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Category Archives: Pregnancy

George Makes His Grand Entrance…aka…Our Birth Story

George is exactly one month and one day old today…and it has flown by.

I’m taking advantage of one of his rare naps to tell you the story of his birth. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not rare for him to nap – he does it all the time – it’s just rare that he’ll let me put him down. It’s also quite rare that I don’t really have anything else to o while he’s napping, but today I have managed to get showered and dressed, brush my teeth, eat breakfast AND lunch, and drink enough water (okay, tea). I’ve also found time to give Luke a hand with the housework, so I don’t feel quite so bad about sitting down at my laptop and getting some writing done.

So, in my last post as a pregnant woman I told you that I was in the hospital being induced because of my pre-eclampsia. I was in slow-labour anyway, but I’d still had to have the pessary to begin thinning my cervix (a lovely image for a Monday evening). I had wanted to avoid it but the midwives were concerned that I wasn’t progressing quickly enough and that they needed to help me along. In hindsight I kind of wish that I had refused them, but they did that thing where they worded it as if I didn’t have a choice. I knew that I had the choice, but in my vulnerable state I just went along with what they were saying, worried for the health of me and my baby. If I could do it again I would ask them what the outcome of NOT having the pessary would have been,

So, at 11.45am they inserted the pessary and then left things to develop. They put it behind your cervix so it was pretty uncomfortable, and it actually took a lot longer to put in place than I expected, but it was bearable. You have to lie still for half an hour after it’s put in to stop it from just falling straight out, but I hadn’t taken note of the time so I lay there for over an hour worrying that if I moved I’d have to go through all that again.

Luke had already gone home, so once I could move again I spent the afternoon listening to the radio and colouring a mandala in until he came back to keep me company.

I can’t remember when my contractions started, but they began as hot stretching feelings in my lower back, and as the day progressed they started to feel like an odd pressure in my bottom…almost as if I really needed a poo. They weren’t really painful, more uncomfortable, even when they started to become more regular – not at first anyway. Very quickly it got to the point where I was getting three minute-long contractions every ten minutes and I had to really concentrate on my hyponobirthing techniques to control the pain. I was breathing deep and steady, imagining a dial and mentally “turning down” the pain, thinking the words numb and comfortable (numbfortable) .We tried going for short walks up and down the corridors but, after three hours of terrified non-sleep the night before, I was utterly exhausted and felt like I just needed to lie down and try to get a bit of rest.

…except that REALLY wasn’t happening.

Contractions aside (and it was probably going to be impossible to sleep through those anyway), there was a completely obnoxious family on the same ward as me. The mother was awaiting a c-section, and her husband and two-year old were sitting with her…well sort of. The child was screaming blue-murder whilst running around the ward, and the father employing his (VERY LOUD) voice to encourage the little one and laugh at him in-between (VERY LOUD) phone conversations. I’m not entirely sure what the mother was doing as I was lying with my curtains closed, trying to relax, but just getting more and more wound up with each shriek and booming laugh. Luke went out to complain to the midwives twice, and eventually they were asked to take their loudness away from the antenatal ward.

Now, I know that children make noise and that you can’t use reason to get them to be quiet, but you can remove them from situations where their noise isn’t appropriate. An antenatal ward where women are in the early stages of labour is not the best place for a small child to be screaming. It also isn’t the best place for you to hold telephone conversations in a booming voice.

I was majorly upset by the time they were removed from the ward. It was fast approaching the time that Luke would have to leave for the night, and I’d completely missed any chance for the rest that I needed. By this point the pressure of my contractions was getting to be unbearable. I kept thinking that if I could only do a poo (or maybe throw up) I would feel SO much better, and so I made numerous trips to the bathroom where I sat on the loo and cried because I just couldn’t get any relief. I was hot and cold all at the same time and ended up in bed in my coat, feeling like I was coming down with the worst case of flu…it was a pretty hideous time. I hated it.

