"Little girls are the best! Obedient, considerate, and quiet!” He Wanning gave Ning Yuchan's chubby bottom a little squeeze as she continued to complain, "Listen, my older brother’s second son is just so naughty! He’s just learnt to walk and hasn’t had a quiet moment since! His elderly grandmothers cannot keep up with him at all. I'm really afraid that Marquis Dingyuan will produce a demon king!"
“What about you? It's been more than two years since you got married. Xiaocao got married more than a year after you did and is already five months pregnant. Yet, there’s no good news from you at all. Does your mother-in-law nag you about it? Is Lu Hao getting anxious?" Yuan Xueyan asked in concern for her sister.
He Wanning touched her stomach, and the smile on her face faded. "What else can they do? They can only blame me for not being able to get pregnant, as usual.” It was not that they weren’t anxious about it, but...
"By the way, Xiaocao, aren’t you quite skilled with treating infertility? You were the one who treated my brother, and now my two nephews and little niece are running amok all day in our house. Could you take a look and tell me if there’s anything wrong with me?" He Wanning looked at Xiaocao hopefully.
Yu Xiaocao took her pulse. She remarked that while there was some coldness in her womb due to an imbalanced diet, there wasn’t anything severe enough to cause infertility. If there wasn’t anything wrong with Lu Hao, then perhaps it was just that they were not fated to have children at the moment.
Upon hearing Xiaocao’s words, the weight on He Wanning’s heart lifted. She had been married for two years and still had not been able to conceive. Although her mother-in-law didn’t say much about it, she sometimes seemed at the verge of wanting to speak out. People have also started to gossip that the He Family had fertility issues, and that she might have similar ailments as her brother.
He Wanning was not one who would endure the slander of others silently. She used to have quite a temper when she was younger and would beat up anyone who dared to talk behind her back. But this matter was one that persistently troubled her. She had feared that there was an issue with her that resulted in their infertility.
With Xiaocao’s reassurance, a smile returned to her face, "When my husband returns, take a look at him as well. If there’s an issue, we will treat it, and if there’s nothing wrong, we would also be more at ease. Xiaocao, prescribe me some medicinal remedies that will help to balance the coldness of my womb. I remember you saying that if one’s womb is cold, even if they got pregnant, it will not be good for the baby."
"That’s right! The womb is where the fetus grows and develops. What will happen to you If you live in a cold and dark environment for a long time? It will be uncomfortable for sure, and you might even fall sick. The same is true for the fetus, if they grow in a cold environment, it is might curb their development and even lead to miscarriage. Moreover, the babies born from cold wombs not only have weak immune systems, but are also prone to attention deficit disorders, and are not easy to bring up." The latter part of her statement were things that Xiaocao heard in her previous life, and she wasn’t sure if there was any actual basis for those claims.
Xiaocao prescribed some medicinal herbs for He Wanning and told her to prepare and drink it according to the method that she wrote. Soon, the coldness in her womb was alleviated. Not long after spring in the following year, the good news of a pregnancy came out. Xiaocao didn't dare to take credit for it this time. The couple had no major issues that would affect fertility to begin with. It was probably just a matter of time before they would conceive.
She did teach He Wanning how to calculate her ovulation period—increased intimacy between the couple during that period naturally increased the chances of pregnancy. Apart from that, He Wanning's pregnancy really had nothing to do with her. But that wasn’t what the people thought. They believed that Princess Consort Xu had excellent medical skills, especially with regards to the treatment of infertility. Didn’t Lady Fang, who was already over forty at the time, manage to conceive? Weren’t the He siblings also able to have good results after her diagnosis and treatment?
However, due to her elevated status and her being a pregnant woman herself, not many people came to seek medical treatment. Those who were able to enter the gate of Imperial Prince Xu’s Estate were all children of powerful nobles or high-ranking officials. As long as it did not affect her own rest, Zhu Junyang did not prevent his wife from prescribing treatments.
As Princess Consort Xu treated more people, Imperial Prince Xu’s standing in court also improved. This is all due to his princess’s efforts!
On the 28th of the twelfth lunar month, the demonic training at the Xishan Barracks came to an end. When Zhu Junyang returned to his estate and saw his little wife’s bulging belly, he said with a little alarm, “This... is your belly growing a little too fast? It's only five months along, right? Why do you look like you’ve got a big watermelon strapped on your belly?"
“Shut up! You’re the one with a watermelon stomach!" Yu Xiaocao threw a pillow at him, which was easily caught by the man's long arm. During this period of time, she had always felt that her stomach was like a bottomless pit that she couldn't fill. Even if she ate a lot during the regular meals, she got hungry easily, and had to have something extra like a bowl of wontons or chicken noodle soup between meals. She hadn’t gained much weight in spite of all the extra food— it all went straight to her belly.
Her mother said that the nutrition had all been absorbed by the child. She advised her to relax, eat less at every meal, and walk about more often, so that the fetus will not get too big and cause unnecessary complications during birth.
