Epi or no Epi? Why? - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-07-2007, 03:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am on my third and older and fear that I am not going to be able to handle the pain this time. My two oldest were both 100% natural. For my first my IV fell out and I was too chicken to get the Epi. For my second he was coming too fast and it was just too late for one. I have a big fear of having a needle in my back!!! I really want to try and go natural again but fear the pain will get the better of me this time. Any advice would be helpful! Thanks!
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Old 09-07-2007, 04:13 PM
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My 2nd was a vbac and I had an epi. I pushed for 45 minutes.

My last was drug free and she was out in 3 pushes...I think that equals 5 minutes LOL. Immediatly after having my dd I could walk around. The drugs from the epi will make your baby a little lethargic which could effect nursing.

With my first I had a headache as a result of the epi for several weeks.

Your having kid #3 and he will come faster then the last one. Oh and while your getting that needle in your back you'll be in a fetal position having contractions. That was no fun.

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Old 09-07-2007, 04:27 PM
 
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You're right to have a fear of needles in your back. Although it is a common procedure these days, there are still risks - some very serious, and Im sure a quick search on this board or others will tell you why.
From a personal standpoint, I labored naturally for 14 hours of induced labor, the last 5 of which under heavy doses of pitocin. All the while the hospital staff continually offered me an epi. At one point when I was vulnerable at the peak of discomfort, and my DH was out of the room I had a moment of weakness and asked (okay, begged) for the epidural. Turns out that I was in the latter stages of transition, and my son was born less than 15 minutes after it was in.

Once you are given the epi you cannot get out of bed, change positions, etc. You will be flat on your back until the baby is born. This will also require you to have a cathedar, as you will not have the freedom to use the restroom.

I had back pain in the area surrounding the injection site for probably 3 weeks following the removal, all for what was, effectively 5 minutes of pain relief. Finally, I was disppointed in myself because I know, deep down, I could have made it through without the epi if I'd had the support I needed, and not had it offered to me every 30 minutes for 14 hours.

You've already had two babies naturally, you are a strong woman.
I have no doubt that you can have this third one naturally as well.
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Old 09-07-2007, 04:29 PM
 
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After 3 days of contractions I broke down and got an epi... I was so exhausted by that time that all I wanted to do was sleep. Unfortanetly it was spotty and they couldn't seem to fix it so I didn't get to sleep but I did get to rest, which helped when I started to push. I think they turned off the epi though when I started to push because by the time dd came (2 hrs later) I was feeling everything, she wasn't lathargic and was able to breastfeed moments later, and I could walk around soon after that.
I must admit I'm terrified that I won't be able to handle the pain this time and will want that epi as at seemed so easy last time. Wish I could give you some more advice... but I think I'm in the same mind frame that you are.

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Old 09-07-2007, 04:29 PM
 
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There are a number of risks to the epi, I had one with my daughter (a VERY poorly "managed" induction). I ended up with a fever (which I believe was a side effect of the epi, it's listed as one, and I do not believe that I had an infection) the fever resulted in me getting I.V. abx, and my daughter having to have blood drawn at birth to check for infection.

I pushed for 2 1/2 hours and had to have a vaccum extraction and episiotomy. I believe both were a side effect of the epi.

My daughter had decels that I believe were directly related to the epidural (and pitocin)

Epidurals can also cause a severe drop in blood pressure. They can result in spinal headaches (like another pp mentioned)

I still have a bump (kind of like a zit in size but not a zit) where my epidural was administered, and I still get pain there every once in a while.

