Sunday, March 31, 2013


Favorite, favorite, favorite day. I imagine my sweet girl having so much fun in heaven on Easter Sunday, and the promise of the day always reminds and reassures that I will see her again because my great and mighty God triumphed over death.

After church we have a big family day with bunches of children (the growing one is grand-baby number ten for my parents), good food, an egg hunt and Birthday Bingo (due to our family's size my mother celebrates all of the birthdays in one go by putting small amounts of money in plastic eggs. We play until everyone has an egg).

J created bubble makers for the kiddos from string and straws

B ponders the egg hunt and his role

Also: look how much weight he's gained!!

And the growing one - 9.5 weeks, hello bump

Thursday, March 28, 2013

birth and trauma

Birth and trauma have been at the forefront of my mind lately. I'm going to try to work through some of the trauma from Charlotte's birth before this next one is born. Although, I feel like I tried that with Bennett's birth and failed miserably.

When Bennett was born I remember hearing Dr. K talking on the other side of the bathroom door. I don't know what exactly he was saying, but I do remember him mentioning that my labor was so long because of post traumatic stress.

I don't really think of myself as having PTSD. The best description I've heard of PTSD was at one of my support group meetings. Let me see if I can distill it here:

As we create memories we put them tidily away in a closet. When we want to revisit a memory, or when something makes us think of a memory, we go to the closet, pull it from its place and remember. With traumatic events all of the related memories get shoved in the closet and we close the door with a slam. When an event triggers one of those memories we don't wander into the closet and gently pull a memory from the shelf. We open the door and the memories all fall out at once, which is why people with PTSD freak the heck out sometimes.

Make sense?

This morning (at 5:30 am!) I should have been sleeping, but was thinking about my storage issues instead. I think I've dealt with the trauma from losing Charlotte. I think I've worked through a lot of it. But I think there's a second closet I haven't sorted yet, and that one is a holy mess. The problem with that closet is that I only go in there when I give birth. When I went into labor with Bennett I threw open the door for the first time since Charlotte died and nearly suffocated under the memories and fear that fell out. While in labor with Bennett I thought I was losing my ever loving mind and it seemed like everyone around me was calmly ignoring the paralyzing fear I was experiencing. Well, not ignoring, but everyone was so sure all was well while all I could think about was Bennett being born then immediately dying.

As I see it, I have seven-ish months to sort that closet out. The midwife I'm seeing recommended a book (Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma) and soon (soon!!) I am going to set up an appointment with my counselor so I can talk with her about it. Honestly, I don't feel very optimistic, but I'm willing to try.

Do you have residual trauma after your loss? How have you dealt with it?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

neat little package tied with a bow

I received a birthday invitation this morning for a sweet boy. That invitation is one of my first signs Charlotte's birthday is coming up. I was pregnant with Charlotte while a good friend of mine was pregnant with that little boy. He was born just over a month before her. When the daffodils bloom and that invitation appears I know May and her birthday is right around the corner.

As Charlotte's third birthday approaches I've been thinking about the shape of my grief, how different it is now from one and two years ago. When I tell people about Charlotte I present it in a way that can make one comfortable. Of course there's always some discomfort, but I can prettify the situation enough that it doesn't have to be awkward.

I no longer drop the words, "My daughter died," and let them sink like a heavy stone until the person I've told is forced to either dive into murky waters for something appropriate to say or walk away with their foot crammed in their mouth. I have a tidy little spiel now about not only Charlotte, but how much my life has changed, and how, interestingly, it's for the better.

The tidy little package isn't a lie, but sometimes I don't want to make the unpalatable truth of life and death easier for people to swallow. I want them to feel uncomfortable for a few moments because I'm still devastated after all this time and I don't get to walk away from the fact of Charlotte's incomplete life; I have the privilege and burden of carrying what could have been - what should have been - with me forever.

This year for her birthday we're going to take B to the zoo if the weather is nice. On her first birthday I wanted people to remember, take notice, do something, but this year I don't feel that pressing need to beg people to remember. Some will. Some won't. It's okay. I'll remember. I'll know I should be hosting a third birthday party on Mother's Day Weekend.

