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Journey To the Finish Line

PR's, 4 children, hopes and dreams; I'm always running after something

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twin pregnancy

Dear Babies

Dear Babies,

Tomorrow is your eviction birth day. I say eviction because it sounds funny but in reality am still so glad we made it to full term…and some beyond! To be honest I’m not sure the reality has sunk in yet. I can’t believe  that you will both be here in less than 24 hours. That we will be holding, feeding (well I’ll be attempting feeding) and snuggling the both of you. That you’ll have a line of family and friends waiting to visit you. That today is the last day it will feel like aliens in my tummy. The last day of hiccups. The last day watching my stomach move. Even this morning I looked at my reflection in the mirror with my big belly where you are both living, and stared at it in wonder for awhile.

I get asked all the time if I/we are ready. Even after 3 years of infertility I can’t definitively answer that question. As soon to be new parents we only know whats in store in theory. I’m sure there will be thousands of both challenges and rewards to come parenting twins. The reality is that we’re as ready as we’re gonna be – and I think that is ok.

I can tell you both a few things for sure. I can tell you that I’ve dreamt about your birth day for the last 3 years. I’ve imagined first kisses, first cries, first snuggles with daddy. I’ve imagined comforting you both when you cry, and I’ve imagined crying with you when I can’t figure out WHY you’re both crying. (Hey I’m a realist here) I’ve imagined laughing when I’ve been peed on for the 10th time in one day. Or maybe crying. I guess it just depends on how that day went otherwise. I’ve imagined first smiles. And because I’m a total nerd, I’ve imagined our first jogging expedition as the three of us, hoping you’ll both enjoy it as much as I do. I’ve imagined Bryan as a daddy – taking care of you, playing with you, taking you both on outings. I’ve imagined both of your personalities and wonder who will be most like me and who will be most like Bryan.  Even though I’m admittedly nervous I imagine all of that and deep down I know that even though we’ll often feel overwhelmed we will be ok. We will be a family.

Tomorrow marks what will probably be the most life changing day the both of us will ever experience. We can’t wait to meet the both of you – our two children who have been present and living in our hearts for the past 3+ years. The ones who made the difficult journey worthwhile. The ones that are absolutely worth the wait.

See you tomorrow.

Love,

Mommy (and Daddy)

 

photo

Nearing the Finish Line

When I first started this blog I sat for a long time trying to figure out an appropriate name, particularly because the point was to blog both about the marathon I was training for and the long road down infertility lane.

A race ends when you cross the finish line.  Our journey through the murkiness of infertility would be over when we crossed the finish line: bringing home a baby. Over the years I’ve learned that neither is quite that simple. Yes,  a race is over when  you cross the finish line but there is always more to learn and do to do better on the next one. Similarly, there is no real finish line to infertility – baby in the end or not. It’s something that stays with you always.

Four days – almost exactly- from now, we will meet our babies. The ones that, from start to finish, we have waited almost 4 years to meet. It feels very surreal. It also means the end, or the finish line, of the pregnancy – something I’ve found I have very mixed feelings about.

Finding out we were expecting twins I went into this knowing there is a good chance this will be my only pregnancy and in a way this makes me sad. Perhaps later down the road we will decide to try again, but for now two seems a good number and I in no way shape or form desire going through the ups and downs of the treatment process again – available frozen embryos or not. I actually think I’d like to donate them, but that’s a topic for another day.

My pregnancy, particularly for a twin pregnancy has been…..well….pretty easy. Aside from the few partially self induced scares surrounding all the Braxton Hicks contractions, it has been pretty free of complications and all in all mild discomfort. This isn’t to say I’ve enjoyed EVERY second, for example:

I won’t miss purchasing witch hazel wipes and other related products. Though I did feel less embarrassed about it given the belly.

I won’t miss taking a daily pill to keep me from vomiting thanks to reflux, and I won’t miss having to drink Miralax every morning to keep my digestive system moving.

I won’t miss hitting everything with my stomach. Well maybe a little – because it is kinda funny.

I won’t miss not being able to find a comfortable position to sleep in for more than 30-60 minutes. Though my sleep is soon to be interrupted for a totally different reason.

I won’t miss not being able to exercise.

