12 truths about the end of pregnancy.

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Left: First born girl. Right: Second unknown gender

We are in the throes of it right now. 38 weeks and quickly/slowly counting. And by we I mean me. Because really dear Husband, you are my rock, my support, but you don’t know what this is feeling like. I tried explaining to him, the soreness feels. That heavy, weighing down feeling where everything is pushing down onto your vagina, stabbing, aching. Men: Imagine having weights tied onto your balls and everytime you walk, gravity does its thing on those weights and balls…and stabs them. With needles.

1. You have an excuse not to do much round the home. And wear no pants while not doing much.

2. Something drops on the ground, leave it. Food. Clothes. Small child. Leave it. It’s too hard.

3. Slip on shoes are your best friend. Scuffs, slippers or my favourite, husbands gumboots. Just slip your feet on in and you’re good to go.

4. Invest in one of these t-shirts to wear. Screenshot_20170528-083302That way, each week (or even day) you can change the chalk text to read how long to go. For public purposes.

5. Set up a timed facebook/email/text message servivce that tells people each day that YES, still a baby inside! Trust me, you’ll be the FIRST person I tell vege shop lady.

6. (This could just be me. Swear I’m not weird). Every wipe of paper after using the toilet is checked to see if there is any remnants of mucus plug/bloodyshow/waters.

7. Sleep. It doesn’t exist. Too hot. Too cold. Too sore. Too uncomfortable because lying on one side goes numb and achey from the added weight so you heave weight onto other side and sleep for 10 minutes only to wake to go to toilet for the 100th time. Repeat.

8. Any pain, soreness, twinge, unusual feeling is quickly searched by Dr. Google to see if it means this is it, Labour. Current Google tab open; Does excessive smelly flatulence mean I’m in labour??

9. Out shopping (dumb idea), you will weigh up if A) parking far away from shops entrance and avoiding all other parked cars is better than B) parking close to shops and near other cars thus risk not being able to get out of car as trapped by belly and toddler. Opt for option A and take the longer walking distance. Shop. Come back to car only to find in an empty lot, SOMEHOW TWO BLOODY CARS have parked beside you and you actually can’t get into your car without banging their stupid cars, knocking toddlers head (gently) on car door and squishing bump (painfully). All the while sweating and swearing, to which toddler copies, yelling F*** SAKE at the top of their lungs. Truth.

10. Baby will come when baby is ready. Totally. I preach it. But it can’t hurt to try a couple of things right? Curry.

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Curry last night. Tasted good. Not so good in the middle of the night #ouchmybum

Pineapple. Walking. Certain Yoga moves. Acupressure. Raspberry leaf tea. Sex. Oh GOD no!! Honestly couldn’t think of anything more uncomfortable right now. It’d be like a whale (Me. I’m going by body size wise here, nothing else!) and a goldfish (husband) getting it on. So awkward, so unsexy, so no.

11. All the feelings. The anticipation and excitement and scared shitless feeling of meeting little beauty all in one emotional tangled ball.

12. As annoyong as everything is at this stage of pregnancy, as sore and frustrating, we, (and I do say we as a collective) should be grateful we can experience this joy. And see that the light at the end of the tunnel is near so to speak.

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Childcare options. ‘Cause I had no idea.

Lily balance
Getting confident balancing

Lily is at home with me 24/7. It’s a blessing but holy crap it can also be a pain in the ass too. What I do with her? I’m not a creative person. I lack fun, stimulating ideas. Create some collage shit? Pretend play? Bounce on the beds and couch? Obstacle courses? Go to the park? Drive around singing at the top of our lungs/my lungs? 24/7.

She needs something else. Something more stimulating than mummas voice singing to her in the Macdonalds drive-thru.

So I started looking into options for childcare. Which TBH was a silly idea as we actually can’t afford for her to go into childcare. But I found out a bit of info on different options. And my OH MY there are many options. We are very spoilt for choice here in NZ, for that I am grateful! RANT: What ever you choose for your kid, your doing so because it’s best for your family and situation. Check multiple ones out, get a feel for them and make an informed decision that works for YOU.

