady...the lady’s child doesn’t seem to be in the right position…”

“Doesn’t seem?! I don’t need such a wishy-washy answer! You need to tell me exactly what is going on! If something happens because of your delay, do you think you will be able to take on the consequences?” Although Yu Xiaocao didn’t have an imposing height and had a somewhat childish looking face, she truly seemed very intimidating at this moment.

The other midwife inhaled deeply and stated, “The lady’s child’s foot...it’s a breech birth!”

“Is there a way to fix this?” Yu Xiaocao felt panic bubble up in her heart yet managed to force herself to stay cool headed as she solemnly asked.

That midwife thought quickly and then replied, “The only thing that can be done is to push the child back into the uterus and then slowly rotate the child. However, this method might injure the lady…” 

Yu Xiaocao glanced at the midwife’s thick and crude looking hands. If that woman used her hands to turn the child, then her godmother would definitely suffer an injury. She gritted her teeth and made a split second decision, “Tell me how to do it? I will go ahead!!”

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Myst's Thoughts

Sanguine’s Thoughts: In an era without C-sections and an understanding of proper hygiene, it’s no wonder many women died in childbirth or shortly thereafter...

Translator: Sanguine