At ten Luke had to leave the ward and so I lay alone, trying to dial down my pain (numb and comfortable…numb and comfortable) and failing miserably. He hadn’t long been gone when I decided to make one more pointless trip to the toilet, but when I rolled over in bed I felt a big POP and my waters broke quite spectacularly. I carried on in my quest for the bathroom, convinced that I just needed to poo and when I got there I was sick. Exorcist style sick. I was the embodiment of glamour and grace. Not.

I don’t remember things too clearly from that point on really. I know that things happened but I’m not too hot on details. It was 11pm…I sent Luke a text asking him to come back…I was put on a monitor and they saw that the baby’s heartbeat was dropping with each contraction…they wheeled me through to the delivery suite on my bed where I met a wonderful midwife called Yvonne…the baby had to have a clip attached to his head so they could monitor his heartbeat more effectively…I was offered gas and air…my contractions were like my body was being ripped in half…I breathed entonox continuously for four hours whilst swearing profusely at anyone who suggested I take a break from it…I talked a lot of rubbish (due to being high as a kite) and tried to imagine I was off my face in a tent at a festival, rather than on a hospital bed in a depressing delivery room…

…and then I pushed…but I was only 6 cms dilated so I was told NOT TO PUSH.

I couldn’t help it though, there was nothing I could do. It was like trying to stop yourself from being sick. You don’t want to do it but you know it’s going to happen and your body just takes over and OH MY GOD I was pushing again. I had sworn that I didn’t want an epidural, and it was on all of my birth plans but I found myself begging for one, just so that I wouldn’t push anymore.

And so I had an epidural. It wasn’t scary and I didn’t worry about it at all, hell, I didn’t even feel it because I was sucking on the entonox mouthpiece like my life depended on it.

The epidural didn’t really work properly for me at first. The anaesthetist put the test dose in (which I shouldn’t have been able to feel) and it made my left leg feel numb and heavy. She was confused and didn’t want to give me a proper dose, so for a few hours I had a weird lopsided feeling as my left side did what it was supposed to, and my right side felt far less numb. After a while the contraction pain and the need to push would start to make itself known – but only on my right hand side – and so she’d give me a mini top-up that’d last for an hour or so. In the end she decided to give me a proper dose and then everything went numb. It was great, but suddenly I was fully dilated and it was time to push…

…and I couldn’t feel a damn thing.

I tried and I tried to push…they even gave me a syntocinon drip (man-made oxytocin) to make my contractions more effective and help me to push, but it just wasn’t happening. The registrar came in and gave me half an hour more to push before they took me to theatre. The plan was to give me a spinal (because the epidural wasn’t working on both sides) and attempt delivery via forceps or ventouse, and if those didn’t work they would do a c-section. I did not want any of those things and I was terrified for the baby and for myself, but he was back to back, in completely the wrong position and he was not going to come out on his own. I was exhausted and I just couldn’t do it anymore.

Predictably, they couldn’t move the baby using forceps or ventouse, and I couldn’t feel to push to help them move him down, so I was told they needed to perform a section. I had resigned myself to it. I had known from the moment I left the delivery room to go to theatre that they would be doing it, but it didn’t stop my fear and I shook uncontrollably throughout the whole procedure, despite trying to relax myself using the techniques I’d learnt. Luke was right there beside me, and the staff were amazing, but I was so worried, so scared, so tired…

I had nothing to be worried or scared about. There was no pain, and all I felt was a lot of pushing, pulling and tugging as they pulled the baby back up into my uterus and then pushed him out of the tiny hole that they’d cut (seriously, looking at my scar now I have NO idea how they got him out of such a small incision), and then the surgeon was thrusting a small vernix-covered bottom over the screen and telling us we had a boy, and then George was crying (a tiny reedy sound) and I was crying and Luke was crying…

…and suddenly we were a family.


I plan to write about the aftermath of my c-section soon…I’ve gone on for far too long for one post already 🙂

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2015 in Baby, Life, Parenting, Pregnancy

 

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40 Weeks Midwife Appointment…

I’m now 3 days past my due date and feeling LARGE…

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I had a home visit yesterday from Carol, my midwife, who brought along a student MW too.