I say that knowing that many of you out there might be reading this and thinking you’d give your left foot for vomit and an inability to sleep. I get that because I’ve thought it too. I want it to be understood that this list is not meant as a list of complaints. I always have and continue to feel amazed and blessed that I was able to experience it at all. Heck I may even find that I DO miss it a little. I’m just saying that I’m sorry but NO journey comes without some discomfort, regardless of what it is.

I’m pretty sure though, that when I think back on this pregnancy I won’t be thinking of the above list much anyway. I’ll be thinking of all the belly dance parties, watching it grow while wondering how it could possibly get any bigger (and it always did), the ultrasounds to check growth, hearing the heartbeats. I’ll be thinking about all the compliments I’ve received about how cute I look and how I don’t look pregnant from behind. I’ll be thinking about Bryan talking to my belly at night before bedtime telling the babies how excited he is to meet them. I’ll be thinking about the weekly pictures we took, the beautiful maternity photos, the fabulous baby showers and sharing the news, story and journey with everyone along the way.

I am very excited to meet these babies in 4 days, but a part of me will grieve the end of the pregnancy a little. I’m determined to enjoy these last 4 days as a human incubator (albeit a huge one) as much as possible. To stop and really feel when they move, take a few more pictures, eat a few more desserts. Like nearing the end of the marathon where the finish line is starting to come into view I feel simultaneously excited and sad. Excited to see the finish because it means all the determination paid off….and because everything hurts. Sad because its the end of another journey.

It is bittersweet. With races I sometimes look at the medals and remember them fondly. The same to be with pictures and memories of this pregnancy. The good thing, though, is that in both cases – there is still so much more to come. This journey may be ending, but a new one is about to begin.

Full Term! (37 weeks)

Whether the babies make a debut “early” or we make it to our scheduled date (5/14), this will be my last pregnancy update. I know I mentioned this before but holy cow did it fly by. All the waiting felt like forever but the pregnancy just flew. I’m feeling a bit bittersweet about this…a topic for another post.

The Good

  • Wow. Just wow. We made it to full term…with TWINS. I am simultaneously shocked and not shocked. I know this sounds odd. Early on in the pregnancy I remember telling my mom about a concern about my small body carrying two babies, but that I felt fairly confident that if anyone’s small body could do it, it would be mine. But, all the pre-term labor talk freaked me out and so I had convinced myself they were going to show up early. All I have to say to this is: go body!
  • SIX days or less until we meet the babies.
  • Since I’ve stopped working the cankles have almost gone away. And I’m still miraculously able to wear my wedding rings.
  • I think I’ve finally mastered the blind pee in a cup.

The “Bad”

  • My body is definitely starting to wear down. I have to wear my support belt pretty much 24/7 because my stomach is so heavy. I had a cruddy weekend with this weird side cramp type pain until I smartened up and realized I needed something to hold my belly up because it shifts oddly to the left thanks to the way they are positioned.
  • My crotch hurts pretty much every time I walk. Waddle, waddle, waddle.

The Weird and Amusing

  • There is no more question: I am a spectacle. I’ve been warned it gets worse once the babies get here. There is something about multiples, apparently.
  • Some days are better than others here at the Preggo-lympics. Some days you lose, some days you win.
  • You know how you seem to find the perfect bed position right before you have to get up? Well I tossed and turned all night last night, only to figure out the perfect pillow position (both between the legs and under the heavy belly) right before I got hungry and needed to get up to eat. Figures.
  • A nurse, on the maternity ward of the hospital no less, looked at me after my most recent NST and said “woah!” Though this is not quite as funny as the person at registration who came up to me the week before and asked me if I was there to give birth.
  • Yesterday I got up at 730. I ate breakfast, soaked in the bath (thanks to my friends the ‘rrhoids), took a shower, got dressed…..and then I was tired. So I took a nap. What? That was a lot of work.

The final week by the numbers:

A Baby Story’s Watched: about 22. (yes, pathetic, I know)

Naps taken per day: 1-2

Waist size: 44″

Number of weeks pregnant I am measuring: 44 (if I did it right)

Weight gained: as of Monday still holding steady at 39 lbs.

Number of times I’ve been told I’m about to pop (or some variation): at least 20

Number of times I’ve been told I don’t look pregnant from behind, or that I am “all belly”:  pretty much everyone says this. I’ve taken to facing forward, then backward in a “now you see it, now you don’t” type way. 🙂

I didn’t hit anything or anyone with my belly this week!

