Miscarriage and the recovery process.

August 1, 2018

I have not had much motivation to blog at all these past few months, but because I felt so blindsided by what I went through I wanted to share about what has helped in miscarriage recovery. So many of you shared your own stories with me. It helped me tremendously, and I will never be able to thank each of you personally the way I wish I could! A few very important people in my life also told me it was okay to take my time to grieve. If you know someone close to you who is going through this, I hope this post can help you understand the best ways to reach out to them as well.

I have 5 healthy children I am so grateful for. Even though these are truths I hold close, as a human being, I have grieved the loss of our little one and will always think of who she would have been. It is so important to acknowledge that no matter how many children you have, you can and should grieve the unique life you lost. The daily sorrow was strong in the beginning, and it was very hard to keep going forward.

I hesitate to share about what physically happened, but I hope this can be a way to bring more awareness to what women experience in a miscarriage. You have the option of a dnc surgery, but I chose to let it happen naturally. It takes the body a few weeks to detect the loss of the baby, so even though we knew we had lost ours at 10 weeks, we had to wait almost three weeks for the contractions to start. Had it not been for a dear friend of mine, a trusted family friend in the medical field, and Gabe’s research, we would have been in a really unprepared situation. I wish doctors would be more clear about the options you are given, and I really wish they wouldn’t tell you the loss of your “tissue” would be mild cramping. It couldn’t be further from the reality of what I experienced. I actually labored with contractions comparable to my natural childbirths at home with Gabe by my side while my mom took our kids to stay with her. It was on and off for two days. At one point, I passed out from the pain and intensity, and Gabe called the doctor to make sure we didn’t need to go to the ER from blood loss. Thankfully I was able to get through the worst of it, and I delivered the full sac in tact. It took everything out of me physically and emotionally, but I think it allowed me to fully grieve and process what was happening. We created a memorial for our baby with a blooming magnolia tree, and it gave us so much peace to be able to do so.

As my body healed, the grief has slowly lifted as well. It still hits me every so often in unexpected ways. Something will trigger the deep emotion of feeling like someone is missing. Driving by a hospital, seeing a dad holding a baby, hearing a certain song, or even seeing someone expecting who is as far along as I am supposed to be. It often catches me of guard, and I am tempted to bury the pain, but as my mother so wisely advised…I let it come. I let myself cry. I allow myself to feel the pain of the loss.

Everyone has different experiences because loss can occur early to full term, and everyone processes loss differently, but I did want to share some things I wanted to share that have really helped me personally.

Acknowledge the loss – I have talked to a few women who felt unsure why they felt so broken even though the baby was only so many weeks old. I know for certain when we hold onto pain and don’t allow ourselves to acknowledge a loss for what it is, that pain will resurface in some other place and time. The reason we named our baby was to acknowledge that I indeed grew a life inside of me for months (and felt every side effect of it), and very much indeed lost that life. Naming her helped me find acceptance and peace knowing that her existence was real and her loss was real. It’s okay if you are the only one who feels the loss as deeply as you do.

Ask for help – After we saw our baby on the ultrasound, and was told there was no heartbeat, Gabe and I both were somewhat in shock.  As we were both trying to process the news the medical tech had just revealed, our doctor came in to share the options we had for the weeks ahead. I felt like I couldn’t make any decisions, and I just wanted someone to tell me what the best option was going to be. Gabe was also having a hard time with the news, and just wanted to support whatever I chose. I started to try to think of someone who had been through this recently that I could ask advice from. I messaged a close friend who had just been through it a few months before. She walked me through what to expect if I were to have a natural miscarriage, and what I would need to prepare. Not only would that advice save me from hours on scary google forums, but her understanding of the situation gave me so much reassurance that this is something many women before me had been through, and I didn’t need to walk this alone. She also helped me understand what was normal to feel emotionally and physically. My sisters and my mother both stepped in when they heard the news as well. The day I found out we lost the baby, my sister offered to be with our kids, and she continued to check in on me almost daily. My mom and dad were always checking in on me. I get emotional when I think about my family, and the strength they were for me during the hardest days of my life. If you do not have family near by, don’t be afraid to ask a friend for help during the weeks of your loss. It is okay to need a shoulder to lean on, and chances are, the people you reach out to will be grateful you asked them. (If you do not have anyone to talk to, please know you can reach out to me!)