Madam Liu was not without suspicion about the prospect of twins. However, Xiaocao got the little divine stone to use its spiritual power to check her body, and was told that it was indeed just one child. Seeing that she was still a little anxious, the little divine stone reassured her that the child was developing well, so she didn't have to worry. With it frequently nourishing the little fetus with its spiritual power, the little one could only get healthier. As for the concern of the fetus being too big, there was no need to worry at all. With its reassurance, Xiaocao set her worries aside and ate and drank as she liked.
Every night before bed, Xiaocao would rub oil on her stomach to prevent stretch marks. The lightly aromatic body oil was made from pure plant extracts. Nourishing to the skin, it was a gentle and soothing remedy that was completely safe to use.
Zhu Junyang took the body oil from her hands and gently massaged it onto her round and delicate belly. "Are you sure they are not twins? Isn’t this belly too big?" He asked.
"I already told you that I am only carrying one child. The imperial physicians have confirmed it. So, you are destined to be disappointed!" Yu Xiaocao gave him a look and continued. "Some people’s wombs tilt forward, and that can make the belly seem very big. For those who tilt backwards, the belly is still small even when they give birth. And then there are some who don’t even seem pregnant with just a bit of weight gain. Now, in my belly, our little bean is still small. Everything else is amniotic fluid and so on..."
Xiaocao gestured with her hands to indicate the size of their baby. Zhu Junyang’s eyes suddenly grew wide. He stared at her belly with a look of incredulity and stammered. "He... I think he kicked me!"
Xiaocao also felt the strong fetal movements, which took her by surprise. The little one had always been relatively calm, and there’d been only a few occasional movements. Even then, the baby only wriggled slightly. This time, however, the fetus was giving his father a rather hard kick.
Yu Xiaocao touched the spot where the baby was moving and smiled. "Our baby must know that his father is back. He’s saying hello to you."
Zhu Junyang put his hand over his wife’s little hand and asked with a mixture of delight and concern, "He gave such a strong kick, was it uncomfortable for you? Will it cause you any harm? Son, be good. Show a little more compassion for your mother, it’s not easy for her to be carrying you..."
As soon as he finished, a small bulge protruded from Xiaocao's stomach as if in response. This time however, it was much less intense. Zhu Junyang gently rubbed his wife's belly, hoping to relieve her discomfort.
Fortunately, the little one was not a mischievous one. After the two interactions with his father, he calmed down and was quiet. Zhu Junyang quickly finished applying the body oil. He then held his wife in his arms with a gleam in his eyes. "My wife, I heard that except for the first three months and the last three months, as long as we are careful, we can still..."
In Jinling, he had been meticulously caring for his wife in the first trimester of her pregnancy. After the initial three months, he went back to the capital. He was worried that his wife would suffer on the journey, and did not want to trouble her. After returning to the capital, he was thrown into the barracks by the emperor, and had spent a month with a group of rowdy men. After all this time, now that he finally had his beautiful wife by his side, how could he be expected to hold back?
It is said that pregnancy would make one ugly, but that was not true at all for Xiaocao. Instead, because of her nutritious meals and ample rest, her complexion was even more radiant and flawless. There was not even a trace of the tiniest pores, and her skin could be said to be even smoother and more polished than the most luxurious suet jade. Apart from her bulging belly, the biggest change to her body was probably her chest. If there were soup dumplings previously, now, they’ve developed into good-sized meat buns. Zhu Junyang's hand cupped one, and it was just the right...
"Get your hands off me!" Yu Xiaocao slapped her husband away as he started caressing her breasts. Just as she was straightening her clothes, he started caressing and kissing her again. Since she became pregnant, her body had become more sensitive. Soon, she melted under his unrelentless caresses, and gave in to his whims...
On the 30th, Zhu Junyang brought his wife back to Imperial Prince Jing’s Estate. His second brother, Zhu Junxi, had also returned from the border with his fiancée. There was a big and happy reunion as they celebrated the new year.
Looking at her eldest son's family of three... No, they were soon to be a family of four. After more than half a year of treatment, the heir’s wife had finally conceived a second child, only a month later than Xiaocao. In the coming year, the family would have another two little beans. Princess Consort Jing drank a cup of mellow wine and a contented smile spread slowly on her face.
Then, she looked at her second son, who was serving Han Xiaomu somd food. The wedding date for the couple had already been set, and it was to take place in the second month of spring. Her second son had also said that when he returned to the capital to submit his report, he would also apply to remain in the capital. Anyway, the border was currently peaceful, and there wasn’t much for him to do. He would rather be near his mother and carry out his duties as a son.
The youngest son who had worried her the most in recent years had not only married a wife, but was also about to become a father. He also held an important position in the court and was considered to be the most promising one in the family. Turning her gaze to her youngest daughter-in-law, she thought to herself that the transformation in her youngest son all began when they first met. It was said that Yu Xiaocao was a fairy who had descended from heaven— she not only saved the lives of the people, but also gave her Yang’er salvation.
Wasn't she also a beneficiary herself? Without Xiaocao's medicinal prescriptions and years of meticulous care and treatment, her body would never have held out long enough to be able to see her second son and youngest son settle down and start families! And he—she turned her attention to the man who had cherished her her entire life—without her, would he be able to be as energetic and full of life as he was now?
Gazing at the happy family, Princess Consort Jing suddenly felt that her life was complete...Previous Chapter Next Chapter