The Feast – 290 – Happy Birth

The Feast – 290 – Happy Birth

Chapter 290: A Happy Birth

 

Translated by Gumihou

Edited by Onionpi

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However, at this very critical moment, how could the terrified little marquis with his wild red eyes be bothered about bad lucks or misfortunes? In a delirious craze, he pushed his mother and Liu Min aside and crashed into the birthing room. The midwives leapt up in shock. Their cries overwhelming Su Nuan Nuan’s own screams of pain.

“Nuan Nuan, don’t be afraid. With me here, there’s no need for you to fear bad luck or misfortune from seeing blood.” The little marquis had reached his wife’s side with just a step and was now clutching at her hand comfortingly.

Su Nuan Nuan, whose forehead was drenched in sweat smiled up at him, “Who’s afraid? Moreover, who in the world could give birth without bleeding? If you think that seeing birthing blood is bad luck, are you telling me not to give birth to our son?”

The little marquis was rendered speechless by the joke. However, he quickly realized that it wasn’t that his wife making jokes because she was unafraid, but seeing his terrified face she had deliberately made a joke to comfort him.

The little marquis’ heart nearly melted away at the thought, he sat at his wife’s bedside and looked into her eyes. They were very clear and bright despite the exhaustion. Without even thinking about it, he leaned forward and pressed his forehead against hers. This intimacy was as close as though they were in the privacy of their rooms, speaking secrets to each other.

“You should wait outside. Don’t frighten the midwives anymore, it’s not like you could do anything to help.”

Su Nuan Nuan’s voice was soft in his ears, a contrast to Madam Yang’s stern voice yelling for him to get out. Duan Tingxuan shook his head. “While I was outside, it was as though my heart was hanging in a void. Not rising, yet not falling. Unless my eyes are on you, my heart could not be reassured. Nuan Nuan, why don’t you just let me stay with you here?”

“You, ah. Why are you so unreasonable? For a husband to be in the birthing chamber with the woman, though I dare not say for sure in the future, but surely this is not a done thing in this ancient era?” Su Nuan Nuan muttered. Though her lips complained, her heart has mostly melted into a pool of spring water.

“If there is true love in this world, I’m sure there are men who would fight to be with their wives. Though I have never read or heard of men accompanying their wife in the birthing chamber. It’s possible that history books just refused to record such things to prevent such practices from spreading. From what I’ve already experienced, I must say that it takes a lot to endure this suffering. If I am a weak-willed man, I would have run away from the birthing room already.”

“You’re just twisting words to suit yourself,” Su Nuan Nuan scolded with a smile. However, her smile soon vanished when another pain ripped from her stomach. The panicked voices of the midwives cried out, “No, no, it’s not the head… we have to push it back and right the position first. Madam… please bear with us…”

“That little brat, whether it’s a boy or a girl, they must be just like you. So troublesome…” Su Nuan Nuan sighed, her body slacked with exhaustion.

Her husband’s soft voice said, “Nonsense, when am I ever such a lively person? The child clearly took after your violent and bold behaviour.”

“Wei… I’m already suffering you know? How dare you put a black pot on my head on top of all my suffering? How is this fair?”

“Wasn’t it you who said that we must stick to the truth at all times?”

“What truth? How worthless is the truth to a scoundrel like you? True facts will bite you, ah.”

“It’s fine, I have thick skin. I’m not afraid of getting bitten…”

Whether it’s because the midwives had been influenced by the affectionate quarrelling between the couple and thus became more relaxed and correspondingly more efficient; or that Su Nuan Nuan’s fighting spirit had risen up from the quarrel with her husband… whatever the reason, as soon as the little marquis entered the birthing room forbidden to all noblemen, everything seemed to go smoothly from then on. Instead of courting bad luck, in less than an hour, the child was finally ready to exit, causing Nuan Nuan a final stroke of pain before happily bouncing out into this world.

The midwife caught the child in her hands and… at the sight of the thing dangling between the baby’s legs, broke into a wide smile. She swaddled the babe and rushed out to show the prize to Madam Yang and congratulate her. Of course, Madam Yang was pleased. Liu Min did her best to show a happy expression, but who knew what she really felt inside.

After handing the monkey-ish looking child with his red and crumpled up face to the nursemaid, Madam Yang turned to ask the midwife, “How is my daughter-in-law.”

The midwife smiled, “Very well. The master is with her now, she is probably asleep by now. Please don’t mind my saying this, but the Little Marquis certainly loves his wife, ah. I’ve delivered so many babies, but have yet to see a husband so loving towards his wife. To even charge into a birthing room like that, this humble one can clearly see just how much affection the master has for the First Madam. It really gave us quite the shock…”

Just what kind of praise is this? This is clearly a complaint wrapped up in a cloak of compliment. The main message was: Your son really doesn’t know how things work. How could he just charge into a birthing room like that? It nearly scared us to death you know? You must make sure to compensate us properly and tip us well.

How could Madam Yang not understand such an obvious hint? Thinking of her addled-minded son, she could not help but grit her teeth in anger. However, now was not the time to reprimand him, not with outsiders around, she thought: I must maintain my dignity at all cost. Thus, she forced her anger under control and said with the dignity and composure of the Official Wife of the Marquis and said gently, “But of course I understand you’ve worked hard. Please, do go and have a rest first. We will definitely compensate you well for your trouble.”

When the midwife saw that Madam Yang had taken the hint, she smiled so widely that her eyes could hardly be seen. Madam Yang glanced over at her grandson, tucked safely in his nursemaid’s arms. Whatever faint irritation prickling her heart soon vanished. The child had been crying earlier, only stopping when the nursemaid began to feed him. Finally, she said to Liu Min, “Let’s go, we should go and inform the Old Madam of this good news as well. The child has just been born and cannot bear the cold wind for now. Once it gets warmer, we can bring him out and let the Old Madam have a look at him.”