There is no timeline – We all feel things differently, process pain differently, and recover in different ways. If it is taking you longer to recover than maybe a friend seemed to, that is OKAY. There is no timeline or handbook for grief. There is no need to rush healing. Allow yourself the grace to feel, process, and ache. I am currently in the middle of it where I know my heart is healing, but I still have time to go.

Communicate with your spouse – There is no possible way for your husband to understand fully what you are experiencing inside of your heart and mind, so communicating what you need will help both of you!  I tried my best to explain the emotions I was feeling and he understood the importance of being present to me during this time. Gabe saw first hand what I went through physically, and he was an incredible strength for me during that time. Even though men may not experience the loss of a child the same way, they do feel it. Gabe was hurting in his own way, and we both made efforts to be a landing place for each other when we needed it. Sometimes Gabe could often tell when I needed to get out some of the emotion I was bottling up. He would sit next to me, ask me if it was okay to hold me, and let me just cry it out. A friend of mine told me she made a list for her husband to help him understand what she needed, because he was trying, but would often go into fix it mode or find something positive mode. This allowed him to understand ways to help even if that meant just giving space at times.

Counseling – If you do not have someone to talk to about your experience (especially if it was a traumatic one), consider reaching out to a counselor trained to help with child and infant loss and miscarriage. Two Hearts Counseling is an example. Karen can counsel even through skype. It doesn’t matter what faith or circumstance you come from.

Resources for pregnancy loss:

Books – My dear friend from college who has been through two pregnancy losses, immediately sent me a care package in the mail when she saw the news, including a devotional called Loved Baby. It has been so good to go through when I don’t have emotional bandwidth to process emotions. I also really loved “Grieving the Child I Never Knew.” These are spiritually based books that were such helpful aids for me. If you have children that are grieving the loss of a baby sibling, I have heard so many good things about this book. If you know of any additional books, please leave them in the comments.

Writing – My sisters who live far away right now all sent me care packages soon after the loss, and inside of those packages were hand written notes, quotes, and prayers that completely lifted my weariness. My sister hand lettered a quote by St. Marie Azelie “We will find our children again up above.”

I wish I knew who sent me a print with the name Cecilia Rose Liesemeyer at the bottom, and a quote that to this moment draws tears in streams from my eyes…. “You see, the child lives. Instead of the wind he hears the sound of angels singing before my throne. Instead of the beauty that passes he sees the everlasting beauty – he sees my face. He was created and lived a short time so the image of his parents imprinted on his face may stand before me as their personal intercessor. He knows secrets of heaven unknown to men on earth. He laughs with a special joy that only the innocent possess. My ways are not the ways of man. I create for my kingdom and each creature fills a place in that kingdom that could not be filled by another. He has never seen pain or sin. He has never felt hunger or pain. I breathed a soul into a seed, made it grow, and called it forth.” 

Communities – I know there are several communities for miscarriage, and even if you need that support for a short amount of time, it is worth looking in to. Women have the incredible ability to band together and lift each other up, and in this case, other women who have walked a similar road.

Physical and mental health aids:
Exercise – The science behind what our brain releases during physical exercise explains why it helped me so significantly to break a sweat and release some of the depression and sadness from deep within me. I joined a gym, and have been going a few times a week since the spring. It has helped with my physical post partum recovery as well as given me mental strength.

Vitamins and supplements – Thanks to the advice of my doctor and friends, I continued to take prenatal vitamins following the birth as well as liquid iron. Going through a natural miscarriage left me physically weak and dizzy for a few weeks after, and I felt completely depleted. These sources of vitamins and oils really helped to get me back on my feet, and feeling energy again.

Prayer – Over and over again. In good days and bad. Both when I have the words, and when I am numb. God has been so faithfully near through the people who have reached out during this time. The messages, the meals, the notes, and even on days of silence.  A relationship with God takes effort on our part, just like any other relationship, except with God He gives endlessly even when we have nothing to give back. He carries us when we are weak. He holds our burdens, and kisses our wounds. His love is relentless and pure, and it has sustained me during my darkest moments.

These have all been instrumental to recovery.

