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Pregnancy Diary: Part 3 (Giving Birth)

Sooo…you might have noticed that it’s been awfully quiet around here for a while. I literally just found the time to open WordPress…and to breathe…and to take a proper shower…and to think…because, would you believe it, I am now a mother!

A couple of weeks ago, a little human being whipped and nae-naed his way out of me. He did whip and nae-nae, I have video footage to prove it! I will be keeping that to show his friends when he’s a teenager and starts to annoy me.

This was my perfect, ideal birth plan.

  • At the 39-week mark, with my husband and aunt in attendance, go into labour.
  • Manage the pains of first stage labour with activities like sitting on my exercise ball, long walks, baking, reading a book, taking a warm shower etc.
  • After my water breaks, proceed to the hospital with my packed bag containing my music player, framed pictures of calming scenery, energy drinks and cookies for my nurses.
  • At the hospital, chat with my nurses. Brave the pain. Dance a bit to the playlist K was supposed to compile for me.
  • Delay or totally avoid the epidural. Labour for 6 hours or less. Deliver in the squat position.
  • Avoid any tears that will require stitches.
  • Walk out the next day with my child.

Didn’t happen, folks.

First, D. arrived at 37 weeks. Everyone said that was almost impossible. It’s your first baby; first babies usually overshoot their due date. Didn’t happen, people. 37 weeks, and I hadn’t packed my hospital bag or bought him a car seat. When labour started, I remained in denial. “It’s impossible, I’m not in labour. This can’t be happening in real life…”

It happened in real life.

 January 10, 2015

 

 Our wedding anniversary. K and I go out that evening. In New Orleans, there’s a street called Frenchmen. It has the most amazing jazz clubs and the music is top-rate. We went dancing 🙂 Hard to imagine with my big, 37-week pregnant belly but yes, I managed to make a few moves. 🙂 When I get home, I notice some cramping, nothing major. I ignore it.

  

January 12, 2016

I wake up with an unexpected burst of energy and the inexplicable need to scrub the bathroom. I pull up a new playlist on Amazon Prime and I belly dance. I wash the bathroom, on my hands and knees. (One of the signs of early labour is a spurt of extra energy that the body plans to use to labour.)

When I stand up, I notice that my bump seems lower.  My husband agrees it looks funny but we shrug it off. (This is called ‘lightening’ and is another sign of early labour.

I sit on my exercise ball all day. At some point, I even pump it higher. (The exercise ball is used during pregnancy to relieve back pain by promoting good posture. It also widens the pelvis, and helps position the baby in the optimal position for birth.)

By bedtime, I have cramps and a backache. I’m too restless to lie in bed, I lie on the floor instead.

Me: These cramps are uncomfortable.

K: Drink water. (My OB-GYN had once commented that false contractions might be caused by dehydration.)

 January 13, about 1 am

I drink water for hours, people.  I lean over on my exercise ball, hugging it and rocking myself back and forth. It helps a bit. I drink more water. I’m tired but I can’t sleep.  Maybe this is really labour. The thought crosses my mind for a second and I panic. I am not ready to have the baby. There are things to buy. There are preparations to make. There are books to finish reading!

 Me: I think we should call the doctor.

K: And tell her what? It’s midnight. There’s nothing wrong. 

Me: What if I’m in labour?

K: You’re not. This baby isn’t due for 3 weeks. Just rest. Sleep. We’ll see her in the afternoon.

Me: *lies down on the floor. Starts to Google early labour signs*

 I download an app to time my contractions (honestly, this is the only way to time contractions. I can’t imagine using a clock). Some contractions are long, some short and the intervals vary. The randomness comforts me. The standard for confirmed labour is the 5-1-1 rule; five-minute intervals, one-minute duration for at least one hour.  This can’t be real labour, I think.

About 3:40 am.

Somehow, improbably, I doze despite the discomfort. I’m lying on the floor, covered in blankets. How do contractions feel? Like period pains multiplied by a million. They’re not unbearable if you don’t panic, if you don’t think about them lasting multiple hours.  And they stop. So you have a minute or so of intense contracting where you can’t talk or think of anything and then you have two minutes of nothing. No pain. No squeezing. Nothing. Not so bad, right?