Final week pic (though if we make it to the scheduled day I’ll probably take a delivery day pic) at Bubbles and Squishy

Preggo-lympics 2013

As we near the end of this pregnancy I have to say that I can’t believe how fast it went. I feel like I went to bed one night and woke up the next morning with a 42″ waistline. In less than 2 days we will reach full term, which for twins is fabulous. But even if I went into labor today, they would still be ok, and for that I am happy.

My body is starting to wear down.  But since I’m measuring 43 weeks pregnant (at last check anyway) I can’t say I am surprised. In fact I probably made it longer than most do before the aches and pains kicked in – over the last week or so they have really increased, and I’ve made more than one comment to Bryan about how getting off the couch has turned into an Olympic sport.

So without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you my version of the Olympics and the only Olympics I’ll ever get to participate in: the 2013 Preggo-lympics.

Events are timed and judged on a number of factors such as: amount of waddling, number of facial grimaces, number of attempts and number of grunts and/or curse words used.

Help! I can’t reach the remote!

So you’ve finally gotten yourself comfortable on the couch, the DVD is in, your water is laying next to you and you’ve just finished your 5th snack when you go to turn the TV up and realize……you can’t reach the remote. Shit.

You lose: you wait till have you to pee again to get up. What? its the Olympics. There has to be *some* challenge here

Bronze medal: you maneuver yourself in such a way to reach the remote in less than one minute

Silver medal: you maneuver yourself in such a way to reach the remote in less than 30 seconds

Gold medal: you get your husband to get the remote for you

The Bed Roll

You’ve settled into bed with your 6 million pillows. You’ve finally calmed your mind down after about 30 minutes and begin to fall asleep…..then you realize your hip has fallen asleep and its time to roll over.

You lose: you fall asleep and wake up 5 min later with hip pain.

Bronze medal: you grab your belly and roll over, then realize you’ve forgotten a pillow and so blindly slap around the bed to retrieve it, cursing under your breath.

Silver medal: you grab your belly AND all pillows, grunting on the way over, but successfully complete the maneuver.

Gold medal:  you grab your belly, all pillows and roll without making any extraneous noise.

Crap, I have to pee

Now that you’ve rolled, gotten into position and have begun, yet again, to fall asleep….you realize you have to pee. This becomes a crazy feat because now not only do you have to sit, stand, walk, sit, stand, walk and lay down again-  you also need to try to do so without cursing.

You lose: this doesn’t happen in this event. If you manage to get to the bathroom without urinating on yourself, you get a medal.

Bronze medal: You attempt to sit up, but didn’t brace yourself properly so it takes a couple tries. You curse under your breath. The third time is the charm and you’re sitting. But, you forgot to use the momentum to swing your legs over to the side of the bed and have to brace yourself again.You curse again, a little louder this time. You get on your feet to discover that the ligament in your pubic bone has shifted and so you waddle painfully (cursing) to the  bathroom, plop down on the toilet and realize you forgot to turn the light on and so can’t see the toilet paper. When you finally reach it you’re so annoyed that you curse again. You manage to get back up, to the bed and plop in not caring about position, but you wake up 5 min later because your hip has fallen asleep because you didn’t take the time to position the pillows correctly.

Silver medal: Sitting up takes a couple tries but you remember to use the momentum this time to get out of bed. You make it to the bathroom (and remember to turn the light on) in 4 waddles or less. You haphazardly position the pillows when you get back into bed and wake up 30 minutes later.

Gold medal: Not only did you sit up successfully the first time AND used the momentum to get out of bed, but make it to the bathroom in 2 waddles or less (walking semi normally t he rest of the way), use the bathroom and make it into bed positioning the pillows correctly. You wake up again in 1-2 hours.

I’m all ready to go! Except my pants….

You’ve got it all -bra, shirt, hair done, teeth brushed. You’re ready to go – except- you’re not because your pants aren’t on yet.

You lose: you walk around half naked all day. (Please don’t show up to work like that)

Bronze medal: You hop several times before you manage to get even one leg in, and repeat the process with the other leg. By the time you’re done you’ve had 2 braxton hicks contractions and you have to sit down afterwards because you’re out of breath.