…baby is most of the way engaged, and does appear to have moved into a more favourable Occiput Anterior position though, which is great news!

What wasn’t great news was that my urine had protein in it again. It was just one + but enough for Carol to worry so it was off to hospital again for me last night. I wasn’t worried because I knew I hadn’t drunk enough again.

After a long wait, I finally saw the midwife, did another urine sample, had some blood tests taken and my blood pressure read. My blood pressure was a little higher but not worryingly, so I sat waiting patiently for her to come back and tell me my urine was fine.

How naive of me…my protein was ++ by this point.

I tried to be positive and asked if it might be a UTI…it was a possibility but the midwife didn’t think so. Sure enough, when my blood tests came back I was told that I have mild pre-eclampsia.

So here I am, back in hospital this morning to be induced.

I really didn’t want intervention of this kind but I had told myself that I would do whatever needed to be done for the health of our baby. I asked for a sweep and to be induced on Friday to give natural labour a chance, but they didn’t have room for me so it had to be today.

I had been worried that the sweep would be painful, but it ended up being less uncomfortable than a smear. A pleasant surprise amidst the worry. The midwife told me that I was a centimetre dilated so that was quite encouraging, but it was still quite thick so not as encouraging as it could have been.

I was quite calm and resigned to it at the day centre last night, but as the evening wore on I found myself getting more and more tense. I didn’t sleep well/much and I woke up feeling sick with nerves, gutted that labour hadn’t started naturally after the sweep (along with a hot curry, a walk and an hour of bouncing on the swiss ball).

So here I am!

I was actually in slow labour when I got here so I’m still hopeful that I might avoid the hormone drip. All I can do is wait and see…

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2015 in Baby, Life, Pregnancy

 

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One of the Hardest Things About Pregnancy…

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…is trying to pee into one of these effing things when you have a bladder the size of a thimble and what I can only describe as “variable flow”…

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2015 in Life, Pregnancy

 

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Due Date…

So, our baby was due today. He’s got half an hour to make an appearance so that’s totally not happening. But I knew he wouldn’t arrive today…only 4% (ish) of babies are born on their due dates – this is why I think a due date is ridiculous; we’d be better off being told a due week/month.

Despite that, I have been trying hard to influence him out of his cosy space by walking, bouncing on my swiss ball, doing pelvic wriggly actions…I even thought things were starting last night, but here I am, still pregnant.

I just can’t wait to meet him. I want to hold him in my arms and see what he looks like. I still don’t really believe that he’s in there, that I’m going to be a mother in a matter of days…I can’t wait for it to be a reality.

There’s lots of other things I can’t wait for either…

I can’t wait to lie on my stomach again (and my back for that matter)…

I can’t wait to fall asleep without waking myself (and my husband) up snoring…

…or because I’m drowning in a puddle of drool…

I can’t wait for my ankles/legs/hands to be a normal non-swollen size…to get my wedding ring back on, to be able to kneel on the floor without making dents in my knees, to put on a pair of shoes that aren’t Primark men’s flip flops…

I can’t wait for my SPD to be gone so I can walk and bend without being in agony…

I can’t wait to be able to do things around the house without wanting to cry because I just want to lie down…

I can’t wait to eat brie, or pate, or have a bottle glass of wine…

…I have enjoyed being pregnant (even though I may seem to be on a massive moanathon right now) but it’s been a difficult 9 months…far more difficult than I imagined it would be. I knew the downsides of it but I naively thought that I’d be one of the lucky ones who sailed through feeling glowy and beautiful. It’s not been like that at all, but the important thing is that, no matter what changes I’ve gone through or “issues” I’ve had, the outcome will still be the same. He will be here soon.

And I cant wait…

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2015 in Life, Pregnancy

 

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Right Occiput Posterior…

I’ve not updated in the past few days as I’ve been suffering with a trapped nerve in my right hip and generally feeling sorry for myself. Poor me.