Then my water breaks. A small pop and a release of tension I wasn’t even aware of. A leak, like I’m incontinent. My pyjama shorts are wet but I can’t tell if it’s because I’m sweating so much.

 Me: I think my water just broke.

K: That’s not how water breaks, na. There should be plenty. This is too small.

At this point, I decide to listen to my body instead. And my body is telling me that this baby is coming at 37 weeks. And that I’ve been in labour for hours without knowing it. And that I better get to the hospital unless I want to give birth at home.

We wake our very amazing friend and hostess, Akunna. She agrees with me. We call the doctor and she tells us to go to the hospital. She’ll meet me there.

We drive for what seems like hours to me. In reality, it’s less than 10 minutes. I grit my teeth for for every bump and pothole on the road.

At the hospital, my contractions are strong enough to make me tremble. I’m taken to the observation room and given a hospital gown.

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#Labourthings #BabyLoading #WeDoItForTheGram #after8hoursoflabour 😀

“We have to confirm that you’re actually in labour and that your water has broken before we can admit you.”

 They check; I’m about 1 cm dilated and they think they can feel the baby’s hair but they’re not sure my water has broken. They decide to wait and see before sending me home. I just want to sleep. I’m hoping they give me a sleeping pill or something. If I can only sleep for a bit, I know I’ll be able to wait out the contractions. I ask K to hold my hand, massage my feet… anything to distract me. Nothing works. I start to pray.

 An hour later, the nurses return to check me. I’m still only 2 cm dilated but they decide I should be admitted. Yay!

 I’m not allowed to eat or drink anything except for ice till the baby comes. The nurses poke me with needles over and over, drawing blood, setting hep-locks, setting up my IV. They keep apologizing for the discomfort they think they’re causing me. I don’t have the energy to tell them not to worry. Compared to the contractions, needles in my arm are insignificant.

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Welcome banner on my room door for Baby.

7am

K leaves me at a little past 7. He has to go back to the house. The nurses offer me an epidural once, twice. I’m worried that if I take it too early, it’ll wear out by the time I really need it. I ask to see my doctor first. A nurse teaches me how to breathe through each contraction and not hold my breath. It helps. In my lucid moments, I pray, “God help me, I can’t do this by myself.”

I didn’t expect labour to be… tiring. It wasn’t so much painful as it was exhausting. When my doctor announces that I can have the epidural as early as I want, I nearly weep in relief. The epidural needle is relatively big (5 inches long) and it will be driven a few inches below my spine and a catheter threaded through it. Some say it hurts and that sudden movements by the patient could lead to paralysis. I’d even heard that an epidural could cause one of my legs to drop lower than the other, and that I would limp forever after.

At that point, I did not care. I just wanted the contractions to stop so I could sleep.

It works within 15 minutes. I felt it as a cold gush down my back and then the contractions stop. I start to shiver hard; a side effect I’d never heard about. I couldn’t get warm. I request blankets. And then my baby’s heartbeat starts to drop. The nurse stares in horror at the heartbeat monitor. I can hear the murmur of his heart quieting.

I get on my knees, lie on my left side, my right side. Anything to get his heart back up. It keeps dropping.

“We have to wheel you in for an emergency c-section.”

Not good. Not good. “Why?”

“Your baby is in distress. We don’t know why. We need to get him out immediately.”

“Is it because of the epidural?”

“We don’t know.”

They wheel me to the operating room. “Please call my husband,” I tell them.

“We can’t wait for him. We have to operate now.”

I’m lying in the operating room, staring up at bright lights. They’re running around, getting ready. Then the baby’s heart rate picks up again on the monitor. I can hear it and it is the most beautiful sound in the world.

“He’s up!” Everyone cheers. They wheel me back to my delivery room and eventually the doctor explains that the epidural lowered my blood pressure and that was what affected the baby. It’s a fairly common side effect. I wish I’d known that before.

 Afternoon

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Imma have this baby. But first, let me take a selfie. You can tell K is way more excited than I am. 🙂

Things progress after that bit of drama. I dilate slowly and I sleep. They give me an oxygen mask. K contacts our family and friends. He starts a poll; getting our friends and relatives to vote for the baby’s name. A part of me is still worried about the baby arriving at 37 weeks. Will he have to be in an incubator? Will he need specialized neonatal care?