Silver medal: You get one leg in successfully but hop around for the second leg. One braxton hicks contraction. You finish getting ready without resting but do so breathing harder than you normally would

Gold medal:  You get smart and sit down before you attempt to put any legs in your pants.

That concludes this years preggo-lympics. Now go collect your metals, have a snack (what? its been 20 minutes) and take a nap.

medal

Large and in Charge (36 weeks)

The Good

  • My thoughts that these babies would make their debut before the end of April was obviously wrong, but that’s totally ok because it means we made it to 36 weeks.
  • I am totally proud of my little body for holding up and carrying these babies so well.
  • Our last growth scan was yesterday and it estimated Miss Abby at 5lb 7 oz and Mr. Miles at 6lb 8oz! Somehow there is nearly 12 lbs of baby squished into this stomach.
  • Still feeling pretty good since being home on maternity leave. I officially caught up with everything at work yesterday and so that means I’m…well, done. At least for the next 12 weeks. It’s a weird feeling.
  • Other than the installation of car seats everything is ready!
  • I’ve actually noticed fewer Braxton Hicks over the last several weeks
  • Still wearing my wedding rings, amazingly.

The Bad

  • Weird, random crotch pain- to be filed under “things no one tells you about late pregnancy”.

The Weird and Amusing

  • Weird, random crotch pain – causing me to waddle like crazy. Waddle, waddle, waddle, waddle……and its not something you can really be verbal about, because what exactly do I say when I stand up and flinch and someone asks me what is wrong? “Uh…well my crotch hurts when I stand up?” I mean I can blame the waddling on size but this one is a bit harder. Taking suggestions.
  • Getting up off of the couch, out of bed or rolling in bed have become an Olympic sport. I used to always get annoyed at people in the gym who grunted as they were lifting weights and every time I roll over I sound just like them.

This Week By the Numbers

  • Waist size: 42.5″
  • Fundal height (i.e. number of weeks pregnant I’m measuring, if I measured it right):43-44cm or 43-44 weeks
  • Weight gained: holding steady at 39 lbs
  • Number of grunts in the night: at least 5
  • Number of times I’ve been told I’m about to pop/asked when I was due: 6
  • Number of times I’ve been told I look tiny for twins when I explain why I look like I’m about to pop: 6
  • Number of Gilmore Girls DVD’s watched: 19 (I’m on season 4)
  • Number of A Baby Story’s Watched: about 12 (less this week since I’ve had Gilmore Girls on)

And to prove today’s title, I leave you with this amusing photograph:

Don't worry, I got up
Don’t worry, I got up

New pic at Bubbles and Squishy

A Spectacle (35 weeks)

The Good

  • YAY we made it to 35 weeks!! With those few pre term labor scares (i.e. attack of the Braxon Hicks x3) I am very thankful for this.
  • The countdown to babies is officially under 20 days (19 or less!)
  • I got a crazy out of the blue phone call today from the fertility clinic we went to. I wrote them a testimonial a couple weeks ago for the website and they are going to be doing a study on the effects of environmental toxins on fertility. Apparently it will consist of testing the embryos in some fashion – I got a bit of a description but no details. Anyway it appears the study caught enough notice that our local news channel wants to cover it and asked for a patient who has been through or going through IVF to interview (obviously doesn’t have to be related to the study – they don’t have any participants yet) and they called me of all people. So I’m waiting to get some details but I might be on the news!
  • Stopping work when I did turned out to be a really smart move. I feel like a different person – I’m no longer constantly exhausted and sore all day.
  • While typing out the lower sections I got a phone call from the Doc at the fertility clinic who had noticed my Facebook banner and had personally called to say how cool he thought it was that I was putting myself out there. How fabulous he took the time out of his day to do that. I am totally shocked and appreciative.

The Bad

  • We took another visit to the hospital over the weekend because I was worried that I wasn’t feeling Miles move. Turns out he moved position a little but was totally fine 🙂

The Weird and Amusing (i.e. pregnancy first world problems)

  • Most of my maternity shirts are too short.
  • Today I officially become a spectacle. I met a friend for lunch and after ordering and walking away, got a “WOW”. Yeah, I get it.
  • Cankles have made a permanent presence. At least my toes are pretty.
  • After my prenatal massage this past weekend ( which was fabulous BTW) I had thought about stopping in Ross for another couple cheap, non short shirts. I walked three doors down and realized I was in TJ MAXX. Upon determining that Ross was another 4 doors down, I decided it was too far, walked back to my car and drove to Target.
  • Dude, you should try to watch me put my pants on. Seriously. Its hilarious. Thank goodness sock season is over down here.