The group of people smiled and nodded agreeably. They all exited Spring Breeze Court and trailed after Madam Yang to the North Court to convey this good news to Old Madam Fang.

 

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“What is it now? Didn’t you say that she’s gone to pray at the Buddhist hall so that I can give birth smoothly? I’m already done with my confinement period [1], but that person is still at the hall. Surely she hasn’t been inspired by a few chanting and now wants to cultivate herself to become a nun?”

It was now late spring and Nuan Nuan was finally out of her confinement period. Like a prisoner escaping prison, she relished the freedom of doing things that were taboo during that time. Like washing her hair. She was currently dressed in loose, breathable clothes and her hair was spread out to be dried. The question was directed to the little marquis.

It just happened to be Duan Tingxuan’s rest day, and naturally, he wanted to spend his time with his wife. He intended to pamper his wife today, but the unexpected question threw him off. Su Nuan Nuan had noticed that Concubine Jiang was no longer seen moving about at the wing of Spring Breeze Court where she was supposed to be living. Idle curiosity came to her as Hong Lian was running a comb through her hair.

When she first brought up Concubine Jiang’s disappearance, he told her that Concubine Jiang had gone to the Buddhist hall to chant sutras for her safe delivery. However, now that she was no longer in confinement, the lack of Concubine Jiang in her courtyard piqued her curiosity.

She frowned at her own words and said, “No, no, that can’t be. She’s not even 30 years old. How could she spend the rest of her life at the Buddhist hall? How could she?”

“And why not?” Duan Tingxuan smiled casually. “If she is inspired by the religion, she could do what she wants. Surely you’re not going to block her path to religious enlightenment? You might not see it, but there are people who find this kind of life satisfying.”

“Farts and nonsense.” Su Nuan Nuan raised her eyebrows as she spat out the curse words casually. “She still has plenty of youth left in her, what is she cultivating for? Did she even have the right mindset for it? Do you really believe that she has achieved the maturity and dignity necessary to be free of worldly desires? Don’t be ridiculous, her path is still long. Not even the senior madams have this kind of heart, so how could she?”

As she spoke, she rose to her feet and said, “No, I must go and speak to her. She’s still so young, why would she want to light lamps and chant sutras to the Buddha for the rest of her life? Has she completely forgotten Chuan’er? If this got out, wouldn’t it look bad on me? Of the secondary wives and concubines of the little marquis, Madam Yun died, Madam Lan went crazy, and if Concubine Jiang is found to have embraced religion, just what… what kind of monster have I become?”

“Didn’t you say it before? That you’re a violent shrew of a woman? What’s this to your reputation?” Duan Tingxuan smiled bitterly. Then, he quickly hugged his nosy wife with her overly developed sense of justice close to him. He said gently, “Just listen to me, now that you’re out of your confinement, you should go and give your greetings to the senior madams. They have been clamouring to see you, they’ve really missed you, you know?”

Su Nuan Nuan let out a soft giggle. She turned to her husband, “Are they missing me or my cooking? I think I had better clarify this matter first.”

“Isn’t it the same? You are your cooking and your cooking is you…” Duan Tingxuan laughed heartily even as his wife kicked him in the shins.

Su Nuan Nuan growled, “You dare say that one more time?”

Xing’er and Cong’er had to cover their mouths as they came into the room with the nursemaid in tow. At the sight of Su Nuan Nuan, the nursemaid said, “The little master is pouting again, this maid do believe that he must be hungry.”

“Again? Didn’t I feed him this morning? This little thing, I swear he eats non-stop. Surely he’s not going to grow up to be a foodie like his father, right?” First Madam was really worried about this.

“Hah, is his father the only foodie in this house? What about his mother? Just this morning you had a huge bowl of Peanut Pork Trotter Soup.” Duan Tingxuan howled angrily, not at all happy to be the only one to be blamed.

“Pu-!”

Both Su Nuan Nuan and the nursemaid laughed. First Madam raised her eyebrows and said imperiously, “Humph, so what if you don’t like to face the facts? Who ask you not to give birth? Naturally only people who had given birth should drink this kind of supplements. It’s all gone to feed your son. Do you think I really like soups like that? However, if you want to, I can have the kitchen make some for you.”

“I don’t want it. How could the kitchen staff make anything good? Moreover, if I drink things that are meant for women, what would happen to my body?”

As Duan Tingxuan continued to pout, Su Nuan Nuan decided to ignore him. She turned to the nursemaid and said, “What about your own son? Surely he’s hungry too? You’ve been here since early morning and it’s almost evening now. Go home and feed your son. I’m sure your breast is full to bursting, right? Rather than let it go to waste, just go home and feed your son.”

At this, the nursemaid suddenly fell to her knees with an audible [pu tong]. She looked up at Su Nuan Nuan with tears in her eyes, giving the First Madam quite a fright. Nuan Nuan quickly helped her up saying, “What happened to you? Get up, what’s going on? Just speak, as long as you’re not at fault, the Lord and I will find justice for you.”

 

[Gumihou: Uwaah, the official end of the story is at 292, I wonder what’s the drama now 0.0]

 

[1] Confinement period – the period of time immediately after giving birth (1 month to 45 days). All kinds of postnatal practices and taboo are put in place to help the mother recover.

https://www.huggies.com.sg/en-sg/parenting-center/childbirth/confinement-the-asian-way

 

The food mentioned here is stewed peanuts and pork trotter soup. It’s believed the protein in the peanuts and collagen in the pork trotter would stimulate breast milk… Click on the link for the recipe~

 

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