If you know someone who is going through a miscarriage, don’t be afraid to reach out. Some may grieve privately, but if they have shared about their loss it WILL mean so much to know you are thinking of them. It is easy to think you won’t have the right words to say, but even acknowledging the loss is so comforting to someone who is aching. Whenever a friend would send me a text, bring a meal, or mail a note, I felt so grateful that they would take the time to reach out to us. It didn’t matter what they did or didn’t say. It was ALWAYS needed and ALWAYS deeply appreciated.

Our due date would have been November 8th.  Despite all of this, I am thankful she came into our lives. I am immensely grateful for the 5 beautiful children that are with me here on earth. I hesitated to share this post as I am acutely aware of the gift of my children here with me. I think it is important to acknowledge that you can grieve the loss of a baby you will never know no matter how many children you have. I know that this baby left me with a greater empathy for women around me going through this.

Thank you for reading, and for your support, love, and kindness!

Leave a Comment

  • I am currently in the middle of our third miscarriage. This one has hit me the hardest and the devastation I have been feeling at times is unbearable. Your words could not have come at a better time ❤️

  • I’m never a commenter on blogs I read, but I just needed to, to say thank you so very much for your bravery and honesty to write this post. As someone who’s recently gone through this for the first time, this would have been a really helpful resource. I pray that God continues to work in your healing and brings your family closer in this time.

  • Such a beautiful and helpful post. I will definitely share it. Another book I loved was After Miscarriage by Karen Edmisten.

  • Gosh, this sounds so similar to my first miscarriage. The delivery – and I call it delivery because that is what is was – was so traumatic for my husband and I. I passed out too and hit my head on the bathroom counter. Our sweet girl had arms and legs. Why do doctors downplay this? No one prepare us for this experience. We had our sweet girl cremated. We weren’t sure what else to do. We actually had a D&C scheduled but didn’t make it. I am so sorry you had to experience this. I know this period of time can be very isolating and lonely but know in time you start to see more light. Your heart is forever changed though and has a special place just for that little babe.

    • Nicole – I agree. It is heavily downplayed which does us no favors as we before, during, or after the experience. With every suffering though, we are given an opportunity for greater empathy for others going through it. I am thankful for women like you who have made me feel less alone in all of this! Thankful for her life and what it taught me!

  • Jacqueline

    Thank you. For all of those words and all of that love. Loss is indescribable yet here I found words I could relate to. So thank you. Blessings to you and your beautiful family.

  • We grieve hard because we love hard. I too am dreading what should have been my November 30 due date. The healing process is so much easier when you know you’re not alone. Your words are a timely balm. Thank you for sharing.

  • I am here in Alabama, crying for your loss. The part where you said you can’t wait to hold Cecilia in heaven, and that this aspect inspires you to live a better life, broke me down.

    I don’t understand why things happen, but I do have faith in God, and I’m so glad you have a relationship with Him to help you through your grieving. (And the everything else in life, too.)

  • Thank you so much for sharing your story. The entire time I was reading I kept thinking me too, me too..
    My due date would’ve been Nov 19th. I found out at 14 weeks our baby left us for heaven. Then a week ago to my shock I found out I miscarried again at 4/5 weeks. Which almost no one knows about. There are so many feelings about what’s happened and I’m still processing and grieving but knowing that I’m not alone make it’s a bit more bearable, a little less lonely. And I feel more willing to share my own experiences when the time is right. So thank you for being brave and open and vulnerable..

    • Lindsay, a loss of a baby can leave us feeling beat up physically, emotionally, and mentally! I am so sorry for your loss and please know I am keeping you and every woman who commented here close to my heart in prayer! x

  • Oh Anna. I am so heart-broken to hear of your loss. Tomorrow is the anniversary of the baby we lost to miscarriage 5 years ago, and my heart still grieves for that child, even though the grief has changed over time. It’s part of love, I think, and a truth I will live with forever. You brought me back to those early days of grief with your words, and this was a gift to remember how deeply our babies were loved, from the very beginning. Peace & prayers to you, especially with all the dates on the horizon to come.

  • Good morning,

    I just want to say firstly, I am so sorry for your loss.

    Your words touched me very much. I must say, the way you have written this devistating process has shed a new light on me. I for one was so touched with your raw emotion and will be a better, co worker friend, or relative if someone is grieving with this loss. Thank you for sharing, God bless you through your healing.

