Diary of an Infertile {Uncut and Raw}

1 in 8.

15 percent of the United States population.

Nearly 7.4 million people.

That is how many men and women struggle to build their family.

It could be your friend, your neighbor, your brother, sister, or cousin. It might even be you.

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week hosted by RESOLVE, and while the statistics are important to know, it doesn’t even begin to tell the magnitude of what it is like to struggle with this disease (yes, infertility is a disease).

Infertility is tough. Really tough. When I began walking this road, I wasn’t prepared. I was naive. I thought infertility was simply the inability to conceive after one year of actively trying. And rightfully so. Because isn’t that the definition? But ask me now, six years after leaving my doctor’s office numb and confused with a pamphlet on Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), then going through several failed treatment cycles and a miscarriage, and I will quickly tell you that the definition Google search gave me years ago is not even close to being accurate. And maybe if you are walking this same path you feel the same. Because infertility, when you break it down is so much more than just the inability to conceive. But many do not talk about the ugly side of it. Many do not share their deepest, darkest secrets of how they fear their spouse will leave them in order to build their family with someone else. Or how they are depressed and unable to get out of bed due to their loss of self-worth and joy. Or how they are angry at God, shaking their fist to the heavens, and losing their faith.

Those are words we keep bottled up inside our soul or only pour out into our locked diaries. But today I am exposing the truth behind infertility. I am opening up the pages of my journal, the ones I would literally lose sleep over if someone picked it up to read, and I am sharing it with you in hope that those who do not know this struggle can better understand the pain, the heartache, and the intense roller coaster of emotions someone who is 1 in 8 goes through on a daily basis. It’s long. It’s raw. It’s uncut and it’s messy. Some of them end on a positive note, while others do not. I purposefully did this because that’s how it goes. I wanted to show the real side of infertility, because it is more than just the inability to conceive. Some days you can pick yourself back up and carry on, while other days you can barely keep breathing.


August 23rd, 2014: Depression and Infertility

Today is hard. I didn’t want to get out of bed or even speak to anyone. I am not proud of who I am and how I am allowing infertility to affect me. But I try to give myself grace and grieve when I need to because studies show that those who go through infertility have the same levels of anxiety and depression as do women with cancer and heart disease. Therefore today I will feel my feelings, and I will feel them fully. I will also not be ashamed in doing so either because you know what? It’s okay to not be okay. And it’s okay to have a meltdown…just as long as I don’t unpack and live there.


April 11, 2015: Baby Showers are Hard

I went to a baby shower today. I sat quietly at the table in the back with my purse perfectly placed in my lap and my arms neatly resting on top. I made sure I smiled on the outside, but on the inside? My heart was breaking and my soul was crushing as I looked around at the other women in the room. Their arms were not empty, but full. Their laps were not filled with purses, but rather giggly toddlers. And as they talked about the joys of motherhood, my womb began to ache. And tears begin to form. Ugh! I kept telling myself to keep it together…to not cry. And for the most part, I did. But it was hard. I didn’t want to go. But it was my best friend’s baby shower. I didn’t want to play the games. But everyone else was. And I didn’t want to answer “the question.”  It’s the question that makes all women struggling to conceive upset and uncomfortable even if it’s for a second. It’s the one that makes me ashamed as my heart races, palms become sweaty and my stomach hurt. It’s the question in which I have to answer, “No.  I don’t have any children.”  And so with each glance I made around the room today, with each child I saw curled up in a lap, with each question I reluctantly answered, and with each story I listened to about motherhood, I felt different. I felt alone.I felt broken. 


January 6, 2015: Infertility is Like a Grave

Infertility is frustrating. It is gut-wrenching. Dream shattering. Faith shaking. And depressing. It is loving a child whom I have never even met and missing them fiercely every day. It’s like a grave that keeps following me around day after day as it swallows my hope and buries more and more of my dreams with each tear that I shed. It’s a constant war between my body and my soul. A war that I must fight to win daily and a war that is exhausting, yet I battle on. 


March 10th, 2015: Infertility is Just Not Fair!

I just don’t understand why prostitutes, drug addicts and those who abuse their children are given such blessings. But me? I have to fight and work and struggle beyond my strength and exhaust all my resources in order to receive them. Correction…I have to fight and work and struggle beyond my strength and exhaust all my resources in order to HOPEFULLY receive them. And if I hear one more time from someone who all their husband has to do is look at them and BAM! they are pregnant, I will scream! And throw a fit. And pop their head like a….well, never mind.