Monday, March 25, 2013


It's been at least five days since B asked for milk. I really think pregnancy and the changes it brings helped move things along, but I'm still proud of us for making it 18 months. I told J I feel a little guilty about not breastfeeding anymore because of B's size, but he's up to 19 lbs now so it looks like he's doing fine without it.

Last night I had peanut butter toast after B went to bed. I've been craving peanut butter, but eating it felt dangerous and made me super nervous. I don't know if I can do it again. I used a plastic knife, washed the plate, cleaned the counter, washed my face and hands, and brushed my teeth, but I still felt like I left a trace somewhere.

I have a long list of things I want to eat now that I can have nuts and eggs again. It's a good thing I'm pregnant, I can pack on a few pounds without worrying about it too much. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) everything I want is a baked good (muffins, cinnamon rolls, cookies) and I don't feel well enough to eat that much sugar. It's become routine to ask if eggs or nuts are in dishes when we get together with friends or go out for dinner, and I've had to turn down every single dessert at every single party for well over a year now. It's going to be strange to eat cake and cupcakes again. One good thing about B's allergies: I can't eat nearly as many sweets as I used to.

After all of the back and forth and the doubts about if it was time to wean B did it on his own schedule. I thought we would go until he was two, but I'm quite comfortable with 18 months. I am a little sad to be finished with that part of our relationship. Nursing helped B slow down a bit and it was the ultimate soother when he was really upset. I was really conflicted about stopping completely, but B - and the new baby - decided it was time. Co-conspirators already!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

that awkward phase

I keep trying to come up with posts that are not pregnancy related, but I got nothing so you're going to have to be patient with my single mindedness.

I'm in that awkward phase where my regular clothes don't fit, but maternity clothes are a bit too much. I have a belly band, but wearing it just irritates me. This pregnancy is exactly like Charlotte's in that having anything too tight on my stomach makes me sick. I'm not nearly as big as I was with Bennett, but I definitely have a little bump.

9 weeks with B

8 and change with this one. I'm not sticking my belly out, I just have bad posture. And that is so totally my girl belly, but I'm still not clear on the gender.

I have maternity jeans from my previous pregnancies, but I don't like any of them. They don't fit me very well at all. This pregnancy I want to buy one pair of jeans that will fit well and be comfortable until the end. Well, until September, then I'll switch over to all yoga pants all the time.

I want a pair of jeans with a full panel, not too much extra room in the rear and thighs (seriously Motherhood Maternity, I don't gain much in that area) and a skinny-ish fit. I don't want TRUE skinny jeans though. And if I pay $70.00 for them J may keel over and I need him standing so he can make me food and clean the house so no designer brands please. I need a personal shopper who can go out and find me the perfect pair of jeans because I can barely move off the couch. Since I don't know where to find one, and don't want to pay one, I'm relying on you. What's your favorite pair of maternity jeans? What brand has the best fit? Right now I'm thinking I'll go with Gap, but I have to buy online if I do that and that makes me nervous.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

have faith

We have a healthy baby! My due date has been pushed back to October 30th, but that's not very surprising. Every pregnancy I say, "This is my date based off of LMP," and then after an early ultrasound is performed I get bumped back a week. Then my babies come "early" at 38 (Charlotte) and 39 (Bennett) weeks. So, let's just agree that this baby will be born sometime in October, okay?

The appointment actually exceeded my expectations. All of that worrying and fretting only to be reassured, consoled and taken care of. After the appointment I realized my thoughts and feelings have shifted from, "Oh dear, oh no, not pregnancy and birth, what was I thinking," to "hey, this may be okay. This may even (fingers crossed) be the best one yet." I could go on and on about how wonderful it all is, but I'm tired so I'll just toss out a few highlights:

- The hospital allows water births!

- The midwife I met with knows my history and is willing to work closely with me so I don't have to shuffle from midwife to midwife to doctor and just hope someone I feel comfortable with is on call when I go into labor.

- I got to see the heart beat on ultrasound! Nice and strong at 160 bpm.

- The midwife I saw gave me her cell phone number so I can speak directly to her if I have any concerns.

