Bennett David Kahl

Bennett David Kahl
I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers Ephesians 1:16

Friday, March 26, 2010

Words of wisdom...

From my three year old!

Yesterday, was our peri visit. It was another long day at the doctor with a drive by to Brandon's office so he could pick something up and then back home to fix Ellie's hair before her ballet class started. At the end of the day I went into one of my usual contraction spells where I was having regular contractions 6 minutes apart with small contractions between the big, painful ones. Ellie is usually banished from the bedroom when I am going through that because I need total silence in order to relax. After my demand dose had been administered and things were sort of calming down Ellie looked at me and said, "Oh, mommy...don't worry it's going to be okay." At that moment I realized that this is affecting her more than I ever wanted it to. I looked at her and I said "I sure hope so honey, I love you." She curled up next to me in my nest and fell fast asleep.

So, a sweet way to end a long day! The news was actually good at the office. We got in pretty quickly and before we knew it Dr. K flew in and started the ultrasound. Cullen flipped his position and his head is now in the upper right rib section of my body and his feet are down. I actually like that position better because I don't feel as much pressure down low and that reduces my anxiety a ton! We couldn't get ANY good pics of our little man this time because he had both hands up over his head and he was not facing us directly. His face has definitely gained some more chub though!

We looked at his brain, his heart, examined his PDA valve, verified once more that he is indeed an "hombre" (doctors words), and checked out hands, feet and measured bones. I love ultrasounds because I think it is fascinating to watch the miracle of life grow inside of me. I love when he moves on ultrasound and I can feel each of those never gets old because to me it is just such a huge blessing. At the end of all the measuring Dr. K looked at us and asked how much we think he weighs now. I have been doing an average weight gain for him and so far he has stayed on track for 4 ounces/week. So, I told the doc that I was sure he was 2 pounds 7 ounces. He looked at me in shock and asked if I could read the screen (which I couldn't...even WITH my glasses on!) He said I was dead on and asked how I knew. It was hilarious...I was basically guessing based on what he has gained over the last few weeks and I was right! So, I patted myself on the back and we moved on. I am excited about Cullen's size because he is about 2 weeks ahead of the twins as far as weight is concerned and as I always say...if he is going to come early we want him as big and strong as possible!

Next up, the cervical check. Praise the Lord there is still no cervical change. He measured me at 3.6 CM which is up .2 CM from his last measurement. I am perfectly happy with that! No dynamic changes and no funneling! I did ask him how accurate the Ffn testing was and he said over 99% accurate within the first 7 days and then they *think* it is just as accurate for the next 7 as well. Whatev! I was told not to worry unless I start to see some cervical change. I also explained about the regular contractions and hospital visits...his exact words to me, "I am not worried about your contractions." Well, that makes ONE of us!!! We still have to take every episode very serious because we never know if it will be the one that changes everything.

I then asked about betamethasone which is a steroid given in 2 doses 24 hours apart to help with lung maturation. He said he would give me the Rx to have it filled or he could give me the first injection in his office right there and B could administer the second one at home today. So, we took him up on it and got the lung steroids on board. This way if Cullen is to come early we have taken this precaution. Not only does this set of shots help with a preemie's lungs, but it reduces the risk of IVF (intraventricular hemmorhage...better known as brain bleeds) and it also helps prevent against NEC (necrotizing entrocolitis). If you have followed us from the birth of the twins you know that I was given the steroids AFTER my water broke with Bennett and he actually suffered from bilateral brain bleeds and NEC...the research does indicate that steroid shots given after ruptured membranes is not as effective as the shots given before ruptured membranes. I have asked my OB about receiving the steroid shots and she was less than thrilled to administer before 28-30 weeks. I felt like the better bet was trusting a doctor that deals with high risk deliveries ALL THE TIME vs. a doc that see's women like me every once in a blue moon. So, I am praying that taking the shots so early is actually a good thing, but in the end it won't really matter if we get him here at 36 weeks anyway!

I came home to a house that was newly carpeted and it looks AWESOME, but my poor overworked husband got stuck putting back all of our furniture and decorations. He has been so patient this entire week with painters, carpet men, landscapers, and being the one man moving company. To top it all off I had to call him at work today because my pump line had a 2 1/2 inch air bubble in it and I needed to change my site right away...before the air bubble got to the catheter. I truly can't wait for the day that I can be a good wife again and have the house picked up and a warm dinner on the table for him. We have both been through a ton and the great news is we only have 9 MORE WEEKS!!!! Single digits now folks!

