The following is a text message correspondence between Toby Joe and me. It took place over the course of several hours on May 18th, 2010. I reprinted it word-for-word, so please try and overlook any grammar and spelling errors.

There is a backstory at the end of this post.

May 18th, 2010 8:51 AM

(From the doctor’s office.)

Michele: Had to pay upfront. 8900 on AmEx. We will get paid back. Lots to talk about. Give me a call later. Or I could put it in an emal.

Michele: I’m a little bit freaking out.

9:10 AM

Michele: You probably should have come to this. You have to inject most of the drugs this time as they have to go into my butt muscle.

Michele: But I’ll teach you.

Toby: OK. So is 8900 the total? Not 15,000?

Michele: No, there’s more later. It will be around 14 and change.

Michele: You have to take antibiotics starting tonight for 10 days.

Michele:I think this will work, but I do worry still about miscarriage. They said it’s probably not wise to do genetic testing to the embryo because we have no issues.

Michele:We have a perfect kid but I would love for him to have a sibling. But emotionally I think we need to say no more after this. If this doesn’t work I need to give up. Let’s make a deal an stick to it.

Toby:I agree.

10:32 AM

Michele: Head full of information about IVF now. Feel much better about it. It’s freaky but kind of awesome what they can do these days. I had no idea. I am waiting to talk to the nurse.

Michele: You will need to take care of injections. I hope this works. I may ask that you schedule some vacation days if poss. I’ll let you know.

3:19 PM

(From home)

Michele: Can’t do IVF this month. August soonest. I am so sad.

4:17 PM

Toby: Why not?

Michele: Too much to explain and I’m not even sure. I have a call into doctor. Assistant called. Left me message.

Michele: Fucking heartbroken.

Michele:I ovulate twice between the time they close and open again in July. I’m just barely holding myself together. I need hope of some sort and now it’s just waiting some more, experiencing more failure. Just terrible. Em is going to be three.

Michele: I just hate this. I feel completely alone, which I hear is normal but still. Maybe it’s time for some serious antidepressants.

Toby: Or therapy. This is about being able to cope and you keep getting deeper and deeper (as people do) and seem unable to pull back at all. You could use this as a welcome break if you had the right perspective but you’re stuck in a loop of obsessing and clock watching and though that is understandable it’s causing you misery. that means you need help pulling back in obsession. Maybe a month or two is a good break. But you won’t take it you will read more and more online and continue to make yourself ill. Being able to switch gears would make it much easier for you. That isn’t meds — it’s a skill I think.

Michele: There’s nothing left for me to google. I have researched to exhaustion. So really the next two months will feel more like purgatory as I have felt almost every day since the miscarriage.

Michele: Only worse because I’m not doing anything and Em is getting older. And I hate that.

Michele: I can’t not try. Just can’t. We have to try even if it’s naturally.

Toby: OK

Toby: I want a kid more than you know but don’t talk about it so it doesn’t get worse. But I am able to focus on other things. You aren’t. That’s the difference. This has become 100% of your self wroth. Not just something you want but can’t have. I stay hopeful but focus elsewhere and it usually works fine. But you seem to attribute all self worth to being pregnant. It’s not about you or your worth or anything. It’s just something – one of hundreds – that we want but haven’t yet been able to have. Those things won’t go away.

5:05 PM

Michele: Doc said I have to go on the pill in June. So no natural try then.

Michele: Apparently I have one bitch of a follicle that began to form already and if I start medication for IVF, I’ll likely only get this one follicle since it already started growing. And that’s a waste of a cycle. meds for nothing. Naturally the hopeful idiot inside of me says wouldn’t it be poetic if this actually works naturally? After all this time, this little lone gangsta follicle directly responsible for keeping us from doing IVF ends up being our next child?

Michele: This is what hope is. And I have learned to loathe it.

Toby: Gangsta! Ha!

Gangsta Due: February 13th, 2011

(A mere eight days after the due date for the baby we lost.)


Toby Joe and I went through 6 months worth of Clomid and 5 failed IUIs (intra-uterine insemination). In April, we went through one round of injectables and then another failed IUI. In May (after vowing we would never go that far) we decided to try IVF.