I went to Kindy when I was little. I can remember making pancakes and wearing a crown when I turned 5 and the card I got had a balloon attached to it which you blew up and it inflated the elephants nose. My best friends were Kowhai, Elliot and Marcy. It was called Sunbeam Kindy, in Christchurch. When we moved away from Chch, I told the kids I went to Sunbeam Kindy and they all laughed and said I was crazy. This is because the mental institute in the new town was called Sunnyside. Not a great start to my schooling life.

So here is my very non-scientific research of options for childcare. Sorry if I get it wrong, this is my interpretation of it. Please comment/share to add to the mix. And DO check out the ERO reports of centres and pop along unexpectedly one day, to see the day to day goings on. You might be pleasantly (or not) surprised!

Daycare –  Sooooooooooo many variances and options nationwide. I won’t go into all of it as it’s too vast. BUTTT 20 hours free for over 3’s. Check out the ratios for both under 2 and over 2. Privately owned OR Government. ERO reviewed. More structure/routines but still free play! Open longer hours than other options.

Preschool – Exactly as it sounds. It’s a pre-school. They prep the kids to head off to school. *Usually from the ages 3-6. Privately owned, so they set the prices and hours open. More structured play, with routines in place to prepare kids for school. ERO reviewed. Open longer hours than other options.

Homebased childcare  – (Porse , kidsathome, privately run, regional centres etc) In a caregivers house. Caregiver is either part of a larger organisation or run their own. They can set the hours they are open and the fees. I believe the maximum of kids they can look after is 4?? (2 under 2, 2 over 2) but I could be wrong, so please correct me! ERO reviewed?

Porse NZ

Kindy – Hoping Lily will head to Kindy in the future, as well as attend playcentre. *Typically run sessions for 3-4yo and then 4-5yo. *Ratios can be higher than other options, up to 1:15. Personally, I wouldn’t want my 1 year old going to a centre with that high of a ratio, as less one on one time. But when they are older, we will look into it. *Teacher is ECE trained, with parent helps on board. Education for parents is not offered.  *Drop the kids off for  more free play, based activities with some structure to the day. ERO reviewed.

Kindy NZ

Te Kohanga Reo – Maori immersion programme. Most centres are fully or partly bilingual in Te Reo. Similar to Kindy/playcentre philosophies but very Whanau based and values of Tikanga are upheld.

Te Kohanga Reo

Nanny – In your own home environment. Lucky bugger to afford a nanny! However, there is such thing as a nanny share, where you get the nanny for x amount of hours and then they go to another family. = $ shared too! Win win!

Porse offer a nanny internship, where the person is studying at the same time as looking after/learning about kids. You do have to be around a bit more often than just leaving them with the nanny full time. But great option if you are working from home and around most of the time. AND it’s cheaper.

Porse NZ

Au pair NZ

Playcentre – (This is the only one that we have encountered, hence a longer blurb). Not exactly drop ya kid off styles, although some centres do an extended session, where kids can be dropped off. Playcentre is run by the parents, so you stay on the session with your kid.

*Ratios are between 1:5 and 1:3 kids. Ages birth – 6yo

*Centres can set the donation $, between $5-$50 a term, (we pay $25), their open hours, (8.30-1.30pm) and how many sessions per week open for (Monday-Friday). We can attend 1-3 sessions a week, 9-12pm.

*Govt funded AND rely on parental donations/fundraising.

*Education of the parents is compulsory. And by education, I mean filling in a booklet with a buddy, attending a termly meeting and going to workshops every so often. It’s not hard or overly time consuming but some people are put off by this. But consider that you are responsible for little kiddies early lives, it is kinda crucial. Pretty cool though, if you continue right up to higher level of education, you an gain a Diploma in Earlychildhoood Education. All while playing with yours and other kids.

Lily and slime
Lily and the slime

 

*Free play, very child initiated learning (by learning I mean play, because that’s how one learns); what the kids want to play with, it’s set up. Their interests from the previous sessions are built on. And you get to be apart of that. We bloody love it. And by we I actually mean we. Lily is thriving; She hoons around on the bikes with the boys, play pretend dolls/cooking, does actual cool crafty things, paints, gets messy with slime and foam, rules the sandpit, goes bug hunting with her BF….Her social skills have skyrocketed and I see all that, I get to be actively involved with it. AND I get to have HUMAN ADULT CONTACT, possibly make FRIENDS!! (If your reading this PC mums, please be my friend). I think it’s pretty neat.