Tomorrow, B has his soccer coach meeting at 9am, a birthday at 11:30 and another soccer coach meeting at 2! He is one of 2 coaches for Ellie's Hot Shots soccer team and he is as dedicated to that as he is to anything else he puts his name on in life. Sunday, will be a welcomed break as the girls celebrate Cullen's shower and B gets to have his "Man Fest" aka power hour with the boys! A little down time for all of us! Speaking of Cullen's shower...Ellie is just now starting to protest against all of this Cullen talk. Up to this point she has been the picture of happiness when it comes to Cullen. Now that presents are coming in the mail for HIM only her feelings are getting hurt. She has been more defiant the last few days and today she cried twice telling me she wasn't going to go to Cullen's party. Oh, boy...this is going to be some transition! I am praying that once he gets here she will "get it" and I just know she is going to be the overjoyed big sister that wants to hold him, kiss him and feed him all by's hoping anyway!

Picture update coming Sunday after the festivities. Happy weekend to All!


Monday, March 22, 2010

Today and test results

Today I am exhausted! I had to be up at the crack of dawn...okay, maybe not the crack, but it was the earliest I have been up in MONTHS!!! My wake up call was to come at 6:15, but I somehow managed to squeeze another 14 minutes out of the morning. I was off and in the middle of Houston rush hour by 7:15. Fun times!

I arrived at the office to collect my glucose drink and I was THRILLED to drink it b/c I was starving at that point and I needed the sugar. She told me I had only 5 minutes to drink that would be hard. I'm pretty sure she was surprised that I chugged it in a matter of 1 minute! All those nights of playing flip cup really paid off!!!

The long trek upstairs to the doctor always wears me out. I was in and the first set of best news came when I stepped on the scale. I lost 2 pounds the last appointment and I haven't gained anything since, so I am up to a total gain of 12 pounds!!! Although, I will be the first to admit I look like I've gained a TON more! These arms and thighs are pretty convinced they are pregnant too! Seriously, weight gain is the last concern, but the less I gain the less I have to lose in the end...I have all of my IVF weight to add to the pregnancy weight that I will have to shed before I squeeze into my bridesmaid dress for my little brother's wedding.

I also found out that I have been configuring my weeks totally wrong for the entirety of the pregnancy. I have been two days off and I have no idea how that happened. I am 26.2 weeks pregnant and I am measuring a week ahead still.

Cullen has been hanging out of my bladder for the last two days and I was sure I had another infection with the frequent trips I was making to the restroom. However, the doc confirmed no infection...just a very heavy little boy that loves to curl up and play bladder boxing with his mommy!

So, after the check up I flew out of the door...literally and headed downstairs for my blood work. Got to the lab and realized they didn't give me my lab slip upstairs. So, back up I went and I realized up there I left my cell phone in the exam room. Can you say flustered! After retrieving my phone and my lab slip I went back down the first floor lab only to be told I needed to head back upstairs for the other lab. Ummmm...that makes three trips upstairs! One quick blood draw and I was finally D.O.N.E! I requested that my doctor put the Ffn test as STAT, so I was anxious as I left the lab knowing that the results would be coming sometime today...with my fingers crossed.

My mom showed up to help me shop downstairs at Nine maternity for my shower outfit. Now, keep in mind I was up at the crack dawn and I had traveled up and down stairs 3 times, so shopping was the absolute last thing I wanted to do! I tried on a few outfits and ended up with "the one" probably because I was sick and tired of putting on clothes!!! I walked to the cafe down the hall, ate a sandwich and that was it for the day. At 11:30 I was in my car and on my way home.

I arrived home to find the window installer finished with Ellie's bedroom window and the painters deep at work completing the paint in Ellie's room and working in the office. Our painter is AMAZING and very inexpensive, so we decided to just have him refinish Cullen's dresser just to cross one thing off of B's to do list and it turned out perfect!!!

Side note: I am so stinking excited about the nursery! The colors are adorable. The paint is done. The crib is up. AND the bedding has been started! EEEkkkkk!!!! Thrilling I tell you!