    Kind regards,
    Liz Beaver

  • Viktoriya

    I’m currently pregnant a second time having lost the first pregnancy early on. My due date was supposed to be October 18th and the miscarriage was completely devestating as it was my very first baby. I’m afraid of the upcoming date as well so having you mention the same worry shared my burden. What made it worse is that nobody acknowledged it as a baby because it was early and that ripped me apart even more. Thank you for this post. For the first time I don’t feel so completely lonely.

  • Thank you so much for sharing this. I’ve experienced two miscarriages now, and one thing I’ve noticed, is how often, women think they need to suffer in silence. This post is going to be such an a valuable resource for so many women who have gone through this. Thank you for writing from such a placeofvulnerability.

  • I’m so sorry you had to go through this, and I am so grateful that you shared your experience. When I struggle with my miscarriage and ectopic pregnancies I always find comfort in stories that tell me I’m not alone. I also feel that a little piece of me dies with each loss. I still hope to accept that some day. Sharing that you felt the same way was really powerful for me. Thanks again. I hope to someday hold my child in my arms and I am glad that your children have been so loving. Trust me—Self care is the only way through grief!

  • Yes. Yes. and Yes. Doctors need to stop saying you will bleed and have mild cramping just like your regular cycle. It was so physically painful and caught me off guard. For me, next year marks 6 years since our loss. I still feel the weight of sadness. Grief isn’t linear. Thank you for the courage in sharing this. It WILL help so many women. Continuing to pray for you and Gabe.

  • My mother and father had 11 miscarriages before and in between my sister and I. We are 29 and 26 now, and she still calls us her miracle babies. She still mourns for those hard years. Know that strong woman of all ages stand with you. She tells me that she never got to have a normal happy birth experience. The doctors told her (she is a doctor herself) that her and my father were not compatible. Doctors recommended after my sister was born with a low platlette count to not try again for me. She persisted. I was born with low plalettes as well, but my aunt (her sister and a doc) was there to give me her blood the second I was born. She felt the strength of her family. My mother is not religious, but she had faith in what was meant to be, that she is stronger and more empathetic because she knew such intimate loss. Know that as your children get older, and learn what miscarriage means, that they will respect your strength and mourn your loss and heartache. Our hearts are with you and Gabe.

  • Thank you so much for this.

  • Thank you so much for sharing this. I had our second miscarriage in May and it was completely different from the first. I was so thankful for a friend to walk me through wheat to expect. We also plan on planting a magnolia tree and I’d like to get a tattoo of two magnolia blooms for our two babies in heaven. Again, thank you for sharing your story and this wonderful piece. God bless you and may our sweet saints in heaven watch over us and intercede on our behalf.

  • Thank you for your honesty and raw emotions. It’s so hard to talk about and all of our experiences are different, but we have a common thread. Reading these comments and reflecting on my 2 losses that were so very different, but both heartbreakingly traumatic make me so thankful for the support I had throughout my experiences. Learning a lot more about self care this time around because I have a little one to take care of now, but I know that November 21 and March 17 will never be easy. Loved everything you shared in this and praying for peace for you.

  • Elizabeth

    I’m so thankful that you are writing about miscarriage. Our family has been through three losses and each one was heartbreaking. The first two were early and I was not prepared for the physical trauma of my third, later miscarriage. St. Bernard of Clairveaux wrote the following to a family enduring miscarriage and I found it so consoling: “Your faith spoke for this child. Baptism for this child was only delayed by time. Your faith suffices. The waters of your womb — were they not the waters of life for this child? Look at your tears. Are they not like the waters of baptism? Do not fear this. God’s ability to love is greater than our fears. Surrender everything to God.”

  • Kristina Chatfield

    This beautiful, Anna. I never experienced the loss of a baby, but my sister miscarried twice – her first two pregnancies. Her second miscarriage came right before I found out I was pregnant with our first child. The hardest thing I ever had to do was tell her I was expecting. It was a challenging time for both of us, because she wanted to be happy for me, but she was still grieving her own baby, Thankfully, she became pregnant with her third shortly after, and our two babies were only 4 months apart and have grown up together. I so appreciate you sharing all these things – both for mamas who experience loss and for those of us who want to know how we can best support our family and friends when this happens.