If you managed to have the first two natural, I'm sure you can manage the third. Have faith in yourself!
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Old 09-07-2007, 04:32 PM
 
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oh, AND my epidural ended up falling out at the shoulder the tube coming out of my back was fine, but where it connects at the shoulder it disconnected) and there was an alarm that kept going off as a result, they couldn't figure out why. That resulted in my epidural wearing off toward the end of pushing (thank goodness, or I think I'd have ended up with a section)
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Old 09-07-2007, 04:34 PM
 
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I had epi's with all 3. I did wait until I couldn't take the pain anymore to get the epidurals, and with the first two, I got the epidural, and they were born within 2 hours. With my third, I waited until I thought I was going to pass out and then consented to getting one.: Before the anesthisiologist was done, I was complete, so it didn't even help.: I had no side effects, and all my babies nursed immediately.

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Old 09-07-2007, 04:59 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snookler View Post
You're right to have a fear of needles in your back. Although it is a common procedure these days, there are still risks - some very serious, and Im sure a quick search on this board or others will tell you why.
From a personal standpoint, I labored naturally for 14 hours of induced labor, the last 5 of which under heavy doses of pitocin. All the while the hospital staff continually offered me an epi. At one point when I was vulnerable at the peak of discomfort, and my DH was out of the room I had a moment of weakness and asked (okay, begged) for the epidural. Turns out that I was in the latter stages of transition, and my son was born less than 15 minutes after it was in.

Once you are given the epi you cannot get out of bed, change positions, etc. You will be flat on your back until the baby is born. This will also require you to have a cathedar, as you will not have the freedom to use the restroom.

I had back pain in the area surrounding the injection site for probably 3 weeks following the removal, all for what was, effectively 5 minutes of pain relief. Finally, I was disppointed in myself because I know, deep down, I could have made it through without the epi if I'd had the support I needed, and not had it offered to me every 30 minutes for 14 hours.

You've already had two babies naturally, you are a strong woman.
I have no doubt that you can have this third one naturally as well.
:

I had an intrathecal when ds was induced. Never planned on it. But they tried 4 times to get it in and really messed up my back. I had to have physical therapy and chiropractic work done when I got the money, but it literally hurt me to move an inch or bend for months afterwards.

The pain of birth was nothing compared to the debilitating pain of a back injury. Please examine the risks before you get one.

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Old 09-07-2007, 06:01 PM
 
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I absolutely say no, only because I firmly believe that childbirth is not a medical procedure, and interventions can only lead to problems... more interventions, etc.

This is a great article: http://www.compleatmother.com/articl...ain_free.shtml

No. Unless my life is in danger and I need a doctor, no way is a needle going in my spine. I've had three pain-free natural labors, and this one will be #4. How do I know this? Because my mind and body dictate the pain level, and I say there will be none.

Good luck in your choice!

SANDRA, 41 year old VERY laid-back mama to VERY free range kids Brett (16), Justus (11), Autumn (4), and Ayla (1)... four perfect NCB's! :::
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Old 09-07-2007, 06:12 PM
 
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Absolutely not. Epidurals have serious risks to mom AND baby. I would not risk it.

But then again, I wouldn't risk a hospital birth without serious medical reason either.

-Angela
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Old 09-07-2007, 06:30 PM
 
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Ummm... what makes you think you're going to have time for an epidural this time if you didn't have time for one last time? If I were you, I'd plan for not having it either way... because missing out on that relief that you had planned on may make things seem worse.

Besides that fact, as pp have mentioned... Epidurals aren't really a great idea because they can lead to further interventions and c-sections.

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Old 09-07-2007, 06:45 PM
 
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I had an epi with both of my previous births. My first because I feared the pain of labor and it's what I thought I "should" do. The epi was placed wrong (twice!) and I only received some pain relief on one side of my body which wore off quickly. The second time was when I had my twins (vaginally). My OB basically insisted on it but I didn't fight either. : This time the epi took but I got a spinal tap (where the fluid around your spinal column is leaking and causes a WICKED headache) and had to have a blood patch 2 days later to stop the leak. This time, I am planning a homebirth which will obviously be unmedicated. I am SO EXCITED to be taking control of my labor and birth and not handing it over to others. I KNOW I can do this and looking forward to feeling and experiencing the entire birth process.