Ellie got her very own package in the mail today and I almost cried when she opened it. My very good friend Heather, who is in the middle of her very own life altering nightmare right now, took time out of her life to order my babies the most thoughtful gift in the world. They received matching Big sister, Little brother shirt/onesie! I can.not.wait to see them in their outfits together. I love Heather and I would be so grateful if you would all offer up prayers for her and her family as she bravely fights the fight of her life...trying to beat cancer. Love you Heather!!!! Thanks for being such an awesome friend!

The next exciting event: The rest of Ellie's goodies arrived from Pottery Barn! Yea!!! So, once her shelves are up and the wall decals are on the walls her room is complete. Finally, for the first time ever my baby girl will have the room that I have always wanted her to have. I never felt like I took the time to make her room all her own because...well, after Bennett died I just didn't have it all together! So, finally we are almost done with Ellie's girly getaway.

The best news of the day came when I called the OB's office and got my Ffn results: NEGATIVE!!! Praise God, another answered prayer! The nurse said, "Now, lay down, drink lots of water and get some good sleep tonight!"

I feel relieved, but I know we still have to keep our guard up. We are one day closer and each day is a true blessing for our precious little boy. We are visiting the Peri on Thursday, so I will update with pictures and stats at that point.

I'm off to bed!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

My life in numbers...

My life in numbers:
25.3 - The number of weeks pregnant I am today!
26 - weeks pregnant when my water broke with the twins
28,6 - weeks pregnant when I delivered the twins
5 - weeks until my 1st goal of a 30 week delivery (not ideal, but it would mean survival)
10.4 - weeks until they will deliver our precious Cullen
1-3 - The number of contractions I usually have in an hour
5 - minutes between my contractions on Monday night
2 - hospital bags I have packed to rush to the hospital/doctor b/c of contractions
4.4 - length of my cervix as of yesterday (in CM)
9 - number of times I get stuck with a needle/week
2 - the number of pounds Cullen weighs at this point (at least)
1 1/2 - weeks until my shower...I am very excited about seeing friends!!
3 - number of hours I lay awake in bed in the middle of the night worrying about EVERYTHING!
0 - number of contractions I had on my strip yesterday
3 - number of contractions I had on my strip today...BOO!
10 million - things on my to do list!!!!!!!!!

The last few days have been just as up and down as the last few months have been. Monday was a good day and Monday night I was back at contracting 5 minutes apart. By Tuesday morning, they were 11 minutes apart and after my shower and call from the OB's office they were 7 minutes apart. So, we made our 2nd emergency trip in a matter of one week. Two hospital bags packed and two speedy trips to have tests and u/s done. After 5 hours of visits, doctors and tests we had good news from a bad/scary situation. My cervix measured 4.4 by transabdominal u/s with a VERY full bladder. That is the longest it has ever been...but, I watched them measure it a number of times. No funneling or change in dynamics. So, the verdict was that I am contracting very regularly, but they have not started to change my cervix at this time. Will they eventually? We don't know the answer to that. It is a "wait and see" game and it is NO FUN to be playing. I go back in on Monday morning for another Ffn and my glucose test and then next Thursday for my u/s. As long as the contractions aren't causing my cervix to change I am able to stay out of the hospital and as long as my body continues to respond to the terbutaline I am good. When the terb no longer can control the contractions I will be admitted for a mag wash and then hopefully I will be released again on the terb pump. We are PRAYING that the terb DOESN'T stop working and we can gradually increase my dose for the next few weeks if we absolutely need to just to get me through. I am currently on .09ML/5 minutes, .136ML/4 hours and .2ML demand dose as needed through my pump.

I am so sick and tired of hearing "well, you still have a long way to go" when I ask about a med increase or when I call in to the doctor. I ONLY have 10 weeks left people and let's face it...if I make it to 30 weeks we have accomplished huge goals. Every week beyond that is just another blessing. I am tired and scared. I feel guilty b/c I know it could be a lot worse than it is and if I "only" contract for the next 10 weeks than I consider that a huge blessing. The thing is I never know if the contractions are causing cervical change or not. To be perfectly honest, even if they aren't causing any cervical change knowing that you have 3 contractions/hour regularly is a lot for any mom to handle. I am trying to keep the stress level at a minimum, but some days it's just plain hard. I have found a new blog friend that is in a similar situation, although she seems to handle challenging news with much more grace than I do! Julie has a story that will break your heart. She is pregnant with her second little boy and just a few weeks behind me. Her story deserves just as many prayers as ours, so stop by if you get a chance.