Why the sudden rush? My doctor’s office always closes for a month and a half starting at the end of May, so we decided to try immediately. It was a whirlwind decision and we hit the ground running all within a 24-hour period. (Long story, but cycle days matter big time with IVF cycles. Oh, the things I have learned.)

We had a day to get everything going. That day was May 18th, 2010.

And I wish I could have written about the year we’ve had—how hard it’s been. I wish I could explain how lonely infertility is. I’ve read that it can ruin a marriage; I get that now. Granted, my marriage did not suffer. If anything, it brought us closer together as a family.

But my reclusive behavior has destroyed a few friendships over the year. And for that I’m sorry. But to quote a friend of mine who went through it, “Infertility is a huge mindfuck.”

It so is.

For whatever the reason may be, I wasn’t able to share this with people. For the first time in my life, I’d gone private—totally dark. That was difficult. I have always been a very open person, willing to discuss all things personal. But not this time. And I am not sure why that is.

It’s been hard—really hard. I can’t write that enough. If you’ve ever dealt with infertility, you know. I don’t need to tell you. If you haven’t, you’re lucky and I doubt all the words in the world could really explain.

I will never, ever move beyond what I went through over the past year. Even now, I worry that just by writing this out loud, I’ll miscarry. I’m getting heart palpitations just looking at that button: PUBLISH. Every time I go to the bathroom I look for blood. And at every ultrasound I am waiting for the doctor to tell me there is no longer a heartbeat. Five people knew I was pregnant up until Saturday. Five. I don’t trust this. I’m scared to death. But I’m trying.

For now, at 13 weeks, things look good. And I have to try and focus on that.

Miscarriage and infertility may remove one’s innocence, but all the heartache in the world won’t take down hope. And for that I am grateful.

To quote Chase from The Royal Tenenbaums: “I’ve had a rough year, Dad.”

But things are looking up.


  1. Oh my god, I’m so, so happy for you guys! This is wonderful news.


  2. Congratulations. I am happy and hopeful for you!


  3. Congratulations!

    I know a lot about hope.

    I know a lot about infertility through my friendship with Cecily & those I’ve met through her. I know a lot about loss and pain and heartache, too.

    It makes me sad that you went private when I know there is this incredible online community of people who know exactly what you’ve been going through, but I get it. I’m just sad you had to go it alone like that.

    I am hopeful with you and for you and for Toby and for Em.

    Love! xoxo


  4. I am SO happy for you. Wishing you the absolute best!


  5. if you’re doing so much googling, you may already know this, but new research says “Women who conceive in the six months following a miscarriage lessen their chances of suffering another by one third.”



  6. So happy to hear this wonderful news for you! Grow, baby, grow!


  7. Hopeful congratulations are in order! Wow, this is such lovely news to hear.

    Since we’re focusing on good things, can I put in February 15 as my guess for the wee one’s arrival? That’s my birthday and I have no qualms sharing it. :)


  8. Congratulations! Wishing you all the best.


  9. CONGRATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  10. congrats! i’m so happy for you and your awesome family!


  11. Yay! Wonderful news! Happy Birthday to Em!


  12. Oh my gosh! I am so happy for you guys. This is awesome news.

    I completely understand all the worry, though. As I mentioned in an e-mail previously thanking you for your entries regarding your miscarriage, I had a miscarriage in June. Or so they thought. Three weeks later, we discovered it was actually an ectopic. I am doing okay now – though, still waiting for the hormone levels to drop to 0.

    My father-in-law (who is a lovely, wonderful man) asked me if I learned anything from this. I know he was just feeling awkward about the whole thing and didn’t quite know what to say, and it just made me laugh. And then I said I have learned something – reproduction is hard!

    Congrats again. And thanks again. I have turned to your words many times – they have helped me realize that things can be okay after pregnancy loss.


  13. Congratulations! Even though we’ve never met, I wish you, Toby Joe and Em all the best. Been following you for a few years, and this made me smile. Best wishes!


  14. Oh, Michele! CONGRATULATIONS. I’m so sorry for the year it’s been, but here’s to sunshine (and your newest little one) on the way.


  15. Congrats!!!! I’ve always felt close since our 1st children are very close in age… I’m so happy for you. I got tears reading this. :)


  16. You are not alone. I’ve been through all of it: miscarriage, depression, fertility treatments. I still don’t have the positive pregnancy stick, but I do have hope. And now I have a little more.