Playcentre NZ

Montesorri/Rudolph Steiner – I feel kind of stink as I have lumped these 2 together but from what I’ve read, they have similar philosophies. AGAIN, correct me if I’m wrong!!

Similar to kindy but not so. The philosophies are different and therefore what goes in at the centre is different. Quite different to a day care/preschool option, with more kid directed/free play/collaborative/at childs own pace type ‘learning’. Best you look into it if your interested. This is another option we are thinking for Lily. (I was going to go to Steiner if we had of stayed in a different town to where we ended up).

Montessori NZ

Rudolph Steiner NZ

At the moment, Lily is with me and we attend playcentre. Things will change but currently, it’s working for us, and that is all that matters. And Lily still gets to listen to me singing my lungs out as we cruise the Macdonalds drive thru, as it’s on the way to playcentre. In fact the other day she ratted me out to husband, saying “Chicken muffin with a juice please…” Lil eavesdropper.

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Links you may find helpful

Brief overview of costs

The all important ERO review of centres

An interesting news article about what you need to know

How to be thrifty with childcare options

Options

 

 

 

Relatability. Or not.

1494998559115-2132542714.jpgI’m not sure I am relatable to you. At all. I’m not sure my posts ring true to anyone. I just ramble. But I ramble honestly. These random things that I write about actually happen. Not made up. For some reason weird things happen. This has been like this for my whole life. A bit of a comedy ’tis the life of Jess.

If some ramblings resonate with you, awesome! If it doesn’t, awesome too!

Recently, I’ve been a bit irked by some public figures or writers or influencers out there for parents. So much so, I can’t read what they are writing about. So much so I’ve unfollowed them (not that they will notice or care).

It’s not that I don’t respect what is being written. It’s just that I can’t relate to what is being written. I can’t connect. And I want to connect.

For example: I recently clicked on an article written by a mum of 2, granted it was an American article, and it was about traveling with kiddies when they are young. I thought oooo this sounds good, maybe gets some tips or inspiration, especially whilst on a tight budget.

No. I started to tune out when it went on to mention her 4 yo has been on over 120 flights and they have traveled to 15 countries in the past 3 years.

I’m sorry, what???? Are you a gazilllionaire??

She did have one piece of advice I nodded my head to. But the rest, I really just couldn’t relate to what was being said. I’m not being a sour tits either. I’m just not in that circle if that makes sense? And then I browsed her profile, as you do. And it confirmed that I just can’t tap into it comfortably; all the shineyess. All the beautiful (I admired them, but in passing) flat lays of gorgeously expensive kids clothes. The ‘I’ve-just-been-caught-in-front-of-the-camera-looking-all shy but actually this a set up with lights camera action’ pose of a well put together mumma and her bubs. The non-realness (for me) of it all. It is that lovely mums realness, just not mine.

I follow Constance hall. I find most of what she writes real, confronting, thought provoking, supportive. I also follow her because there is never any hidden or overtly explicit advertising (apart from self promotion of her book). I can start to read something and get half way through without feeling trapt that agghhhhh, this is an Ad! For those reasons, I can read on.

But I also understand that this is how people make their dollars. And I admire that too! If you can find your niche in writing and get paid for it, bloody hats off to you. Maybe one day that’ll be me. For now, it’s my thoughts and drivel.

And that’s the beauty of what is out there in the big wide interweb; things we can chuck away. Things we can turn our nose up at. Things we can steal snippets from. Things we can nod enthusiastically about in agreement and think Hallefuckingluyah, I’m not alone.

So I have no idea really what I wanted to achieve in writing this, if anything. Just another awkwardly worded and punctuated ramble about nothingness that maybe is geling in your frazzled mind or maybe is screaming what horse crap have I just read.

#sponsored #ad #nothere

Using baby wipes. A lesson learnt.

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Day 2 of chemical burn from baby wipe

Baby wipes. A universal godsend at times, not just for doing anything with babies.