On a brighter note, B did get Cullen's room all painted and the crib put together. It looks awesome! I will take pics just as soon as I get my new laptop back from the hospital! (another story for another day) I am borrowing my mom's Mac.Book in the meantime. Ellie's room has transitioned nicely into a "big girl" room and a room for guests to sleep! I can't wait to get the antique dresser painted and his changing table in (it's on backorder!). We have an exciting week next week with a doctor appointment Monday, painters and window installers on Monday, new carpet and another appointment on Thursday. Plus, my fun summer dresses should arrive from Old Navy and the last of Ellie's goodies from Pottery Barn for her room will be here! Yeah for getting some MAJOR tasks accomplished! B and I were laughing the other day b/c the last time I was on bed rest we had carpet removed and wood placed in our house! This time we are having all of the bedroom carpets replaced! There is something to be said for getting your house together when you are stuck inside of it for MONTHS at a time!

I want to thank all of MY blog friends and real life friends for your continued prayers. This is going to be a war...not just a battle and it will go on for some time. I can't say thank you enough. I am beyond grateful for those of you that add us to your church's prayer lists and send out emails to family and friends. We appreciate each and every prayer and kind word we receive.

Here I am on my second emergency trip! I look a lot better than the first time b/c I told them I was going to take a shower and paint my toes before I left! I couldn't imagine being admitted for good with out one last really hot, nice shower in my own bathroom and without painted toes!!! So, here I am in all my glory at 25 weeks 1 day!

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways. For as Heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8 - 9


Tuesday, March 9, 2010


and discharged…all in one day.

Where do I even begin this story?  The last 24 hours has been a literal rollercoaster ride in our lives and I HATE rollercoaster's!

I’m going to start this marathon blog post off with our appointments yesterday and move forward from there.

The peri appointment was awesome!  Cullen is measuring over a week ahead and is in the 69th percentile!!!  He is about 1 lb 12 oz and he is getting chubby!  I can tell he has put on pudge because we always get the 4D u/s and you can see every detail on those.

My cervix measured 3.4 cm, so it’s closed and there was no funneling.  All great news!

We floated downstairs on cloud 9 to eat lunch before our next appointment.  I was having horrible back pains for most of the day, but I didn’t pay much attention and really chalked it up to being out of bed for so many appointments. 

Our next appointment went just as well as the first.  I didn’t gain ANY weight and I actually have to correct last weeks update…I have only gained 14 pounds in 24 weeks!!! Woo-hoo!!!

Cullen’s heart rate was 151 and blood pressure is still good.  Next up, the Ffn test.  UGH!  I’ll spare you the gory details, but it was NOT comfortable at all.  She did say that my cervix looked closed and all looked good. 

Since I was seeing the nurse practioner I decided to ask her some comparison questions between this pregnancy and the twins pregnancy.  At 24 weeks with the twins I measured 38 weeks pregnant and yesterday I was measuring 26 weeks (I am only 24 weeks along).  I measured the same yesterday as I did at 17 weeks with the twins and I am 16 pounds lighter now…WOW!  Just a few fun facts.

The longer we were gone the more I noticed the back ache and a VERY heavy feeling in my lower abdominal area.  By the time we got home I literally didn’t feel comfortable standing up.  I got on the monitor at 8 last night and by the end of the session I was having contractions every 2-3 minutes.  I didn’t want to panic, but I knew something was very wrong.  I talked to the nurse and monitored again an hour later.  I received my scheduled dose of terbutaline and we were hoping that would make a difference.  I did see some change, but I was still having so many issues with one section of my uterus.  It was hard and bulging, but part of me thought it might just be a body part.  The problem with monitoring is that it is hard to differentiate between a true contraction and baby movement.  In my gut I thought something was wrong, but I let the nurse convince me to just relax and call back at 11pm if I was still feeling uncomfortable.  Well, I decided to just go to sleep and try to relax until the morning. 