    Thank you, and congratulations.


  17. I am whispering congratulations at you! And silently eeping into my hands. Eeep eep eep! I know there will be worry, but all will be well. And all will be well. And all manner of things will be well.



  18. Greatest news ever. Congratulations and Gangsta High Fives all around.


  19. Eep eep eep indeed!

    Oh Michele. Oh oh oh…..oh….


  20. Congratulations.
    I have no idea what you’ve been through but I do know that now, by letting all of Us in on the news, you have so many people wishing you well and sending you all the love in the world.

    I’m so happy for you guys. Huge hugs to your little family.

    xo Sarah


  21. Congratulations and my best wishes to you and your family! I know how hard this year has been for you and hopefully it will turn around to be a bit rosier. My fingers are crossed super hard for you guys, but a cute baby for you is worth the crooked fingers :)


  22. OMG – Congrats!!!!

    As a fellow Infertile, I so appreciate success stories from others who have struggled. Without the IF Blogger community, I would have absolutely withdrawn from this whole mess. Instead, I have support from ladies who understand and feel more open to talk to my husband about things.

    I’m so happy for you!!!


  23. Oh, Michele. Great news! I wondered if you were struggling with this when you went down under. I was crying reading your texts–so painful and raw.


  24. Happy Valentine’s Day! Yay!


  25. Congratulations Michele, that is such great news! Sending continued hopeful vibes to you.


  26. This is wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! I am so happy for you and hoping that everything goes smoothly from now until delivery.

    Also, I hope you put Gangsta on the birth certificate.



  27. Wow, you guys type long text messages!
    (and congratulations, awesome news)


    1. Thank you, everyone. But I’m not going to be totally OK until I’m holding this little fucker. And even then, new worries start. Sigh.

      Taratory: You don’t know the half of it. Sorrow and desperation had me writing novels to Toby from the fertility doctor. The number of tears I saw there, both of sorrow and of joy (but more of sorrow) had me wanting to share what I was seeing and experiencing with someone.

      So, yeah. We wrote a lot while we went through this. I had a lot of time to kill I guess. And thank goodness the iPhone stores them all. :]


  28. Congratulations! I have been through a similiar experience as you, and am so happy to hear that your hope has survived and that you and your family are on your way to a happy ending (or really, a happy new beginning). Best of luck with everything, and I look forward to following your progress in the coming months. Thanks for all you’ve shared – it’s really been a help to those of us in similar situations!


  29. Congratulations and thank you. I went through a miscarriage in June and re-read your posts about your own. No one knew I was pregnant and no one knew about my miscarriage (except my husband). Your words really helped me through. I feel like I am also caught in an endless loop of googling, as I had to wait three months following the miscarriage to try again (crazy, weird complications) — and all of that was after a cycle of IVF. I have a frozen embryo transfer in a month and, although you and your gangsta managed to do things naturally, it gives me great hope. :) I have kept my struggles with this completely private – no one knows outside of the doctor’s office besides my husband – and I am glad that when you decided to share, it was such awesome news. You’ve made this total stranger’s day. Thank you.


  30. You and Toby are definitely an amazing testament to what marriage should be like! Such support and understanding and patience! Your kids are blessed to have such grounded parents! Congratulations to you both!


  31. Michele, I am so, so happy for you, Toby and Emory. I don’t know what you’ve been through this past year personally, but I know how you’ve been feeling. I’m glad you finally have hope. :)


  32. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by mihow, Lana Stewart. Lana Stewart said: RT @mihow: Hope: http://tinyurl.com/278n3d2 […]


  33. Congrats to you, Toby Joe, and Emory! What wonderful, exciting news.

    I, too, struggled with infertility, and it is a terrible, awful, isolating thing. I would not wish it on my worst enemy.

    Good luck to you! :)


  34. I wanted to talk about it. I really did. I kept thinking it would help to get it off my chest, but I just couldn’t. I know that’s common too. And I suppose in time I would have opened up about it. But it was very hard.

    I don’t like knowing that there are so many women—no, couples—going through this. I saw it far too much and I hate it. It’s a horribly lonely feeling.

    My gosh, everyone. I just hope that those suffering from this finally get what they wish for. It’s not a pleasant place to be. And I had a son already. I can’t imagine what it’s like for those suffering without a successful pregnancy.