Used for in the past for me: Stubborn eye makeup remover. Baby wipes. Deodorizer on the pits in summer. Baby wipes. No working showers at a camping music festival, where my bits needed a refresh. Baby wipes. Cleaning poo off bums (babies). Baby wipes. Host a coffee group with members of the community who I don’t really know but am trying to make friends and notice a 10 inch of dust on every surface so a quick wet dust. Baby wipes. This time baby wipes worked but no-one turned up so I just sat and wallowed, eating brownie I had baked and admired my dust free surfaced house. Alone.

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I googled other uses of baby wipes. Apparently you can use as an alternative to haemroid creme. Or clothing drawer sachets replacements. Or wiping your pets paws. Not gonna take that risk with our syko cat.

So we’ve used those single-use throw away little gems since ages ago.

What I didn’t vouch on happening is my beautiful babies face getting a nasty CHEMICAL BURN from using a baby wipe.

Scenario: We use them on her face and hands if out and about. At home, it’s a wet flannel. When I couldn’t find a clean non-cheesy smelling flannel in the drawer at breakfast time, I found a couple of wipes in a plastic ziplock bag. I didn’t put them there but I will use them anyway. (Weirdly at the time I had a gut feeling NOT to? But went against it. Weird.) Not really thinking why are they in the ziplock bag?

Within the hour, her wee cheek had red splotches on it. I thought nothing of it. By the end of the day the red splotches were more of an angry rash. But not bothering her. I think it’s a food allergy, possibly to the shit tonne of feijoas she’s been eating (baby wipes on bum needed in great quantities).

Next morning the rash has developed blisters. I think hand foot n mouth disease, as it’s going around. Doctor takes swabs of oozing blisters as he doesnt know what it could be. (At this stage I think NOTHING of the baby wipes). Tells us to keep it aired and gives antibiotics. Which Lily refuses cause it tastes like vomit mixed with earwax. Complete refusal.

Next day it’s looking so angry blistery oozing yuckness. Same thing. Air it and no antibiotics.

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Next day, I crack my toe so go to the doctors as it feels/looks broken *cough*drama*cough. Possibly broken but won’t x-ray as prego and it’s just a toe. BUT the Doc looks at Lily’s angry face and automatically says school sores. Cover it, NOT air it. Wait for swab results. So confused!

Do that. Wait 3 days.  Looks terribly angry still. Ring for results as haven’t heard. It’s not bacterial or viral or anything. At this stage I’m going through in my head what it could be. ‘Cause lord knows they have given no resolve. Blisters disappearing and scabbing up now. And shit I’m feeling the guilts.

And it clicks. Perhaps it was the baby wipe I used on her face 6 days ago? Because she has eaten feijoas since. And only thing from that is fun nappies for me.

I ask mum if she knows about wipes and she said about 3 weeks prior to this they went out and she put a couple of wipes into a ziplock bag. So that solves where they came from. But why would they react like that? They were quite ‘wet’ feeling when I used them?

So now: Scabs are gone but 3 pock marked scars on her beautiful cheeks and a deep scar on the side of her mouth remain. It is still red rashy and gets angry purple in the cold. I cry and cry to Josh. I have scarred my gorgeous girls face! All from using an old baby wipe. We don’t know the brand we used either so can’t avoid them.

That was an awfully long story but moral is: Perhaps don’t use baby wipes on delicate faces. Or if baby is sensitive. Or don’t use them if they have been sitting around NOT in their bought container.

And go with your gut instinct! It’s a thing! I felt weird using them but did it anyway and now bubba has a scarred face. #mummyguilts

Maybe stick to using them for haemroids, deodorizing and dusting last minute. I know that’s what I’ll be using them for in future.

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Warning: This is me telling the birth story.

Screenshot_20170505-071119As previously mentioned in my post Acknowledging it, I talk about sharing your birth story. And the cathartic feeling it may bring. This is me cleansing, releasing, cathartisising (made up word) before bubba 2 arrives. You don’t have to read it, it’s awfully long. But I did have to type it. Because I needed to. Because I’m shit scared.

So here we go. Like the labour, it’s a very long one.