It was a lovely appointment. I felt cared for and understood, which I think is so important and necessary after a loss. I'm a little sad to be 8 weeks since it most likely means more morning sickness, but at least baby is healthy!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

how I'm feeling before my first appointment

Tomorrow is my first appointment for this little one (poor third child, I can't think of a cute womb nickname for you). I'm in a terrible mood. I have a bad attitude. I don't want to go for a whole host of reasons: because I feel awful, because the baby will just die before we can bring him or her home, because my babies heartbeats don't register via Doppler before 15 weeks so I won't even know all is well, because this pregnancy sucks. I just want to kick myself and yell, "Get over this whiny phase! You are so lucky, GET UP, stop complaining and thank your lucky stars," but this pregnancy is doing my head in in that special way only pregnancy can and I can't seem to find the darn bootstraps to pull myself up.

Last night I was filling out the medical forms for the new clinic as well as the medical release forms for the clinics I went to for pregnancy #1 and 2. I hate filling out medical forms. Every time I have to write "neonatal death" next to the "have you had a stillbirth or miscarriage?" box I want to scream. Can someone please add neonatal death to the list so I don't have to write it out? 

After writing neonatal death on three different forms I switched over to the medical release forms, which I thought would be easier. While filling out the form from the maternal fetal medicine office I checked "release prenatal records," and "lab work" then stopped. The next box was "autopsy report." I stared at it. Did this office have the autopsy report I wondered? I thought for a moment then remembered going over it with a doctor there. I tapped my pen on the paper. I stared a while longer.

I do not like releasing Charlotte's autopsy records. Even though the report says absolutely nothing of worth, even though there is no truth buried within the pages of medical documentation I do not like people looking at it. It's like they're sifting through her ashes. I'll share her picture and her birth story, but I would like to be the only one who knows the weight of her brain thank you very much. As a parent it is my right to know at least one thing the rest of the world doesn't and in this case that one thing just so happens to be in an autopsy report because the medical examiner looked her over more thoroughly than I - her own mother - did.

I didn't check the box. If asked to provide the records I will, but I don't see why that would be necessary.

So. First appointment tomorrow. And it's spring, which means May is coming. A whole lot of this has to do with that, of course. This is the spring spiral. It only gets worse from here. Say a little prayer for us tomorrow. I think a good strong heartbeat from this little no name embryo would help improve my outlook quite a bit.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

the plan

Bennett is up another pound, so I thought I would take a moment to share what our plan is for him. I'll include the supplements he's taking as well since someone asked what they are. Bennett is 18.5 lbs now. IF we can get him to 20, or 21 pounds, I think I will relax a little. I'm fine with him being small, but he's gaining quickly right now which makes me think he needs a little more weight on him.

Our main focus, of course, is nutrition. Bennett eats when he wants, and a lot of the time he selects his food. I am trying really hard to solve his weight issues without giving him a lifelong food complex. All of my food rule ideas have been put aside for now. I don't schedule his meals (last night he asked for something to eat at bedtime, so we sat him down at the table and let him eat until he was full) and if he doesn't want to eat what's in front of him I let him have something else.

Bennett gets one snack type food a day (either gluten free puffs or a rice cake) but other than that his food is all real, mostly from scratch, and heavy on the calories. Some snack examples: chicken apple sausage cooked in coconut oil, dates, dried fruit, fatten the baby muffins, nitrate free pepperoni, nitrate free bacon, oatmeal with coconut oil, or full fat coconut milk, and dried fruit mixed, sweet potato, waffles. I like to have food prepared in the fridge so it's easy to stick to this plan. That's been difficult since I'm so sick right now, but J does a lot of food prep so I can just heat and serve.

As for supplements, Bennett is taking Silver Fir, four Undas (powerful homeopathics) and Glutamine. Everything he is taking promotes growth and encourages healthy organ function. Bennett is under the care of a pediatric naturopath while taking these supplements. I wouldn't recommend giving a child supplements without consulting a doctor.

I don't know what exactly is helping Bennett grow. Maybe it's a combination of things. I'm just glad it's working. In February, after that nasty flu bout, Bennett was 16.2 pounds. In just over a month he's managed to make it to 18.5 pounds. I don't feel like I can completely relax, but some of the tension and worry is easing.

Saturday, March 16, 2013


For weeks now I've been saying, "I don't feel anxious about this pregnancy. I feel flat, but not anxious. Does feeling flat even make sense? Maybe it's because it's the third?" (Which is just a strange concept I can't begin to wrap my mind around. It's like my mind can't stretch to comprehend THREE when there is clearly only one running around).