This Week by the Numbers

Number of times I’ve been told I’m about to pop: 1 officially, many others unofficially (i.e. WOW)

Number of reflux pills taken so far: 15

Waist measurement: 42.5-43″

Weight gained: 39 lbs (clearly I didn’t need to worry about the temporary lost weight, I found it and then some…I blame cankles….and maybe Drumsticks)

Days left till babies: 19 (or less….wow)

New pic of the belly that looks like I swallowed a beach ball (or two) at Bubbles and Squishy.

Freaky Friday (and Being Kind to Myself)

I have not been super consistent with this plan to participate in Kindness Friday, and even though I’m naturally a couple days late I’m taking the better late than never approach.

In being so focused on reaching each milestone in this pregnancy, I seem to have forgotten to acknowledge something.

We are officially in the home stretch.

As in, we will have babies in 23 days or less.

I had planned to try to continue working full time until the end of April, however the physical stress of carrying 10lbs (or what I assume is 10lbs at this point) of baby  began to take a toll on my back and I was forced to stop a week early. Once I hit a point where I needed to leave work early twice in one week I knew it was time to stop. At my appt on Thursday I requested a doc note allowing me to begin maternity leave. Thankfully it was granted without an issue. I probably technically could have stopped that day but the OCD in me wanted to finish out an entire week and end on a Friday. (Plus I only work  a half day on Friday anyway)

Bryan pointed out that I seemed a bit crabby Friday morning and while I hadn’t felt particularly different, it was in the car on the way to work that I mentally acknowledged he may be right. The decision to stop working had been made somewhat short notice and suddenly it hit me that I was on my way to work for the last time. Well, I’m going back part time after the babies are here, so not the last time forever, but suddenly it hit me that shit.is.about.to.change.

Bryan and I have a brief conversation daily about that, usually consisting of me saying we are going to have two babies soon and commenting on how challenging its going to be, Bryan responding “piece of cake” and my asking if he really has any idea what we are in for. He laughs, swears he does, and then we move on.

Friday, though, it really hit me. My usual work routine? Done. Really everything about usual is beginning to turn into a different usual, and even though this is what we had fought for for three long years, I’ll admit that for just a few moments I started to panic – mostly about  my abilities to care for TWO babies simultaneously. In those moments I was not very kind to myself.

I understand that its natural to go through periods where one questions her ability to be a good mother. I had just been fairly confident about it (while admitting to myself that it was indeed going to be difficult and I would likely have periods where I felt like a failure) up until then. It has taken quite a few moments of refocusing in the last few days to not allow myself to fall into a tailspin of “WTF am I doing I have no idea what I’m doing what the hell was I thinking?” I’m using this blog post to serve as a reminder:

Motherhood is going to be hard.

But I can do it.

One day at a time. I worked as a nanny for a time. I work with kids. I can and will figure this out. I am absolutely capable of caring for two babies, and believe, at least in this case that if I couldn’t handle it, I wouldn’t have been blessed with two. Do I have any idea what I’m doing? A little, but not much. But who does?

I can do this.

And on the plus side, being home from work gives me time to brainstorm a post or two for National Infertility Awareness Week.

Also, if you are here from ICLW, welcome! We are currently expecting twins after IVF and 3 years of infertility sometime in the next 23 days. Feel free to visit the pages on our IVF cycle, or even pregnancy pics if you’re feeling up to it. There is also a page on our infertility history.

Oh My Aching Back (34 weeks)

The Good

  • 34 weeks is a GREAT milestone. Babies born now have just about as good a chance as full term babies. At this point we’d probably have to spend some time at the hospital for feeding and/or breathing support but in the end we’d take them home and they should be healthy long term. I’ve finally reached a point where I feel more relaxed. Still shooting for at least another week though 🙂
  • In 4 weeks or less, we will have two babies.
  • Yeah, I can’t believe it either.
  • Seriously? Four weeks or less?
  • Somehow I’ve managed to make it through this pregnancy without being put on bed rest. Though I’m about to put myself on it…more on that below.
  • Still having lots of belly dance parties. I like belly dance parties.