At about 2pm, the nurses check me and confirm that I’ve dilated to 8cm. I’ve been in the hospital for almost 12 hours. Another effect of the epidural is that it slows down labour so you labour for longer. But it was a trade off I was willing to make. They give me Pitocin to speed things up. Shortly after I dilate to 10cm, I feel the pressure of the baby’s head between my legs.

“I’m ready to push.”

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The wave-like lines are the contractions.  The topmost green line was the baby’s heartrate. It was cool to watch them. 🙂

The nurses get ready. I am put in position to push; half-sitting, half-lying down. The doctor lays out her instruments: forceps, scissors a bunch of scary medical gadgets. She sits on a stool in front of me.

Doctor: You can’t feel the urge to push because of the epidural so we’ll have to tell you when, okay? You’ll push at the start of your contractions; we’re monitoring them on the computer. You’ll take a deep breath and hold it like you’re underwater, and then you’ll push with all your might.

Me: Got it. (frightened out of my mind, actually. OMG. Baby is really coming!)

K: *starts to play Coldplay because Baby needs a suitable soundtrack to come into the world*

Nurse: Okay. Wait for it. Contraction starting. Go!

I push. I really can’t feel anything on account of the epidural but everyone is so encouraging. K is cheering me on like I’m running a marathon. I brace for the next contraction. My doctor is massaging me, preparing my body to accommodate the inevitable stretching. I don’t feel any pain. (It’s kind of like pushing a car. It’s difficult but not painful. So I’m not shouting or screaming. I’m actually pretty quiet. Isn’t epidural just bae?)

FullSizeRender

I push four times before my son’s head appears. “He has so much hair!”

The doctor helps him out, pulling under his arms.  I gasp loudly as I catch my breath.  And then he’s born; purple, and quiet as a mouse. Purple because he hasn’t started breathing. Quiet because he’s stunned by what just happened.  His head is cone-shaped from the birth canal. He looks alien. I ask, “Why is he purple?”

He coughs and cries. K cuts the cord. My baby looks at me and I don’t feel that gush of maternal love that people talk about sometimes. I don’t feel anything but awe and relief that he’s out and he’s well and he’s so warm.

 After

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Day 1: Father & Son Netflixing & Chilling

The days of routine episiotomies for first time mothers are over, thankfully but I still get a few stitches. They aren’t as painful as I thought.

D. doesn’t need any specialized care. We spend two nights in the hospital and he sleeps beside me the whole time. I can’t believe they let us go home with him afterwards. We’re novices at parenting!

I’m learning to be a mother. I hope I’m a good one. Thank you all for your kind wishes and prayers and advice. They worked! In the last few weeks, I’ve gotten so many comments and emails and I would love to reply them all but I’m in over my head at the moment. I will respond with time, I promise. J

 So how have you been these past few weeks? If you’re a mother, what was your first labour like?

62 Comments

  1. Isioma says

    I am SO proud of you.
    So glad that it all went well.
    That your heart is big enough to share this, & make someone smile, & encourage them.
    God bless you and K. Booboo.
    God bless you.

    • Osemhen says

      Thank you, Isioma 😊 I’ve not forgotten the “auntie duty” oh. Coming soon.

  2. WOW! Many congratulations and thanks for this.

    Crazy and scary but exciting.

    My regards to your baby and husband 🙂

    God bless y’all.

  3. Enajyte says

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!

    Thanks so much for sharing. Your baby is beautiful (this is for real, not one of the ‘your baby is beautiful’ just cos he’s a baby, lol). And all that hair.