People who love me ask if I am going to my counselor, but I say, "Not yet, there's no anxiety, just the flat." But then there are moments when things are not flat, moments when anxiety is obviously present, but I'm still insisting all is fine. There's some part of me that always thinks I don't need help because I'm fine and crying on the couch at two in the morning because I can't stop dry heaving and I'm already starting to have nightmares about birth is totally normal. Goodness, the things I would give up to be rid of the birth trauma that settled in my soul when Charlotte died.

And then last night something happened that made me realize I need to call my counselor soon. (Please don't ask me if I've done it yet, dear ones. I'm working on it. It takes courage, okay?) We went to dinner last night and B ate a small bit of food with mayonnaise on it. As J said, "What's that white stuff!?" I was turning to the diaper bag to pull out the Benadryl. We're getting good at this living with food allergies business. B was fine throughout dinner, pointing out cars and the train that zoomed by, (we went to this local rib place right next to the railroad tracks. B loves it. This town is a toddler dream with a restaurant at the airport as well as one next to the railroad tracks.) but when we wiped his face after dinner we noticed he was breaking out.

We were only a few minutes from our house, but on that short drive I asked B if he was okay no less than twelve times. I also implored him to keep breathing, and when he wouldn't stop rubbing his eyes I told J to pull over so we could make sure he was okay. J pulled into the parking lot of a Safeway and after looking B over declared him fine. I thought B's face was swelling, but it was just the angle of the mirror we use to check on him and the fact that he is gaining weight so his face is fatter than we are used to. When we pulled over I had a brief flash of wondering if this was it. If we would have to call 911. If they would come get B and that would be the last time I would see him alive.

And this is where my counselor would drop words like "irrational" and "illogical." But there is a part of me that can't fathom having two living children. I can't believe I may actually have that so I am waiting to see who is going to disappear on me, and who is going to be the one I get to keep, so to speak, and that circles back around to the flat feeling. There is nothing that tells me this baby is fine. There is a chance this baby will die before I'm willing to let him or her go and I don't want to engage with any of those feelings, or with the possibility of being hurt, so I'm sticking with flat because it seems like the safest place to rest right now.

Friday, March 15, 2013

confessions: baby #3 edition

* Sorry about the pregnancy related posts overload. I've been storing posts up for a few weeks!

The pregnancy app I downloaded says my weight gain thus far is "excessive."

At first my number one craving was cheese. I thought there was a chance baby #3 was on board when I ate Trader Joe's frozen Mac n' Cheese four times in less than a week. I also bought a lovely little group of cheeses at TJs meant for a party or social gathering. It is appropriately named, "it's a crowd cheeser" and I ate most of it (all but the pepper jack).

Eating stresses me out. Nothing sounds good, or it makes me feel sick, or it tastes good, but I can't eat it again. I'm always worrying about what to eat, when to eat, how much to eat. Keeping my stomach happy has been a difficult process.

I didn't plan on breast feeding and gestating. It's exhausting.

I hope Bennett weans before October. And if he could sleep through the night in his crib that would be great, but I have a feeling we'll all be piling in together at night.

If Bennett weans I can have peanut butter (if I'm super careful) which sounds SO good.

I asked J to buy me Honey Nut Cheerios one evening. I ate three handfuls before realizing Honey NUT Cheerios have nuts. I also bought ravioli from Trader Joe's with egg in it. J caught the mistake just as I was readying to prepare it. I cried because I couldn't have it and it was the only thing that sounded good. 

Throwing up in public terrifies me. I've managed to avoid it so far, but it's harder to stay home now that I have Bennett. I carry those bags they give out at hospitals everywhere just in case.

J has been doing everything - house cleaning, laundry, chores, Bennett wrangling, working full time.

I can't wait to be done with the first trimester.

I don't like being pregnant. Love babies, hate the process.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

this time

This pregnancy has been really rough. And I'm only 8 weeks in! Poor B has been running wild while I lay on the couch/bathroom floor/guest bed. My symptoms are worse than my two previous pregnancies and some days I can barely function. I've been sick since the beginning of February, though I didn't register positive on a test until the middle of the month.