    My deepest, most sincere condolences to each and every one of you.


  35. Congratulations girlfriend!!! So happy for you and your family. You give me hope :-)


  36. Congratulations! This is wonderful and really so not fair to have to jump through all these hoops, is it?

    I am at 10+ years now as a long-suffering hopeful mom. Those failed marriage? They happen. Happened to me after years of trying, tens of thousands of dollars wasted on trying, and years of ensuing depression. I failed him. We failed each other.

    I am remarried now and after MORE money spent trying we’re pursuing adoption. Tens of thousands MORE money, and no sure thing in my future. And I, too, suffer(ed) in silence. I’d like to write a book about this one day. I’m not sure I can peel away enough layers of myself and reveal enough of my private life to make that happen.

    I wish you all the best – one day at a time!


    1. Erin: I wish I could favorite comments. Your words gave me goosebumps. I wish you nothing the best. I really do. And I’m so sorry for your heartache.

      Adoption was to become our next discussion. Well, we’d had preliminary discussions about it. One more go—one IVF—and we’d have started to pursue that route. (For those thinking, Why not go straight to that? There are so many unwanted babies out there! Well, it’s unbelievably costly. Much more so than fertility drugs/treatment. They make it very hard to do. It’s a huge process and a different type of heartache.)

      Who knows, maybe we’ll still do it one day. If they’ll let us.


  37. Oh, my dear ones…. I am SOOOOOOOOO happy for you.

    :):) :)

    Sending you many many many hugs.



  38. SO AWESOME!! (Again, so sorry for the yelling. Am excited for you.)

    I am thrilled for you. For real. (I can’t imagine going through the fertility craziness. I was a wreck after trying for only three months. Having to deal with doctors, etc. would have been the ultimate “mindfuck”.)

    *lots of hugs*


  39. I was holding my breath while I was reading your post, hoping for a happy ending! Thank you for being so honest about your journey. You and your family deserve a happy ending!


  40. I am sending a big cross border hug your way. Awesome news! Maybe a valentines day babe?


  41. So excited for you. Iui worked for us for #1 and I can’t stop thinking about what we will have to go thru for#2.
    You conceived easily before, right? Infertility sucks but I am glad you are talking about. So many blogs helped me after my two miscarriages.
    I hope you are able to enjoy your pregnancy. :-)


  42. YAY!!! I always wondered if a little someone was in the making whenever you posted!


  43. I’m praying for you! Congrats to you both!


  44. Wow, congratulations to you and the whole family!


  45. Congratulations on the gangsta! Very happy for you.


  46. Awesome, awesome, AWESOME! I read you all the time but rarely comment, but here I am. Congrats!!!


  47. michelle and toby! congrats!! i am so so happy for you and em!


  48. eeek. i meant “michele.”


  49. Crying. So happy for you three (four!). Wish I could say more right now, but that’s all I got right now. So so so happy for you guys. and hopeful too.


  50. I am so happy for you Michelle! Years ago I came to your site via Kim’s and have followed you more or less since then. Now I’m commenting for the first time because I’m so feeling with you, actually I’m even crying of happiness. I know exactly what you are going through! I’ve been there, last year has been the hardest of my life. I know everything about the obsession to google, the desperation, the pain that lead me to start therapy last november after years of struggle and waiting and finally 1 failed ICSI in october. In december last year they transferred a frozen embryo which is due to come to this world in 3 weeks from now! I’m still a bit worried but 2010 was mostly an incredibly happy year for us! I can’t express how happy I am for you, everything will be fine in the end!


  51. Congratulations, this is wonderful news! Thank you for writing about what you have been going through, I’m so sorry for all that you’ve had to endure. I’ve had the shittiest, loneliest and hardest year of my life too and came to your blog many times for comfort. I understand the non-stop train to crazy which comes with trying to have a child and I am so happy that you are closer to getting off of it. Sending you, your boys and your lil’ BK gangsta positive vibes and prayers, Elizabeth


  52. All I can say is that I am so happy. I’ve been where you’ve been the last year and it is not somewhere I’d ever want to go back to. My heart is happy for you right now! May you have a fabulous pregnancy, easy delivery and an amazing child at the end of this!! Much much much love!