You can do this!!!!! You have birthed 2 other babies without medication. There is no reason to think you won't be able to do it again.

Karen - Mama to Haven (9/00) , Lillie & Faith (MZ - 12/02) and my first homebirthed baby, Willa (3/08)
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Old 09-07-2007, 07:03 PM
 
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I have only delivered one baby. I had an epi. I had one of the worst panic attacks of my life right after it was adminisitered and then felt so vulnerable and paralyzed as I laid there in the bed for the next 7 hours.

I'm no fan of pain, but I like to feel in control and it definately was not doing it for me.

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Old 09-07-2007, 07:07 PM
 
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Oh, if you want a totally objective pros-cons to an epidural, then I suggest getting The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer(I believe that's how it's spelled, someone correct me if I'm wrong)
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Old 09-07-2007, 07:13 PM
 
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Why on earth won't you handle the pain this time? You're a pro now, you've given birth naturally twice! Hooray! You can't be THAT old that it's going to be so much more sore now. Sounds like a case of pregnancy-panic. If you are worried get yourself a good birth partner, midwife,doula to get you through it. Of course it can be sore and you may break down and beg for an epi, which you may then regret because the possible side-effects and complications are serious. Start thinking positive now. You have done it before, this time will be easier and quicker, you will be FINE!
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Old 09-07-2007, 07:19 PM
 
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I gave birth to my two first two children without pain relief, but the third time was so much more painful that I asked for an epidural! However, what I got was a different type of spinal painrelief that worked really well for me, and which I can recommend, should you get to the point where you feel that you really need something.

I don't know what it's called in English, but it's just an injection in the spine, no tubes or anything that needs to be left there, so you can move about as normal after the injection. It doesn't give numbness to the legs, just perfect pain relief.

Also it wears off in one and a half hours, so they timed it to be gone before the pushing stage.

In Norway this is given only to women who have given birth before, not to first time mothers.

It worked perfectly for me.
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Old 09-07-2007, 07:26 PM
 
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I think you can do it without an epidural. Having labored and birthed without any pain meds with dd, I KNOW I can do it again. Don't let those doubts creep in. The "pain" only lasts for so long, it is not for forever.

I have had people tell me "you already proved you can do it naturally, just get the epidural this time". It wasn't about proving I could do it, it was a choice I made in the best interest of my dd and myself. I too am afraid of the epidural needle, as well as the concern of side-effects.

Your body knows how to birth, don't let your mind take over and convince you that you can't do this again. Of course, it is your decision to make, but I want you to know that I firmly believe you CAN labor and birth your third baby without an epidural!

Best of luck

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Old 09-07-2007, 09:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by rabbitmum View Post
I gave birth to my two first two children without pain relief, but the third time was so much more painful that I asked for an epidural! However, what I got was a different type of spinal painrelief that worked really well for me, and which I can recommend, should you get to the point where you feel that you really need something.

I don't know what it's called in English, but it's just an injection in the spine, no tubes or anything that needs to be left there, so you can move about as normal after the injection. It doesn't give numbness to the legs, just perfect pain relief.

Also it wears off in one and a half hours, so they timed it to be gone before the pushing stage.

In Norway this is given only to women who have given birth before, not to first time mothers.

It worked perfectly for me.
I expect it's one of many options not available in the US.

-Angela
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Old 09-07-2007, 10:17 PM
 
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I'm more scared of the pains an epidural could cause (headache, backache, etc) even without "serious" complications (like paralysis etc) than I am of "regular old childbirth" ...
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Old 09-07-2007, 10:44 PM
 
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I gave birth to my two first two children without pain relief, but the third time was so much more painful that I asked for an epidural! However, what I got was a different type of spinal painrelief that worked really well for me, and which I can recommend, should you get to the point where you feel that you really need something.

I don't know what it's called in English, but it's just an injection in the spine, no tubes or anything that needs to be left there, so you can move about as normal after the injection. It doesn't give numbness to the legs, just perfect pain relief.