    Thank God for safe delivery. And thank you Jesus for epidurals. 😀

    • Osemhen says

      Thank you, Jesus for epidurals! Thank God for safe delivery and modern medicine! Thanks, Jite 😊

  4. Lucia says

    I am smiling, cant stop…
    Congrats Osehmen! Thank God for safe delivery and yes for modern medicine.
    God who gave beautiful D to you will provide for you and teach you how to raise him.
    (still smiling)

  5. Mercy says

    Omg I awwww-ed, smiled, laughed and even got teary-eyed reading this. God bless you Osemhen for sharing your testimony. I thank God for you. God keep and bless your beautiful family immensely, everyday. You are doing great, awesome first time Mum (oh, and Dad, cause I hear dads complain we don’t give them credit too, lol). Blessings

  6. Wow! I enjoyed every bit of that. You’re a wonderful writer and you’re going to rock as a mother! Congratulations!

  7. damilola says

    Congratulations J…mine was much faster, it took about 4 to 5hours all in all, but very tiring and exhausting, considering twin delivery, but it was a wonderful experience in all.

  8. Congratulations. All the best at this new season of your lives. God bless you, your husband and your son. I smiled all through the post.

    Now to answer your questions:

    So how have you been these past few weeks?

    Kept checking your site and refreshing for an update. I had a very large smile when I saw this post a few minutes ago.

    If you’re a mother, what was your first labour like?

    Four things I remember:

    – I was taking time to dilate so I was given Oxytocin! I can never forget the resulting PAIN. Mehn!!! For my second baby I insisted on being giving the epidural before the Oxytocin.

    – My epidural was fantastic. Even my Doctor commended the anesthesiologists.. I did not feel PAIN anymore!!!

    – My Doctor had insisted that I must take epidural. Also, the hospital gave a discount on early payment for epidural and could refund the payment if you did not use the epidural. My cousin had convinced me and I had calculated how much shopping I could do with the refunded money so my initial plan was not to take the epidural. My plans to shop and my comparison with the hausa girls who give birth at home flew out the window when the pain came after I was given the Oxytocin. The nurse had told me I was lucky I took the epidural when I did cos if I had dilated past 6cm, the epidural would have been ineffective. I refused to imagine if that had happened!!!!

    – The hospital menu had things like cakes, mini burgers, crackers etc. I forgot I just had a baby and was yet to heal properly down there and just kept on ordering junk. I used the toilet 2 days after I was discharged and it was God who delivered me.

    All the very bestest Osemhen!!!

    Related

    • Osemhen says

      Haha! I was going to shop with my epidural money too. Deleted that plan sharply!

      Hey! That first bathroom visit! Lol! Doh!

  9. Congratulations, Osemhen! I’m glad that mother and baby are well. The fact that you are concerned about being a good mother shows that you’ll probably be a good one. Continue to take care. 🙂

  10. kovieparker says

    I’m smiling through this. For once child birthing stories haven’t left me shivering and shuddering. Thank you. Lol
    Congratulations again, Osemhen. And I’m sure y’all will be great parents. I hear it goes by fast. Savour every minute :*

  11. Reading this put a massive smile on my face, even though I cringed a bit imagining the epidural needle. Congratulations! I am so grateful to God that all went well. May He guide you and teach you, may He enable you, that your precious son will grow up to be all he is destined to be 🙂

  12. Omolara says

    Congrats Osemhen…your account felt so vivid…like I was watching a movie…lol
    Welcome to parenting 101. I know you’ll do great.

  13. So lucky you get to share this with us. This made me really happy. Coldplay is an excellent choice btw! Congratulations to you and your husband. I hope parenting is a wonderful experience for both of you ❤️

  14. jennifer says

    Congratulations! God bless and keep you both. My heart moved at every line. Nice testimony

  15. Congratulations to you Osemhen and K! We join you to welcome your bundle of joy into the world. Thank God for his mercy and safe delivery.
    Your child-birth experience was not exactly as regular as they come, but it seemed very exciting. All the best of motherhood!!

  16. No words….
    Super excited that D is finally here.
    I heaved a sigh of relief when you said labour was more tiring than painful but I’m guessing that might have changed before you. took the epidural.
    Long labours freak me out, heaven help me.
    Congratulations dear, I have no doubt that you’ll be a wonderful mum.