Today we had a midwife appointment with Alice (a lady I saw a few weeks ago) to check on my blood pressure and urine. All was well (yippee!) and my ankles looked almost normal (yes, both of them!) but I had a huge dent in my calf where I’d hooked my leg around the chair leg so it was clear for us all to see that I am still MASSIVELY swollen. Great.

Nevermind that though. The main disappointment of the appointment was when I got up on the bed so Alice could check the baby’s heartbeat. She found it easily (and it was strong) but then she pointed out that although he is head down, he’s not in the ideal position for birth.

image taken from www.mumzcareplus.com

(Image from Mumzcareplus)

The best way for him to be is head down with his back to my front (OA), but our little one has his back on my right hand side, his feet on my left, and he’s sort of facing to the front (ROP). None of the other midwives have mentioned it before, but according to Alice, this is a problem.

I got given homework…

“What kind of kitchen floor do you have?” She asked…

“Hard tile,” I replied, knowing what was coming next…

“Ok,” she said “you’re going to scrub your kitchen floor.”

…because being on all fours and swishing your pelvis about is the best way to get your baby into the right position for birth. I know this, because this is what Nicki, my yoga teacher, told me I should be doing EVERY DAY in the third trimester (cat and cow pose).

…and I haven’t been doing it.

Nicki also told me to lie exclusively on my left side for optimal birth position. Which I do!…when I’m asleep. But when I’m watching TV I like to lie on my right side so I can feel the baby kick. Yes, I’m an idiot. I admitted this in my appointment.

Alice slapped my hand and Luke gave me a look (the “I’ve been telling you so” look).

So, I’ll be scrubbing the kitchen floor (in knee pads because of my swollen knees) and catting and cowing all over the place.

I actually did a little bit of all-fours-pelvic-wiggling on the bed this afternoon (I was alone before you get all smutty-minded) and can already feel that the Mini one has started to turn. Now I just have to keep doing it and hopefully he’ll stay in the right position.

Keep your fingers (and toes and eyes) crossed for me…

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2015 in Baby, Life, Pregnancy

 

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Birth Plan(s)…

There’s lots of discussion on the internet on birth forums about whether or not you should “bother” writing a birth plan. Everyone has their own opinion, some of which are quite forthright and abrupt. I’ve seen women making statements such as…

“…I’d rather just see what happens when I get there…”

“…why try to control and uncontrollable situation…”

“…you’re setting yourself up for failure and upset if your birth doesn’t follow your plan…”

“…the midwives and doctors know what they’re doing, writing a birth plan is acting like you know better than they do…”

“…no-one will read it anyway…”

“…I’m having a c-section so I’m not going to bother writing one…”

My response to all that?…an incredulous “Really?!”

…followed by…

  • If you wait and see what happens when you get there you will be going in unprepared for the options you actually have…
  • There is a difference between trying to control something, and preparing for something
  • You’re only setting yourself up for failure if you write a rigid set of rules that your labour MUST follow for you to be happy – that’s not a birth plan, that’s an exercise in futility…
  • Yes, midwives and doctors know what they’re doing (and I should bloody well hope so!) but they may also want to get your labour done with quickly, not because it’s the best for you, but because it’s the best for them
  • No-one has to read your plan. The sheer act of writing it helps you to be aware of your options so you know what you want to ask for and what you would prefer to refuse – and no-one can do anything to you without your consent…
  • You might be having a c-section, but you still have options and it’s perfectly fine to have a plan for a caesarean too...

The way I see it is that by writing your birth plan you’re giving yourself the opportunity to look into all the options you have for your birth, to research them, and to decide which ones you’d prefer to take advantage of IF your situation allows. It can also be a really good way to set out the things you’d like should emergencies happen.

When it comes down to it, your birth plan can be as simple as:

  • I want my husband in the room
  • I do NOT want an epidural

Or, if you’re anything like me, it can be LONG…

I am a control freak. I know this. I want to know all of the possible eventualities and I want to plan for all of them. I don’t want to be offered something that I know nothing about…I mean, how can I make an informed decision about being induced if I’ve never looked into what one involves?…I want a natural birth, but if I have to have a c-section, how will I know what to ask for during/after surgery if I’ve never even considered it?