And that is exactly what I did.

At 9 am I woke up and felt much better.  I was still feeling “heavy” in the abdomen, but not as many contractions.  I made a phone call and talked to Biddy and then I headed to the bathroom. 

My world stopped turning when I discovered blood.  It got even worse when I stood up and felt menstrual cramps in my lower back and across the front in that “heavy” section.  The past came rushing back and I ran to the phone.  I called the nurse and was instructed to go to the hospital as soon as possible.  I called B and he was doing 90 to get here as quickly as possible. 

Our family and neighbors came together to get bags ready and gas up my car for B to drive to the hospital. 

Through the uncontrollable tears I talked to my baby girl and asked her to remember to say her prayers and act like a big girl for everyone.  I really didn’t have time to think about leaving her for good for the next 11 weeks, but I could barely kiss her good-bye without actually feeling my heart breaking.  (thank goodness Uncle Mike was here…he was a marvelous distraction for Ellie as we left in such a hurry)

I made it into the car and the Indy 500 began.  I know B was just scared and my breathing through contractions wasn’t helping at all, but I couldn’t take one more corner at 100 one more time!  Brandon navigated the Westpark Toll road at 90 mph with our lights flashing and he even honked through the red lights.  It was…interesting, but we made it to the hospital in record time. 

As we pulled up to the gate to retrieve our ticket, I looked at B and said, “Today we are going to change the history we have at this hospital.”

Truthfully…I never dreamed we would be pulling up to the hospital that our son died in,  praying for the life of another child.  But, there I sat, in the front seat of my car with rain stained streets and construction workers walking around…praying that the life of our precious son would be saved and we would not suffer the same tragic ending we did almost 3 years ago. 

The wheelchair ride was almost as fast as the car ride and in no time I was in L and D treatment being admitted.  My name was already on the board and my room was waiting for me.  After changing, I was immediately hooked up to the monitors.  I was in excruciating pain.  I honestly thought I was going to deliver in the car on the way because I was having such horrible back labor.  In the hospital room I would have to pull both legs up to my chest because my abdomen was hurting so badly.  I didn’t know how much longer I was going to last and thoughts of delivery were passing through my mind.  Strong contractions every few minutes is probably one of the scariest things a mom can go through.  I finally gave a urine sample after the nurse mentioned that it sounded like I had a Urinary tract infection (UTI).  I am pretty sure I rolled my eyes at her suggestion b/c there was NO WAY a UTI would cause that much pain and that many contractions.  In the meantime, they drew blood and administered extra doses of terbutaline.  One was by shot b/c I had hit the limit on my pump!!!  Once my contractions slowed to about 4/hour I was sent down to the ultrasound room to check my cervix and look for funneling.  

The u/s was long because they were training a new tech, but it was thorough.  Our miracle had a great heart beat and he was moving all around!  We have been blessed to have tons of wonderful u/s in our time, but this one was one of the very best I have ever seen.  We got to see Cullen yawn (a BIG yawn) and then we saw his lungs expand and contract!!!  He is “practicing” breathing already!  It is much too early for him to know how to breath on his own, but the fact that he is strong and healthy enough to begin practicing at 24 weeks is an amazing feat.  It was an unbelievable site to see.  He was swallowing and sucking his thumb and…well, he is just absolutely perfect!  His feet are measuring 4.14cm…so, almost 2 inches long!  They measured my cervix by abdominal u/s and transvag u/s.  The first measured 3.4 (same as yesterday) and the second measured 4.2 with NO SIGNS of funneling!!!  It was all good news, so we went back to L & D with a little weight lifted off of our shoulders. 

On the way, we saw a very good friend’s MIL, who is a director at Women’s.  We were very blessed to have her do so many wonderful things for our family the last time we were at the hospital, so it was comforting to see her today. 

She said she was glad we stopped her and she was on her way into a meeting about the March of Dimes with the different department chairs in the hospital.  I told her about our family team success and she asked if I would mind “wheeling” into the meeting room and addressing the group of people inside.  She thought we might be a good start to getting them “pumped up” for raising funds for March for Babies.  So, in my wheelchair with NO make-up, NO bra and morning hair, I gave our story to a room full of about 35 strangers all sitting around a meeting table.  I cried…and so did a few of them, but our story is REAL.  Our family directly benefited from MOD and there we were again.  At 24 weeks pregnant fighting for the life of Cullen we were taking advantage of meds to stop labor…research for such meds funded by the MOD.  We are a prime example of why it is so important to donate what you can afford.  In the middle of this scary, heart stopping moment we could have made a difference to someone in that room and that made it worth it. 