B does not like having a sick mama. He cries and tries to climb in my lap when I get sick. The other day he got so upset he ran in the bathroom and dropped the toilet seat on my head while I was vomiting. Sweet boy thought it would make mama stop, but it just made the situation worse (talk about adding insult to injury).

I'm up in the air regarding a care provider for this pregnancy. The people I had in place last time are not available to me so I am trying to figure out who I would like to see/which hospital we would like to birth at. I have my first appointment with a group of midwives at a hospital about an hour away next week. I hope I love them and won't have to figure something else out. The midwife I am scheduled to see used to work where Charlotte was born so she knows my history (read: baggage). It's so strange to be this far along without an appointment or ultrasound.

I don't feel very anxious about this pregnancy. Probably because I'm too busy crying about how awful I feel. I have never shed so many tears over morning sickness. Yay, hormones! This is the first pregnancy where the gender isn't already clear to me. I knew with Charlotte and Bennett, but this time I haven't a clue. Honestly, it feels like a boy AND girl in there, but that's just because my boy and girl symptoms are all mixed together this time. I'm leaning towards girl, but that's what my heart aches for so who really knows how much logic and truth there is to that prediction.

Belly wise, I have the infamous first trimester bloat going on. I'm showing a tiny bit, but most of it is due to food. When I feel well enough to eat I cram it in.

J has been trying really hard to alleviate my symptoms. Something is working, I think, because I don't feel as bad and the vomiting has slowed. J is really excited. I'm still in the first trimester what was I thinking my 18 month old cries when I do and slams the toilet seat on my head to make me stop vomiting whose idea was this I'm a bad mama phase.

I will be blogging a lot about this pregnancy. I hope it's not a trigger for anyone. I've come to a place where this blog is about me and my life. While that includes loss and Charlotte, of course, it also includes life in general. I hope everyone is comfortable here. I'm so excited to share our journey to rainbow #2 with you.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


B has been in the kitchen for a while now doing something. I'm not sure what, but it's not very loud and he's very content so I'm going to let him do whatever it is. I *think* he's playing with his ride-on toy, or maybe that's just what I want to believe.

I dip my fries in salt. Not ketchup, salt.

"Wheels on the Bus" - the Raffi version - has been on repeat for an hour. If I don't have it on all the time B begs for it, which gets on my nerves more than listening to it three thousand times every day. It is cute how he asks for it by circling his arms awkwardly around each other, and I do love watching him do all the motions, but goodness B can't you fall in love with a different song?

I haven't done laundry for DAYS. I have somewhere around six loads to do, possibly more.

If we had our laundry facilities on the main floor I would absolutely do laundry more often.

I've started checking out books for B from the library so I can return them when I get bored. The ones at home he is obsessed with "disappear" every now and again.

I'm going to have to cut this one short. B is melting down because I won't let him play with the computer. Even "Wheels on the Bus" isn't distracting him.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


B packed on a whole pound between that nasty flu bout and his weigh in on Thursday! For the first time that I can recall he actually has a little bit of excess on him. Little bits of chunk on his thighs and quite a tummy. Here is his most recent growth chart:

We still have a long ways to go, but he is doing well height wise. Now we just need to bump that second dot up a little bit more (that's his weight) and I think everyone will be happy. I know some of the credit may be due to the supplements the naturopath gave us, but I'm giving most of it to me and the muffins I created.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

favorite project (so far)

When I saw this project on Pinterest I told J he had to make it for me. B loves to help in the kitchen, but I don't have a safe, secure place for him. (Which is why he has tumbled off a kitchen chair a time or two). I love it, and so does B judging by the fit he threw when J removed him this evening after a short exploration.

J even took the time to make the tower fold. The seat pops out and we can fold it up and store it out of the way.