The Bad

  • Oy. Vey. I’d always wondered what my threshold was gonna be before I started hurting and apparently its about 8.5-9lbs of baby. I made it through last week pretty intact but its only gotten worse. My back hurts constantly and my super squished stomach still makes it hard to eat, though its been better the last few days.  I’m just glad I haven’t lost any more weight. We had another hospital visit this past Sunday thanks to some back pain coming in waves that I wanted to make sure wasn’t back labor. It wasn’t, but I was dehydrated. They checked me as well and found that I am still only dilated 1cm, which is a relief. Unfortunately I’ve already left work early twice this week. The gig is about up on working full time I suspect, which I plan on asking about at my appt tomorrow.  Quite frankly though, I’m impressed I made it to this point!

The Weird and Amusing

  • Belly size – every week I say I can’t imagine it getting bigger and yet somehow it does. I was measuring 41 weeks a week ago so I’m interested to see what it is now. It feels like a monstrosity. A belly monstrosity.
  • I’m sorry but it still feels like aliens are invading my belly and trying to crawl out. At least they are cute aliens 🙂
  • I went to one of those places over the weekend where you go, drink wine (well, water) and they take you through step by step to paint a picture for a friends birthday. I had done this once before and literally threw the picture away on my way out the door it was so bad (seriously, it was bad – I got looks it was that bad) so I was nervous about this one, but this one turned out much better.Photo Apr 14, 7 22 48 PM

This week by the numbers:

Number of times I’ve been told I’m about to pop: 0 – surprisingly. Though it was kinda asked in other ways. I got quite a few “when are you due?”s and even one “wow you’re still pregnant”. Um, yeah. I did appreciate the “wow you still look so skinny!” I got today.

Number of times I’ve been told I’m “all belly”: at least 10. Probably more

Number of people I’ve hit with my stomach: 0, but I did hit a plate today. (Stacy!)

Number of Love it or List It episodes watched: 7 and possibly counting depending on if more record. Unfortunately they are starting to loop now which means I have to find another show soon.

Number of A Baby Story episodes watched: its an embarrassing number.

Number of items I’ve had in my hands that I’ve dropped on the floor: basically everything. I.am.dropping.all.the.things

Waist size: 42.5″

Weight gain: 33lbs thanks to some weight loss over the last week.

New pic at Bubbles and Squishy

An Ode to Super Squished Stomach

This post could be categorized as “first world problems regarding my pregnancy” – so I get it if you don’t want to read on:

A few previously pregnant friends tried to warn me a couple weeks ago: that the time would come where I WANT to eat but would be unable to ingest much.

HA! I thought.

Turns out there is also a reason why docs recommend gaining most of your weight early on in a twin pregnancy. Suddenly, it all made sense. I should have expected it really because in the last few weeks I’ve noticed my stomach moving precariously  towards my ribs – I’d bend over and my stomach would gurgle  in a much much higher location than previously. So bizarre. Something happened literally between Monday and Tuesday last week and suddenly my normal sized I-can-still-eat-whatever-I-want-stomach turned into I-ate-a-bagel-two-and-a-half-hours-ago-and-I’m-still-full-and-burping-cream-cheese stomach.

A friend of mine (Megan!) recommended Prilosec 24 hour. Its helped with the burping but hasn’t so much magically created more room in there.

This morning I stepped on the scale to discover I had lost 3 lbs and for once in my life did not jump for joy. It is now officially time to commence: Operation Liquid Calories. Because the problem with feeling full all the time is that I don’t want to drink either, which doesn’t bode well for staying hydrated.

Regardless of what I eat or drink I tend to still feel full from it several hours later.

This uncomfortable yet inevitable milestone obviously deserves an Ode:

Theres no space for my stomach

(The babies, they called dibs)

Because it seems to have relocated

Up closer to my ribs

I want a slice of that, I think

From the local pizza place

Except the cereal from this morning

Has taken up all the space

Well maybe in two hours

I can indulge in some pie

My stomach smiles, winks at me

And whispers, ha -nice try

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