Also it wears off in one and a half hours, so they timed it to be gone before the pushing stage.

In Norway this is given only to women who have given birth before, not to first time mothers.

It worked perfectly for me.
maybe a sterile water injection? or nubain? (neither of which are that strong, tho)
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Old 09-07-2007, 10:53 PM
 
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I really feel it's all about your mindset. Don't fear the pain, look at it like "yeah this will be painful but I'm strong and I'll get through it, I've done it before and I'll do it again." Forget epis and meds exist. Don't go into it thinking "well I may need one, I'll see" go into it thinking "I'm not getting one, I may moan and it may hurt like a #$$&% but I did it twice and I'll do it again!" Develop a mantra- my favorite is "freak not, fear not, follow your breath" if you just focus on your breath and focus on the pain without fear there is nothing you can't take- it's when you run from the pain and question yourself that you never are able to escape it.

Stay mobile, upright, and out of bed. Change positions, listen to music without words (that way you won't be thinking "oh I've already listened to this CD 5 times- this is taking too long!"), and work on getting to a place where you KNOW that you can and will do this and that you'll be happy you did it naturally when its all over.

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Old 09-07-2007, 11:04 PM
 
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At the hospital where I am birthing, they do not offer 'traditional' epidurals where you are numb and cannot walk. They do have 'walking epidurals,' and while I know that is a misnomer, it seems that if you are going to be medicated, a lower dose is better. My understanding is that while most women cannot walk around per se, they can move their legs, don't have to be given a catheter, etc, so perhaps it's a lesser of two evils.
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Old 09-08-2007, 12:34 AM
 
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Please explain sterile water injection and Nubian. I've heard of them, just not as in detail as the epidural. Personally, I plan on going without. I figure if God didn't think I could do this, I wouldn't be doing it. I have faith and trust in God, in my natural abilities and in my baby's abilities for me to give birth. As it is, I would prefer a home water birth with a midwife, but since we moved in my eighth month, I figured conventional medical care was the best way to go. As it is, at least, the birthing class did focus on not only breathing, but natural pain relief methods and natural methods of moving for helping/speeding labor.

Thank you for the different opinions and advice.
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Old 09-08-2007, 12:37 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbitmum View Post
I gave birth to my two first two children without pain relief, but the third time was so much more painful that I asked for an epidural! However, what I got was a different type of spinal painrelief that worked really well for me, and which I can recommend, should you get to the point where you feel that you really need something.

I don't know what it's called in English, but it's just an injection in the spine, no tubes or anything that needs to be left there, so you can move about as normal after the injection. It doesn't give numbness to the legs, just perfect pain relief.

Also it wears off in one and a half hours, so they timed it to be gone before the pushing stage.

In Norway this is given only to women who have given birth before, not to first time mothers.

It worked perfectly for me.
Intrathecal. That is what I was talking about in my post.

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Old 09-08-2007, 02:31 AM
 
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They won't do interthecals at my hospital because of liability issues. I think they are worried about people falling down or something. Who knows? I had an epidural with my second but I was already 7.5 cm and I had had horrible prodromal labor and no sleep for like 5 days. I delivered less than 30 minutes after the epidural and I still had the urge to push and felt the baby crowning. I think I had the best epidural ever though, maybe it is because I waited until transition to get it. My first birth was an unmedicated induction, with 9 hours of pitocin labor, I don't think I'd do that one again. I don't regret my epidural the second time around, at the time it seemed like a really good decision and it helped me get through the last half hour or so without being so exhausted. Pain is exhausting!
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Old 09-08-2007, 02:33 AM
 
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I absolutely say no, only because I firmly believe that childbirth is not a medical procedure, and interventions can only lead to problems... more interventions, etc.

This is a great article: http://www.compleatmother.com/articl...ain_free.shtml

No. Unless my life is in danger and I need a doctor, no way is a needle going in my spine. I've had three pain-free natural labors, and this one will be #4. How do I know this? Because my mind and body dictate the pain level, and I say there will be none.