I am a control freak, yes, but I’m also a realist. I’m not writing ONE birth plan as a set of rules to be followed, oh no, I’m writing SEVERAL birth plans so that my preferred options are set out in writing for whatever may happen.

If we get to stay in the birth centre the whole time, great! If we have to be moved to the labour ward, that’s fine! If I have to have a c-section, well it’s not ideal but I’ve planned for that too!

For those of you who are interested, my *current* birth plans are listed below (I am going to go through them with my midwife on Saturday and get her opinion so they may well change). I’d be really interested to hear other people’s plans for birth and I’m happy to discuss any of my choices with anyone who wants to know more about why I’ve chosen certain things.


Birth Plan – Midwife Led Unit

Birth Partner: my husband, Luke

  • I would like to use a birthing pool if one is available

  • I prefer as few people around me as possible

  • I am preparing for birth using Natal Hypnotherapy and would like a quiet, relaxed calm birth environment

  • During labour I would like:

    • As little monitoring as possible

    • No vaginal examinations unless necessary

    • Do not break my waters unless labour slows and not with my/Luke’s consent

    • I want to push when my body tells me to, and in an upright position

    • I prefer to tear than be cut, and do not want an episiotomy unless in an emergency and not without my/Luke’s consent

  • After birth I would like:

    • skin-to-skin contact with my baby (or failing that, skin-to-skin with Luke)

    • delayed cord clamping until it has stopped pulsating

  • Please use the umbilical cord tie that I have in place of a clamp if possible

  • Natural delivery of the placenta if possible

  • I would like my baby to receive Vitamin K by ORAL dose


Birth Plan – Labour Ward

Birth Partner: my husband, Luke

  • As few people as possible around me

  • I am preparing for birth using Natal Hypnotherapy and would like a quiet, relaxed calm birth environment

    • dimmed lights

    • my own music

    • as little interruption as possible

  • During labour I would like:

    • To remain active if possible

    • Intermittent/wireless monitoring to allow me to be mobile

    • No vaginal examinations unless necessary

    • Do not break my waters unless labour slows and not with my/Luke’s consent

    • Ventouse only in an emergency and never without my/Luke’s consent – I would prefer not to use forceps if possible

    • I prefer to tear rather than be cut

      • Episiotomy only in an emergency, and never without my/Luke’s consent

    • Pain relief: Entonox only – spinal block in an emergency – no pethidine or epidural

    • I prefer to stay hydrated by drinking rather than via IV

    • I want to be upright during pushing stage and let my body tell me when to push if possible

    • Please set up the resuscitation equipment as close to me as is sensible, so that the cord can remain intact if possible

  • After birth:

    • Immediate skin-to-skin with myself or Luke

    • Delayed cord clamping until the cord has stopped pulsating

    • No bathing of baby

  • Please use the umbilical cord tie that I have in place of a clamp if possible

  • Natural delivery of the placenta if possible

  • I would like my baby to receive Vitamin K by ORAL dose

In case of being induced:

  • Intermittent/wireless monitoring to allow me to be mobile

  • I prefer to give birth in an upright position/on all fours


Birth Plan – In Case of C-Section

Birth Partner: my husband, Luke

  • Delay clamping and cutting the cord if possible

  • Baby to be lifted onto my chest immediately after birth

  • If I cannot be conscious, please give the baby to Luke for skin-to-skin immediately after birth if possible

  • Please administer a vaginal swab to give baby microbiomes

  • All post-birth procedures (e.g. cleaning and weighing) to be delayed until Luke and I are ready

  • I would like my baby to receive Vitamin K by ORAL dose

In the Event of Medical Separation of Baby and I

  • No bathing baby

  • Luke to stay with baby unless there is an emergency

  • Do not give baby glucose or formula without my/Luke’s express consent

  • If baby must be fed please hand express from me and spoon/syringe feel baby

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2015 in Baby, Life, Lists, Parenting, Plans, Pregnancy

 

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39 Weeks…

So, yesterday was the start of my 39th week of pregnancy.