  53. Michele,

    Congrats to you, Toby and the Gangsta!

    I’m sorry for all the heartbreak you suffered to get to this point.


  54. Congratulations x1000 Mihow!

    So happy for you.


  55. (From a former regular commenter who just decided to drop by)

    That is great news guys…I was reading the back and forth getting the chills as my wife and I went through IVF last year. IVF is amazing, scary and while you are going through it you think nobody else can feel the way that you do at that very moment…man was I wrong.

    Our lovely, amazing and hilarious little daughter was born in March and I would not trade it for the world…we went through almost the EXACT cycle of failures and “almosts” to end up with a perfect little creature that keeps us up at nights and brings tears to our eyes with smiles and coos.

    I know how horrible the IVF world seems but do yourself a favor (and everyone that comes after you to this amazing treatment). Be a resource, offer help in the form of advice when people ask and no matter what make people feel like they are not going through it alone. One of our very good friends went through it after us and it was such an amazing thing to be able to calm them or answer a question they did not want to ask a stranger…

    Congrats, congrats, congrats and get ready for another set of sleepless nights and early mornings (aren’t they the best!!!).

    Brian Smith

    P.S. I swear if I ever get a chance to make gazillions I am setting up a foundation to help folks with IVF…I was told at a very early age that fatherhood for me was unlikely and now I get to experience it every day. Got to run and kiss my beautiful Charlotte who I can hear getting up from her nap.


    1. I don’t think the process is terrible. If it works, it’s amazing. And I am so happy that people are given that option. If it doesn’t work, it can be terrible. I saw a few couples break down in the waiting room after finding out that their last attempt didn’t work or they lost the baby after a few weeks. Watching the heartache associated with it is what I find horrible. A lot of time there is only so much money set aside and when couples run out, that’s it. (I agree. I wish more funds were made available to those who don’t have the means.)

      But if it works? And I know many people who’ve conceived through IVF, it’s amazing and wonderful.

      Sorry, I had to clear that up! Not sure if I gave a false impression about how I feel about IVF.

      Lastly: Good to see you again, BSmith! And congrats to you and your family. You could email me a picture if you so much desire. ;]


  56. Yay! Congratulations! I’ve been reading you since your first baby and had one closely behind yours. Since then I’ve had another one – she is 6 weeks old now and was very sad to hear of your previous heartaches. But, this is great news! Relish every day that you are pregnant!


  57. Congratulations to all three of you!! So happy for you.


  58. Congratulations! This is such exciting news. I’ve been missing your posts for a long time. So glad you’re back with us!


  59. Congrats to you & your family!!

    Although I did not experience any infertility issues, I did miscarry my first pregnancy, which in turn turned me into a basket case for my 2 following pregnancies. That was my huge mindfuck, and I still don’t think I’ll ever be the same.

    Looking forward to following your journey this time around with your little Gangsta.


  60. Given that we spent a year working with some of the best fertility docs around and ended up succeeding during the break we took from their help, I’m counting on a Penn State BCS championship this year. And yes, I’ve seen the team, so I know what a long shot that is… :)

    Also, buying lotto tix.


  61. YAY! Congrats!! Thank you for sharing such personal moments!


  62. holy crap. congrats!

    just wondering, did you two try cough syrup or nyquil ?


    1. Jonathan: no. We just, you know… what’s with the Nyquil?


  63. congrats! great news :)


  64. Congratulations!! I am so happy for you!


  65. Michelle…I totally misstated what I meant to say. The “terrible” is exactly what you said. As you know it is the sad mixed with the optimism that lends to a very strange vibe…IVF is the best thing that ever happened to me and my wife but it KILLED us watching some of the sadness in the room. As I read what you said all of the feelings came back and it made me smile to remember just how lucky we were in the end.

    The coolest day was bringing back Charlotte (pic in email shortly) to introduce her to Dr. Sacks and the staff and simply to say thank you. I do not cry but I will say that tears are welling as I type this…simply amazing.


    P.S. Congrats again…fantastic news!!!


  66. I’m so excited to hear this news! You so deserve this!!! Congratulations!!!


  67. Michele- Let’s just say that I’m not ready to be intimate with my lady when she’s on the nyquil…

    nyquil and cough medicine both have decongestants and expectorants in them. while people take them to produce a thin mucous “up top” and clear things out, it also works “down below” too.