  • Thank you for sharing your story. I haven’t personally experienced child or pregnancy loss, but my SIL delivered her baby boy earlier this year at 32 weeks and he did not make it. It’s been a rough year and my daughter (6) especially has grieved so hard for her lost cousin. I’ve struggled with how to be there for my SIL, but not be too overbearing. I still don’t like to bring the loss up, but I’m always there if she wants to talk. After reading your story, I realize it’s ok to talk about and that it really does help with healing. Thank you for that.

  • I would have been due Nov 8th too, and am am now experiencing another loss. This one would’ve been due in February. I am so, so sorry that you are going through all of this but I am grateful for you sharing your experience. Your words are comforting. I agree that this whole journey has made me want to be a better person: a better friend, spouse, sister, daughter, and one day – hopefully – mother.

  • Your story was very moving and a wonderful tribute to your daughter. So often we are encouraged by well meaning people to just move on from our lost like it never happened.

    I read your story tonight and remembered the little one I lost and not long after I finished, my little rainbow boy woke up needing extra hugs. Little does he know I needed his hugs just as much tonight.

    God bless you and your family. Someday hopefully we will all get to meet all our little ones face to face.

  • I’m so very sorry for your loss. We lost twins at 20 weeks so I’m familiar with so much that you wrote. One book that helped me so much especially since I had a healthy 2 year old at home to be mommy to was “Mommy please don’t cry: there are no tears in heaven”. It’s a children’s book with beautiful illustrations. I read it to my son (and now my daughter, who is my rainbow baby) every year on the twin’s birthday. You spoke of fear over the pending due date. I knew that would be a hard day so we celebrated their lives by having a dinner party serving what I craved during my pregnancy (roast beef and mint chocolate chip ice cream). I told my friends via Facebook and on that day I received pictures from all over the country of people sharing that meal with us. The love we felt was overwhelming. It helped me re-claim that day and not dread it so much. I also blogged my whole grief journey (http://called2bow.blogspot.com/2015/11/so-what-actually-happened.html?m=1).

    • Meghan, I cannot fathom going through the loss of twins so far along, and I am so sorry you had to go through. Thank you for sharing this book and the idea of celebrating the due date. What a beautiful though. This was so touching to me!

      • Thank you for sharing this piece of your heart for others who have experienced miscarriage or know someone who has. I am so sorry for you and your husband and family’s loss and will keep you in my prayers especially with your rainbow baby on the way. I came across your beautiful blog just a few weeks ago by listening to Among the Lilies. I think I may have even read this post on miscarriage before I just found out last Thursday at 14 weeks along that our baby had passed away a few weeks prior. I thought it was so beautiful (and looking back now, maybe even God’s way of preparing me) and came back to it at this time I needed to read something like this most. Everything you said above has been so helpful and I have this page pulled up on my browser to refer back to things you’d said. My husband and I are scheduled to go in tomorrow so I will be given medicine to push our baby out. The doctor did not recommend trying at home since I was further along and was afraid of complications.You are right that after something like this happens you see the world and others with a whole new perspective. Again, thank you so much for this much needed gift of your heart for all of us women here in this position.

        • Adrienne, oh how heartbreaking. I wish you didn’t have to go through it! I hope it is just a starting place of many more avenues of healing and restoration as you grieve the loss of your baby. Count on my prayers as you enter this trial! x

  • Wow. Reading this post and all the comments has helped me so much. Both of my sisters and many of my friends have experienced miscarriage and infertility whereas I have not. Sometimes it’s hard for me to talk about with them because I’m not sure what to say to comfort them and don’t want to say anything offensive considering I have two healthy kids and don’t have first-hand experience.

    I tried talking to one of my friends about her miscarriage, but she brushed it off like it wasn’t a big deal, and that was so confusing to me.

    Up until last year when I read another woman’s blog post about miscarriage, I didn’t even know that a woman could naturally deliver a miscarried baby. I feel so ignorant, but like you said, people don’t talk about this! Why?? Why don’t doctors acknowledge these things? Do they think women aren’t strong enough to handle the truth? Goodness, if anything women are the strongest for having gone through it. I admire any woman who is strong enough to brave the unknown and trust God with a human life!

    Praying for you and Gabe! Men definitely feel it too.

  • Thank you so much for sharing this, Anna. I particularly appreciate your mention of the physical process, because no one really talks about that. I haven’t had a miscarriage, and from the little I’ve heard I never would have guessed that the process can actually be the labor experience with contractions. Thank you for your openness and honesty!