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Today was actually the first due date I was given, but then after our 12 week dating scan they pushed it back to the 7th. I’m still kind of hoping that he might decide to come today (or at least start his journey) whilst also panicking about it.

I’m not sure if I’ve said already but I’m starting to liken this whole pregnancy thing to queuing for a popular rollercoaster on a busy day. You spend hours being excited and scared (but in a good way), and getting impatient with all the waiting…then you start to feel a bit uncomfortable and like you could do with a bit of a sit down (okay, a LOT of a sit down). All of a sudden, the wait is over and you’re the next person into the car, and you start to panic and wonder if it’s too late to run for the exit.

It’s terrifying, but I also can’t wait. I’m bouncing on my swiss ball as I type this. And I’m finally starting to get my head round the fact that there is actually a baby in that big massive belly of mine…

…on Sunday night he was pushing a foot out on my right hand side, which was kind of freaky. I pushed it back in and he immediately stuck it out again…and so we started our first game together. I think he was enjoying my giggling too.

So…39 weeks, and where am I now?…

Well, my belly button is STILL an innie (hooray!), but I think that’s because of the chub/swelling. If I didn’t have so much padding it’d totally be out and making itself known.

I’m incredibly swollen. We’re talking EVERYWHERE here. I get up in the morning and my legs (especially the left one) look normal but if I press on my shin for a few seconds I leave a monumental dent, which goes to show that I’ve been swollen for so long that I can’t remember what “normal” is anymore.

None (NONE) of my shoes fit me anymore. I’ve been reduced to wearing a pair of men’s flip flops from Primark. Not that it matters because I can’t walk that far anyway.

My SPD is getting worse all the time (the reason for my not being able to walk far) and I can’t do anything that involves leaning forwards. I still do bits of washing up and emptying the dishwasher etc, but it’s agony within seconds. When we do get out of the house I have to try to tuck my tailbone under as I walk to stop the dreaded pelvic aching, and I walk at about a fifth of my normal speed (frustrating for me and Luke).

I am VERY breathless most of the time, which I think is a combination of being very unfit and having a baby squashing my lungs. I’m looking forward to the “lightening” feeling that I’ve been promised. It’d be nice to be able to breathe and eat a proper sized meal.

My snoring has become epically bad. I can’t even describe it. And the drool…oh my god the drool. I have taken to sleepingon a flannel because at least that way I can swap it out halfway through the night and don’t have to sleep on a soggy pillow…

But! It’s not all bad! I can still get in and out if the bath on my own, and I’m quite proud that at 39 weeks, with all this swelling AND the five and a half stone I’ve put on, I can still shave my own legs and bikini line.

I’ve also stopped putting weight on (FINALLY), which I think can be put down to two factors…1) I can’t eat more than a few bites of something and then I’m full for HOURS, and 2) dragging my huge self around burns a buttload of calories.

Weirdly, I’m sleeping far better (we’re talking like THREE HOURS in a row here) and peeing in the night far less. It must be the way the baby is lying but I’m not going to question it too much. I’ve had three nights of *almost* normal sleep and I’m enjoying it while it lasts.

These may all be small victories, but they’re victories nonetheless. And I’m celebrating them!

As for signs of labour, well I’m getting LOADS of Braxton Hicks and crampy period pains, as well as those weird back contractions. I’ve had a few of those that have gone all up my spine and into my scalp, and they’ve been quite unbearable. I also had what I think was a proper contraction yesterday: it started in my back, spread across my belly, and felt a little like the gripping feeling you get when you have a dodgy tummy…but I’m not going to let any of it trick me into thinking anything is actually happening.

I clearly have a body that likes to practice a LOT before the main event…

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2015 in Baby, Life, Pregnancy

 

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