Good luck in your choice!
I LOVE THIS WAY OF THINKING.... I too believe that our beliefs and expectations become our reality. I also will have a comfortable birthing...without an epi. I had an epi with dd1... the pain of the spinal headache that nearly ruined my postpartum time and our nursing relationship and the disappointment in myself that I suffered with for a long time after was definitely not worth it. You can do it... believe in yourself. Look into hypnobabies.

peace
jen

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Old 09-08-2007, 02:33 AM
 
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I think it is wonderful that you have birthed two babies naturally. I had planned to birth my son 100% natural but after 8 hours of very intense back labor (he was posterior) I got an epi. I had a wonderful experience. I got one two hours after my breaking point, and had it on a low enough level that I still felt the contractions. When it was time to push I turned it down even lower so I could really feel each contraction. I was able to walk right after giving birth, my son nursed easily, and actually he was awake ALL day ,no sleepy like some posters mentioned. I know there is a stigma against epis, and I hope to birth this baby naturally, but for me for my last birth I felt like I got the best of both worlds. I labored all night until 1 the following day at home, and 8 hours in the hospital all drug-free. Then I got to relax, recharge and get ready mentally to greet my baby. I pushed for over 2.5 hours and he was delivered in the posterior positioning.
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Old 09-08-2007, 03:00 AM
 
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I'm sorry, I haven't read the whole thread but I'm just gonna barge in & share my .02.

I've never had an epidural & never will. Not even considering what research says about their negative side effects & possible permanent damage & the nightmarish sounding headaches I hear about, I will just never even get past this: I am absolutely terrified & sickened by the thought of a giant needle coming towards my SPINE! I mean, I think that I would jump up and RUN AWAY even if I were in transition if someone threatened to stick that in me! None for me, thanks!

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Old 09-08-2007, 03:17 AM
 
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Some thoughts...

* If you go in expecting to need pain relief, you will need pain relief.

* If you learn alternate ways of managing pain (hypnobabies, hypbirth, Bradley, Lamaze, whatever) you will have more control over your situation and more choices.

* If you did it twice before, you can do it again!

* There are times when eipidurals are wonderful, as some women here have described. There are times when they're awful, as some women here have described. You won't have a chance to interview the anesthesiologist's last 10 patients and find out just how good *they* are at it, and even if you could, there are physiological differences that also determine how well an epidural works (or doesn't work) for you. It's a blind procedure; they're going based on a detailed knowledge of TYPICAL spinal anatomy. If you're not typical, the experience of getting the epidural can be really awful, and can have nasty side effects.

* Even if you have a "walking epidural," my experience is that they don't actually allow you to get out of bed even so. It means you can bridge up (put your feet on the bed and lift your hips) and roll over without help... but you still get a catheter, because you're too likely to fall over and hurt yourself if you walk to the bathroom. Catheters SUCK.

I don't remember if you said how far along you are... if you have time, you might want to take a Bradley class. Not only do you learn several approaches to pain management (including managing your own fear about birth, since fear increases the perception of pain), but you learn about the various interventions, the risks and benefits, and how to decide if you need them. Yes, there are cases where epidurals may make the difference between a vaginal birth and a c-section. Actually, there are a LOT of them... but much more often, they'll turn what could have been a normal birth into surgery, rather than the other way around. :-/ It's not a magic wand; it's a procedure that can have specific benefits, carries specific risks, and has a WIDE variation in effectiveness for different people.
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Old 09-08-2007, 03:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the support ladies! You were all very helpful!

Due to a car accident I already suffer from lower back pain. I had back labor for my first and front and back labor for my second. I think that's why I am fearing the pain so much (it was horrible). But I am going to try and get my mind set to natural child birth again. I am going to tell my CNM not to offer it to me at all during labor. God willing I will be strong and get through it like I did before. I seriously don't want that needle in my spine!
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