  17. Congratulations!!! Bravo!!! I couldn’t stop smiling and even laughing at some point as I read through the post. No usual cringing and sorts that come with reading or listening to birth stories. I admire your calmness and courage all through the process, I could actually feel it. Your baby is beautiful too, and I trust you’ll do just fine ‘mummying’. Best wishes…❤️

  18. Can I just say I had a heart attack reading this. ..#datsall. *sobs a bit*…Thank u Lord. Congratulations again! !!…btw why do u think women go back 4 more kids after this horror?…maybe I’ll know after I’m married. ..lol…luv u girl…kisses

    • Osemhen says

      Haha! Because…love. The way I feel about this little man is the best thing in the world, really. They have a way of grabbing your heart in their little fists.

  19. Mariam Sule says

    This is the most beautiful thing i have read all year. Thank you so much for sharing. Thank God for safe delivery. I’m sure you’d make an amazing mummy. Please try to keep the posts coming in, they make me so happy. God bless you and your baby.

  20. Congratulations Osemhen! Thank God for safe delivery. I had been waiting patiently for this post. I actually held my breathe and pushed too on reading that part 🙂 May baby D bring happiness to the world and special joy to you!

    PS : Baby D and I are birthday mates 🙂

  21. Nkechi says

    Great Childbirth post Osemhen. Congratulations on your newborn. He’s a cutie!

  22. Thanks for sharing, as a FTM, my birth story could scare upcoming mums, I laboured for close to 24hrs without pain medication, dilation was super slow and eventually ended up with Cephalo-pelvic disproportion (a condition where the capacity of the pelvis is inadequate to allow the fetus to negotiate the birth canal). I eventually ended up with an emergency C-section. Twas a painful experience but my bundle of joy is enough to make me happy.I have no doubt you’ll be a great mum and may God see u thru. Hearty Congratulations!!!

  23. Oh bless! Congratulations Osemhen, I think you and K will be absolutely marvellous parents. Your post brought me some lovely memories of when I had my son too. Wishing you three a great time together…..xxx

  24. Anita says

    Awwwwwww… I’m so thankful to God for a beautiful delivery!
    My delivery story is long, but I gotta tell you, I didn’t take the epidural. I wanted to experience it all. But by the time I was 8cm dialated, I knew that was a huge mistake!!!
    The pain… arghhhh…
    Lol…

    And motherhood gets better… 😀
    My love to the little one!

  25. Just remembered. If you are sore and your nipples hurt from breastfeeding, please get a nipple cream ASAP to relieve the soreness and pain. I suffered for 3 weeks before I cried for help and my Sister-in-law recommended it. I used Medela tender care lanolin/ nipple cream and the relief was instant.

  26. I have been waiting patiently for this post! God is so good! “This is not how water breaks” hahahaha I thought that too, cos mine was small! Was in labour for 6hrs before I went to hospital cos I didn’t know! I thought it was some horrible indigestion and I spent half the time on the toilet hoping to poop. My son was preterm and he spent 4 weeks in the incubator but it was a glorious miracle all the same. I’m glad you made 37 weeks. That’s TERM on the dot, just perfect. Father, we praise You! Baby, welcome! :*

  27. Casino says

    “oh I think I landed
    in a world I hadn’t seen
    when I’m feeling ordinary
    when I don’t know what I mean”

    What a song, Head of Dreams: Its on repeat for me for today. Mos def getting the album.

    • oh I think I landed
      where there are miracles at work
      when you got me open-handed
      when you got me lost for words
      I sing oh-oh-oh

      A head full of dreams
      A head full of dreams
      Into life I’ve just been woken
      With a head full, a head full of dreams

  28. Congratulatons!!May God keep you all in good health and provide ur needs. lol@novices @parenting. You guys will do good. Everyone is practically a novice initially, no matter the no. of books,material and prep. The reality seems way different, enjoy the learning experience.

  29. Mrs Roks says

    What was it like for me?

    He was full term
    He was so big and I’m so small
    I labored for 16hrs
    Doctor broke my water himself
    I was dilated 9.5cm
    Baby flat out refused to engage

    Most Nigerian hospitals don’t have epidurals so I had to tough it out. Phenergan lasted bout 30mins.
    Eventually they had to operate for his safety.
    That’s all that matters.
    After all the pain and stuff. they come out alive and beautiful.

    It’s been 18 wonderful months. Alive and beautiful.

    I hope my next one is natural. just to see how it feels.

    Congrats, Osemhen. I’m glad it all went well. You have the makings of an amazing mother.
    God bless your home.