Lilys due date was Thursday 25th June, 2015. Josh decided to stay home that day, because we had no idea Lily wouldn’t arrive on said due date haha. So clueless. SAAHHhhh clueless.

Thursday 6am. I wake and feel like I’ve pulled a muscle in my lower abs. It’s tight but ok. We have a midwife appointment at 10am.

10am. Feeling a bit sore, we head to her and all seems well. She mentions the pulled muscle feeling could be the start of labour. She doesn’t put me on a machine to check. No need. Head out for brunch. God it was delicious. But towards the end I feel I need to do a massive shit. Nothing worse than being in a cafe loo, and taking 20 minutes. Everyone knows you must be doing a poo. It was the most painful poo ever! I thought I was going to pass out. We left (realised later without paying!), and headed home. I begin to get a few more twinges down below.

4pm. I feel quite funny. We decided to go back to midwife to just check. Check what, I wasn’t sure. She checked my cervix. 1cm. Oh my God the excitement!! 1cm! It’s actually happening!

6pm. Home. Start swaying in the kitchen. Have some dinner. Feeling a bit more sore. After dinner we go for a walk which was a fucking dumb idea as my butt region feels like it was going to rip open, placing fear into my mind that the baby would be born out my ass. Get home and google ‘Can babies be born out your butt?’ Not the cleverest moment in this Biologists life….

8pm. We hired a tens machine and Josh had loaded the laptop up with some movies. So both got a bit of use; Me with the tens, hanging over the back of the couch on my knees saying owwwuchh, Josh watching movies.

Thursday Sleeptime. Or lack of. Not the most rested sleep ever. Lots of ouch moments, patting of my back and cranking the tens for distraction. Think I got an hour sleep? Whose counting.

Friday morning time. It’s been 24 hours since that first twinge. I’m tired and sore. No waters broken or no mucus plug fallen out. Mucus plug is such a gross sounding word! We stay at home til 10am, which we then go see midwife. Nothing more disheartning to hear that you are still about 2cm dilated. Its been 24 hours!! And it’s this painful????

Friday day. Home again. I actually can’t remember the day part. Other than; a fair amount of pain now. Tens machine was just a distraction from the pain and wasn’t doing shit. TV or movies weren’t being watched as they just made me angry. Timing of contractions, which went from like 15 minutes apart to 5 minutes apart back to 11 minutes to 8 mins to 4 to just all over the bloody show. Annoying, so we give up timing. Most of the pain is in my butt. Being on my knees, leaning over something is the best position. Sitting down or lying down is hell on earth.

Friday 5pm. Ring midwife for another check (Note: We live 15 minutes away from midwife, 15 minutes of absolute ass torture in that car with unpredictable contractions). 4cm! Woohoo! We tell her contraction times are all over the show, so it’s hard to gauge where we are at. She tells us to go home, rest (OK…) keep timing and if waters break ring and come in.

Friday 9pm. Not much difference to the day, apart from way more painful. I try have some rest. Josh runs a bath for me. Bath bring some comfort. But WTF is that red floaty jelly shit in the bath??! Panic! Take photos of said jelly shit as evidence..Get out, ring MW, she says whack a pad on and if it’s soaked within the next 20 minutes, come in. Ummm ok..so I’m meant to just bleed out and not panic…? Check every 2 minutes. Seems to be ok BUT me being me, I wanted to go to see her. Who wouldn’t? So I exaggerate and say there is still a bit of blood. She sounded reluctant but says come in. She gets a speeding ticket to get to the maternity unit, only to tell us (I proudly show her the jelly photos) it is just my mucus plug. She does a vaginal check, which is SO painful. My cervix has redilated?! It has started to reverse, so its gone from 1cm to 2 cm to 4cm and BACK to 2cm. She says shes never experienced this before. Cool. So I’m a freak. What does this mean? It means we have a long night ahead.

Friday 11pm. MW breaks my water with the ugly crochet hook (read my first blog) and I feel instant relief. Contractions are still scatty all over the place. Jump into the birthing pool. Ahhh nice.