  • Anna,
    I’m so sorry for your loss of little Cecilia Rose. This month will be the 5th anniversary of us losing our little boy Peter Jude on Aug. 29th. That quote from St. Zelie Martin was a huge comfort to me during my loss as well. Prayers for you all.

  • Hi Heather, Thank you for your note, and I see how you might come to this conclusion. However, you must have missed my first post. I specifically talked about how much this experience has helped me to see my children for the miracle that they are, and how much of a light they are. I am so deeply grateful for them, and am acutely aware of what a gift they are to my husband and I. I have watched many friends, and even my own family members struggle from infertility, and this is something I am also so sensitive to. This post is simply just an experience of a pregnancy loss so that it can be of help to other women going through it. I think it is possible to draw conclusions about someone quickly when only reading a small fraction of their life, and believe me, this is the last thing I wanted to write about. I don’t have the answers of why some women experience loss, some infertility, or some able to have children. I do know that we are all fighting our own battles, and the best we can do is lift each other up along the way.

    • Shauna DG

      A beautifully graceful response Anna, thank you for always being so honest even on such a vunurable part of not only yours but your family’s lives. Even the blessed fall and even the blessed feel pain. This is your story to tell, and again thank you for doing so. ❤️

  • Thank you so so much for writing and posting this. Having gone through two consecutive miscarriages, I really appreciate having this resource. Not only for myself, but to pass onto those near and dear to me. Although I do not have any books to recommend, I found this website helpful (http://adrielbooker.com/miscarriage-memorial-ideas/) for how to remember your child if and when you feel the need. I also strongly agree with either chatting with someone who has had a similar experience or doing some research (or, if too painful, having a spouse or sister, dear friend, etc. do it for you). Being prepared in every sense (material needs, spiritual direction and support, etc) will truly help when the moment you’ve been waiting for arrives. It’s so hard to make decisions when you’re in the middle of it. So much love to those who have experienced or are currently experiencing this. Our hearts are made to love.

  • […] If you are going through this and need someone to talk to about it, please don’t ever hesitate to reach out. A follow up post on this topic: Pregnancy loss and the recovery process. […]

  • Dear Anna, I know this post was long ago and I just read you are pregnant again, congratulations on your little rainbow baby! Anyway I didn’t want to pass the opportunity to let you know this post is wonderful and it has helped me a lot since I went through a miscarriage a few weeks ago. I haven’t read before anything as sweet and generous as you have shared here. Thank you.

    • Paloma – I am so very sorry you have to go through a miscarriage. I wrote this post to offer consolation and hope, and I am glad you found it. I hope you continue to find healing and peace! Much love~

  • Thank you for this – I’m in the middle of miscarrying our seventh baby – five on earth and this one joins a brother in heaven.

    • I’m so sorry to hear you have to go through it a second time. Wishing you much peace and healing and an abundance of love from those close to you!

  • I so so appreciate this post. This is probably my fourth time reading it in the year and a half that I’ve been following you on Instagram! I’m commenting with a question. A dear loved one just lost what would have been her first child very close to full term. It has been devastating for our family, and I can’t imagine how she must be feeling. I sent a care package and I’m hoping to also send a guided prayer book in a week or two. She isn’t religious and had a secular wedding. But I do think she believes in god and heaven. Maybe kind of just not actively thinking about faith or seeking religion. Of the two devotionals you mentioned, which one would be more fitting? Maybe if an author also lost their first pregnancy, or maybe if one doesn’t assume a lot of faith in Jesus? or do you know of a more fitting book? Thank you Anna!! You are an amazing comfort in this world!!

  • Thank you for posting this. It has been so helpful and comforting to read this, even three years after the original posting. I especially appreciate the details, as I felt more prepared walking through the same journey. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow, and you have been a blessing to me, Anna.

  • Thank you for sharing, Anna. I know this post is a few years old but reading this now as I am miscarrying our second has been very comforting. God bless you and your beautiful family.

  • Anna, I’m rereading this post after miscarrying my first baby at 9 weeks. My husband and I are grieving deeply. I’m so grateful for the words and experience you share. This post is several years old and you now have 7 children on earth – praise the Lord! He is good. We are praying for our rainbow baby in His timing.

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