  30. Congrats Ose. I’m happy u had good doctors around u, not every doctor in d US knows their stuff.

    Good and precise narration of the event, I was just recounting my experience as I was reading each line.

    I’m happy you and K junior are fine and that everything went well. Waiting to see u both….

  31. Awww,what an amazing journey into motherhood. Congratulations darling! Your baby is so cute,he has your hair as well. #JoyavMotherhood #MoreJoy

  32. Guess who says

    Jenny mummy ooooh Jenny Jenny mummyyyy… *** mummy now replaces baby. Muah

  33. afara leadership centre says

    We at Afara have been expecting this post! You can imagine how much we prayed for you and how excited everyone was when ‘aunty’ Ejiro showed us a picture of him and the name poll. He has so much hair just like you both. Congratulations Mama. You are always in our prayers.

  34. I’ve been waiting impatiently for this post and I’m so glad you had a safe delivery. Quite sure God will give you the wisdom to be awesome parents.

  35. Congratulations dear. He looks good, as do you. Guess you resolved to take pictures of him after all?
    Happy delivery. Please tell D happy belated birthday from me.

  36. Congrats dear! Wow! I so get your labour tales. Would send anyone who asks “how was it now?” to your diaries! Try to catch a little nap while LO (little one) is sleeping so you can save strength for when awake. I think this stage is cute. Sleep-eat-sleep again-eat some more. I always say save your strength for the toddler age. You will need it. And BTW 2nd labour wasn’t as rosy as the first. 🙂 You’ll be a great mom. Remember each child comes with his own. Feel free to Google and don’t feel bad experimenting (especially with milk and diapers) to know what works best.

  37. Wow! Osemhen… This was such a vivid, amazing account. I kept thinking of how cool it will be when baby is old enough to read and understand this. May he never doubt that he is loved – I mean, the love just shines through this post. I even got a bit teary eyed. 🙂

    Your baby is all shades of gorgeous! And his hairrrr… Oh my. <3 <3

    Congratulations!! We thank God for a safe delivery. May each day of your motherhood journey be more rewarding than the last.

    http://www.thegracedmisfit.com

  38. I had a feeling had to Google Eureka just to make sure, read through few of your blogs before I found this one, congratulations G triple OG so happy for you God bless you and the baby. 🙂

  39. Bridget says

    I am usually terrified to hear of some women child birth experience. Whew!!!! This is some relief mehn. *telling myself* “you can do it bree even with my low pan threshold”. Well kudos to yoy Osemhen and thanks for sharing!! Some voodoo powers can’t touch you now!!!😀
    I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that you guys will make wonderful parents. This write might just save alive some day,giving a reason for hope. Enjoy him while you still have him as a baby cos I had they grow so fast.

    “so epidural is the way to go” #teamepiduralsaveslives

  40. Bridget says

    I am usually terrified to hear of some women child birth experience. Whew!!!! This is some relief mehn. *telling myself* “you can do it bree even with my low pain threshold”. Well kudos to you Osemhen and thanks for sharing!! Some voodoo powers can’t touch you now!!!😀
    I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that you guys will make wonderful parents. This write up here might just save a life some day,giving a reason for hope. Enjoy him while you still have him as a baby cos I hear they grow so fast.

    “so epidural is the way to go” #teamepiduralsaveslivesf

  41. Pingback: CURRENTLY LOVING…| FEBRUARY  – Ihunda's musings: Those Little Things

  42. Tinuade says

    I want more. Pls write part 4. Lols… Very interesting, very educative and very inspiring (yes o, even though I don’t have a fiance yet, I just can’t wait.) At a point I had to google *dilation and epidural* and more pregnancy jargons, I almost got carried away. Can you believe that I caught myself practising the *push* as your doctor instructed you. To say I really enjoyed this post would be an understament. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience, you don’t know how relieving these pieces are. (In fact, from what I read here and my *googling*; I already decided I won’t take an epidural . It’s good effect is bae but I’m already scared of its administering process and side effects. If my momma can make it each time without an epidural…Yes I can… mouth making things lols). God bless you. Wish you a wonderful, stress free and grace filled motherhood. Luv uuu. 😘

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