The Little Helper Stand is from the brilliant Ana White. J altered it a bit, but the original plans are from her website. J has to put a clear coat on and add a second slightly higher seat so B can sit at the counter if he likes, but it's almost done! 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

this season

is a crazy one. I haven't had time to sit down and write for a while. B has upped the sleep issues, if you can believe it. He will not nap without being held, and nights are super rough. Instead of worrying about where I've gone wrong or when this is going to end I'm accepting it as what he needs and letting it be that simple. I'm using the long nap times to read and rest and let B sleep as he needs to. I hope to be back to a more consistent blogging schedule soon. Trying to find the time to blog is difficult and stressful so I'm going to let it be until I once again reach that place where writing must happen. This season is tough, but it's sweet too.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

the good life

Before I had kids I would stare at my friends in amazement when their little one said, "mmab ka snawa" and they would respond, "You want a sandwich? Sure!" Every now and then I can understand someone else's kid, but most of the time when they are first learning to talk my response is, "I don't know, ask your mama."

When B was really sick with the flu I sat up night after night with him. One night I was holding him in our bed right after he threw up. He looked up at me and said, "Mama, water." I know he didn't speak it that clearly. I know water comes out more like wawa when B says it, but in that moment I understood how mothers and fathers know what their children are saying. There's some magical connection that makes it so we clearly hear what our children are saying, even when the words are jumbled, and possibly made up.

It doesn't work perfectly, (Example: It took me a few days to understand that the crazy hand signals B was constantly throwing out meant he wanted to listen to "Wheels on the Bus.") but most of the time I know what B is asking for, or telling me.

I think observing language development is one of my favorite things about raising a little one. B is in that stage where each day a new word pops up and it's fun to watch him try new sounds. He has a large chunk of words and is starting to string them together. B is also big on animal sounds right now, and of course the moon is still a favorite. He's been into planes and birds since we went to Hawaii, and every day something new and exciting interests him. In six days he will be eighteen months. I think that calls for a newborn picture.

And from this morning:

This is the good life. It's not the easy one I imagined, but it's good. And very, very sweet.

Friday, March 1, 2013

sometimes you just have to go

I always thought I wouldn't mind staying at home day in, day out. I'm always been a bit of a homebody. But then I had a baby who likes to go, go, go. Every day he begs for the out of doors and long walks around the neighborhood. When B had the flu he was so full of cabin fever he nearly lost his mind.

We planned a day out up North with grandma today, but when she woke up sick (poor grandma!) we decided to head out anyway. I knew B would not want to stay at home, even though I did, and I didn't want to take him somewhere local like Friday story time because it's always so crowded.

B and I drove up I-5, B's favorite - Adele - playing as loudly as toddler ears can stand. We stopped at the mill for bulk gluten free flour, then hit up H&M. Every few months I buy a few things for B at H&M. His clothes are almost exclusively hand me downs from our neighbor and consignment store finds, but I can't resist hitting up H&M every four or so months.

I also went to Forever 21 because I've always thought about it, but haven't found the courage. Do you have stores like that? Ones that intrigue you, but seem too young (I am far from 21) or trendy? I was so sloppily dressed I thought they may kick me out, but I didn't encounter any sales people while I was in the vast building and when I bought a shirt (I can't believe I found something!) the cashier was more than happy to take my money. Now I have to tell you, I've always wanted to shop at Forever 21 because these fashion bloggers I follow (who I can't stand with the posing and the hair and the always looking down but I can't seem to stop reading) shop there like it's a religion, but I don't think I'll go back.

Now that we have that lame confession out of the way let me ask you a question: Do you buy a ton of clothing for your kids? Do you feel guilty buying clothes for your kids? I love shopping for B, but I force myself to shop almost exclusively at consignment stores because I love clothes. We have a clothes budget in place for this very reason - so I can buy without feeling guilty - but I still feel a little twinge every time I buy something new because I know bargains can be found.

After we shopped I let B run around the indoor play place for a while. It was mostly empty and the only other adults were male. I guess it was dad/grandpa day at the mall. There was a little girl running around named Charlotte. When she booted B down the slide (her dad was playing games on his phone off to the side) I had the very unkind thought that my Charlotte would have been better behaved. I would absolutely not let her kick a smaller child - or any child - down the slide simply because he was going too slow. B just shrugged it off. Things like that don't phase him, even though they leave me steaming.

It was nice to get out of the house today - as soon as I backed out of our parking space at the mall B fell asleep - and it was fun hanging out with my little guy. That's something no one told me - how fun having a kid is. I heard lots of sleep deprivation and hardest job you'll ever do comments, but no one told me sitting in a mall food court while my son claps his hands to the music and grins at me would be the best days of my life.


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