After my sub-par public speaking experience I was wheeled back to my room and I got the best news of the day.  There was blood in my urine…they suspected a UTI as the culprit for the days issues!!!  Hallelujah!  I have never been more excited about an infection in all of my life.  My report from the radiologist was great and my OB wrote 2 Rx’s for the UTI.  I was given a list of “not to do’s” and told I was being discharged!!  So, almost 6 hours after it all began it was coming to an end.

I am tired, grateful, relieved, cautiously optimistic, but above all I am still pregnant and Cullen is still growing.  I am blessed.

To top it all off…I got the Ffn results on my way home…it was negative!  So, with 99% certainty I will NOT go into preterm labor in the next 14 days.  I am trying to trust the statistics and pray about them being correct.  All we can do is keep praying…

May Your faithful love rest on us, for we put our hope in You.

Psalm 33:22

Your prayers are so appreciated and your favors are blessings to our family.  Thank you all!



Wednesday, March 3, 2010

23 weeks…plus a few days!

UPDATE: My great friend C sent me this link and it was a SUPER DUPER DEAL!!!  I got my britax chaperone for 20% off with no sales tax and NO SHIPPING!!!  I would highly recommend this site:

I woke up this morning and thought to myself…”Self, are we really 23 weeks pregnant…” and the best part is that I AM!  I know I still have a ways to go before we are out of the danger zone, but I just can’t believe that we are almost 24 weeks! 

We have cleaned out the closets and are prepping the room to be transformed into our little boy’s room!  Fabric is ordered for the bedding, the crib is ordered, the car seat was SOLD OUT which was a bummer b/c I had a great coupon for it and our shower is three weeks from Sunday!  I can’t wait for all of it!!!

Pregnancy Highlights:

How Far Along:  23 weeks and 2 days

Total Weight Gain/Loss:  15 pounds but I am sure I will have gained more at my appt on Monday!

Maternity Clothes:  Yes…and comfy lounge clothes 

Best Moment this week:  Every moment of feeling Cullen move in my belly is the best moment!  Also, we had a home cooked meal delivered from a very good friend in Pearland!  She brought her 2 beautiful girls and Ellie was so thrilled to have a friend to play with.  By the end of the evening I had THREE bowls of pot roast and veggies…oh, it was delicious!!! 

Gender: It's A Boy – Cullen Spencer!

Movement: Yes, and it is AMAZING!  I know he is getting VERY large because the amount of movement visible on the outside in unbelievable.  

Food Craving: No kidding…celery and ranch dressing!  I probably eat four stalks/sitting and the ranch…well, I’m embarrassed to admit how much I consume.  Frozen veggies and mangos top the list of favorites too. 

What I miss: I miss not getting to take my baby girl to gymnastics, out to lunch, shopping, to the park…just getting to spend time with her.  I missed her first dance class, I will miss all of her soccer games and her first recital.  The good news is that this is temporary and next year, Mommy will be back!

Sleep:  Hit or miss.  I have TERRIBLE acid reflux and it always seems to be really bad at night.  I usually wake up about 4am and fall back to sleep around 6. Ellie is adjusting her wake up time (thank goodness) and is now waking at 9am rather than 10:30!!!

What I am looking forward to:  We see our Peri on Monday and then head upstairs to the OB for our Ffn test.  I can’t wait to see how much this little guy weighs and you know I have 9 million other questions.

Belly Button/Stretch Marks:  Innie and I think it will stay that way.  I have stretch marks from the twins and I’m hoping any new ones will be camouflaged by the old ones!!!

Interventions: Terb pump Q4 and monitoring at least once/day.  17P on Thursday’s, Lovenox once/day. 

Contractions: I had a few 2 minutes a part Sunday night.  Monday: none in the AM, 1 biggie in the afternoon.  Tuesday: 2 minor ones in the AM.  No irritability!

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:10

Fun times with my crazy girl!!!

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