  68. Oh, thank you for sharing this exciting news. That was a brave thing to do. I’m thrilled for you!


  69. lovely post, lovely hopeful news


  70. How wonderful!! Congratulations!


  71. Congrats! You are due one day before I am! So that means you are past the biggest hurdle, the first trimester.

    I’ll be looking forward to your pregnancy posts again…that is how I found your site to begin with…you were pregnant with Emory and you came up in my pregnancy searches.

    How are you feeling physically? This time around has been a lot worse for me compared to the first time.


    1. I feel like ass. But I refuse to complain TOO MUCH on here or elsewhere (Toby Joe unfortunately has to deal with my moaning). Yeah. Ass. Throwing up. Headaches are all too frequent. Bloated. Boobs hurt. Basically, I have every single side effect associated with pregnancy.

      But oh well! :]


  72. I remember after I had 3 miscarriages and then finally my daughter Charlie was conceived, I had extreme nausea all day for 4 months! At first I was afraid to complain about it because if anything happened I would feel horrible for not dropping to my knees in thanks every time I felt like throwing up. But finally I decided, I am pregnant. I feel like shit. I am not going to feel bad, about feeling bad about that. In short, I understand how you feel :) rant much…


  73. DUDE! I had a feeling! this is so awesome! shit, tears just welled up in my eyes.

    sooooo happy for you.

    HUGE hugs…xoxo


  74. I am so thrilled for you! I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I was when I read your post at the Dooce community that you are pregnant. I have also been struggling with getting pregnant and have found an awesome fertility doctor/reproductive endo, and he is starting me on clomid w/ injectable hcg (or something like that, not too sure of all the details yet) this next cycle. I am nervous and thrilled out of my mind. I know what you mean when you say what a mindfuck infertility is. It has completely changed the way I think, and not one day goes by that I don’t remember the baby that I lost exactly a year ago – and that I don’t contemplate the babies that I will have in the future.

    I am just so pleased for you – you deserve this – and I send you all the best vibes, prayers and well wishes! HUGS!


  75. Oh, I’m so happy for you and Toby. Yay, yay, yay. Oh, and so happy for Em.


  76. Though my experience was a bit different, so much of what you wrote resonated with me, particularly the mindfuck that is IVF.

    I am so happy for you, your family, and the life growing inside.


  77. Congratulations! Wishing you all the very best!


  78. I’ve never left a comment on your site, but this time, I had to – because whilst I was reading about your pregnancy, I was sitting at my desk, between a heap of tablets and nasal-sprays on the right and a pile of consent-forms and internet-printouts about FSH-levels and success rates on the left.

    And at every word you wrote, I wanted to shout: YES! Yes, infertility is a big mindfuck! Yes, you have to withdraw in order to cope! And, yes: Even if you are in a great partnership, infertility can make you so incredibly lonely.

    But then I read about how you feel guilty about complaining about nausea and headaches and about not looking pregnant but fat – and I admit, for a split second, I thought, of course, you should feel guilty about complaining, shouldn’t you!? At least you are pregnant!

    Forgive me, I’ll tell you, why that’s wrong: I’m 34 now. Four years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a chemotherapy. The reason why – very likely – I survived back then, is the reason why I – very likely – will be infertile today.

    But my point is: I remember very clearly a day when I left my doctors office, a couple of weeks after the cancer-treatment. I stepped out on the street and was immediately covered in mud, because of a lorry speeding through a puddle. And I wanted to jump back and shout “FUCK” – but stopped cold. Because I suddenly was so disgusted by myself: Here I was, having survived cancer – and now complaining about MUD? What happened to the saint-like-me, who, for months, was beyond such mortal crap?
    A few days later, I really did shout “FUCK” (when I burned a cake in the oven). And the second I angrily slammed that oven-door, was the second I realized how good I felt.

    That’s why I’m urging you to feel grateful! And I don’t meant grateful for your symptoms (that would make you saint-like and therefore scary). But grateful about wanting to complain about them! Because this is nothing less than a sure sign of you, coming back to life.

    Welcome. And the Best: from Cate


  79. Congratulations to you, Toby, Emory and Murray…I look forward to reading about your new adventure with baby #2.

    Jennifer in Denver


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