Friday midnight-early saturday morning. From here on out, it’s a blur. In and out of the pool. Tens machine on my back. Decide to suck on the gas. Bit of a fun buzz for a bit. Then it just becomes a distraction from the pain but not actually masking the pain. Keep getting heartrate of baby monitored. Josh falls in and out of sleep while cranking the tens and holding gas for me. Me=no sleep. Cervix dilated to 4cm. But stays there til about 6am. MW sees my exhaustion and slow progress of labour. Checks baby HR and it’s decreasing.

Saturday 6am. It’s been 48 hours since that first twinge. I’m exhausted and going in and out of delirium. The call is made to get an ambulance to take us to Middlemore Hospital, 30 minutes away. (we aren’t at a hospital, just a birthing unit where there is no special medical intervention equipment). Blur blur blur. Turn on the lights and sirens Mr ambo driver! Apart from feeling like I needed to push out my butt. I swear google lied to me when it said ‘No you can’t have a baby out your ass’.

Saturday 8am. Say see you later to my MW, as she doesn’t birth babies at Middlemore hospital. That was so SO hard, being handed over to people who don’t know you. True fear starts kicking in. They start throwing around words; induction, cyntocin, epidural, c section, heartrate dropping, exhaustion, no progress, difficult position for baby. I break down. I’m spent. This is not the plan! Not how we wanted it! I’m so angry yet succumbing to the words. Drip of fluids go into me as I’m weak, as well as cyntocin, to get the labour progressing. Needle into the back for an epidural. Twice. Because the first time I can still feel shit.. fuckkkkkk its awful. But I’ve given in to the medical interventions. Blur.

Saturday 10am (so I’m told). Drugs kick in and take over my body and mind. No more pain! Sleep.

Saturday 11pm. Wake. Blur. Dilated to 8cm! Don’t jump for joy as can’t feel anything. MW on duty (the 3rd one we’ve seen) says I should try push as the monitor tells her I’m having a stromg contraction. Ok, lets do this! Bear down into the bed, push!!! Nothing. Do you know what is the weirdest feeling? Trying to push something out your fanny/ass when you can’t feel anything from your boobies down. And everyone encouraging you with their cheers.

Saturday 1pm. 2 hours of that cheerleading. No progress. Blur. But I do remember feeling every emotion. I feel defeated. Deflated. Scared. Angry. Sad. Scared again. What’s wrong with me? With baby? This time a team of doctors comes in as they are worried about baby HR and positioning. Something about slightly sideways but still head down? Twisted? God knows, I’m not taking it in. Try pushing again for another hour. No progress. C-section is scheduled. Fuck. (At this point I need to say that however baby is born, via c-section or vaginally, it is still a birth. It just wasn’t our plan. I salute you C-section mummas!) I lose my shit, not yet literally, that’s still to come. I can’t deal. It’s been only 2 hours of active pushing but over 52 hours since that first twinge. I’m going with 48 hours of actually feeling pain. And to be told at the end of all that 48 hours of shitness pain, I’m going to have a C-section that I have not mentally prepared for? Lost. My. Shit. Buttttt they are so busy in the Emergency department with other women and their c-sections, that I have to wait. HAHAHA. Waiting.

Saturday 3pm. I’m shaved, prepped and ready to roll into the bright lighted surgery room. God there is so many people in there, I think I counted 12. And they all get introduced to me. As if that will ease my nerves. Josh is there with me, giving me reassurance. He is my rock. I’ve never loved him more than in that moment. I despise everyone else in that room (even though they are trying to save my babies life and mine and are doing an absolutely amazing job!!) Everyone but one lovely lady who can see the exhaustion yet determination in my face that I don’t want this (shit I sound selfish, but that’s how it was in that emotional moment, not gonna lie). She tells the room “We are going to try to push a few more times”, much to a couple of peoples horror, gives me a wink and away we go again. Push push push. Nothing. And again. Nope. “One more time but this time with forceps” to which I actually say “No, please no”. Umm, Jess, you aren’t in control anymore. She sees it, she gets it. I like this woman. “Ok, once more but with ventouse (the vacuum)”

Saturday 3.13pm (so specific time, just guessing ya know). Push push push. Poop. Push push push. More poop.

Saturday 3.15pm. Lily Tessa Baker enters the world. In that moment, our lives have changed forever.

#cathartisising

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