May 29th, 2015: I’m Exhausted!

THIS.IS.EXHAUSTING. Today I took a pregnancy test and surprise, surprise! It was negative (eye roll). I am sick of going through the five stages of grief every single month. Because that is what infertility is like. It’s letting your hopes sore for a few days or weeks, anticipating that surely this time, I will become a mommy. But to only have my hopes plummet as I watch my dreams die with yet ANOTHER negative pregnancy test. It’s gong from SHOCK after seeing only one line. To DENIAL as I find myself running throughout the house searching and squinting for the other. All the while BARGAINING with God to make the impossible possible. And it’s while bargaining with Him, I become ANGRY as I realize that He can, yet He hasn’t. And possibly won’t…at least not this time. It’s getting passed the feelings of anger and finding myself depressed as I CRY over the death of my dreams for that month. And it’s only after hours or even days of mourning the loss of what I had hoped, that I start to ACCEPT that this month was once again not the one. And so then comes the daunting task of picking myself back up and starting all over again. Maybe with a little more hope or maybe not. Either way, I am exhausted; yet at the same time, ready to fight. Ready to chase after my dreams one.more.time.


July 23rd, 2015: I Will Hold You In My Heart

Dear sweet little one who was gone too soon…

I often wonder about you. Your face shape. Your smile. The way you would have hugged or blown me kisses.

I wonder if you would have been a momma’s boy or a daddy’s girl. And what color hair I would have twirled in between my fingers. Or the color of eyes I would have gazed into while rocking you to sleep.

I wonder if I would have been able to recognize you by your daddy’s pudgy nose or seen myself in in your personality.

And I often wonder what a day would be like in which my heart didn’t ache. And I didn’t have to always try to imagine what the sound of your giggle would have been like. Or the pitter patters of your tiny feet coming towards me.

I see boys and girls your age and I cant help but wonder. And I cant help but dream. But most of all, I can’t help but cry.

Dear sweet little one who was gone too soon…

Please know that I will always wonder about you. I will always love you. And I will always hold you in my heart until I can hold you, and snuggle you, and nestle you in heaven.

Love,

Your Momma


September 9th, 2015: My Life Feels Stuck

Today I was scrolling through Facebook and I saw pictures of my friends with their beautiful growing families and while I can normally scroll through and not give it a second thought, today, I couldn’t. I will be 32 years old this year and my life looks nothing like the plans I had made and envisioned for myself. In my early 20s I just knew that by the time I was 30 I would own a home with a big backyard and a swimming pool so that the four kids I just knew I would have by now could laugh, splash, and eat yummy popsicles while I soaked up not just the sun, but their innocence. Obviously that plan didn’t work out. And so today when I stopped to look at all of the gorgeous pictures and read all of the mommy status updates, I couldn’t help but feel as though my life had been pulled backwards. And I couldn’t help but just feel stuck.


October 19th, 2015: STOP with the Advice Already!

Today I have had my fill! I am so sick of the unsolicited advice, the awe-inspiring stories of hope, and the empty words of comfort such as, “Don’t worry, it will happen”.  Seriously! If I had a dollar for every time I was educated on the best vitamins to increase my egg quality, the magic pill that will balance my hormones, or the latest medical science proven to guarantee conception, I could go out and buy that vacation to Hawaii that my friend suggested I should take. Because after all?  Her Uncle’s niece who has a friend from college took one and she came home pregnant! With twins!  {Insert my fake squeal occupied by an eye roll} But seriously! I wish people would stop telling me to “just relax” or “everything happens for a reason”. I know they mean well, but right now I just need them to listen. Not talk. Is that too much to ask?


December 14th, 2015: Am I Being Punished?

Dear rude lady at church,

I thought when you came up to me today and wrapped your arms around my neck that I was safe. You asked me how long I had been trying to conceive and I told you almost 4 years of trying and another 5 of “trying but not trying.” You tilted your head to the side, gave me an emphatic look and I thought you were going to encourage my heart or tell me that you were sorry for the circumstances that I was dealing with. But you didn’t. Instead you told me that because I have been struggling for so long that maybe I need to dig deep and find my hidden sin (insert bug eyes). How dare you! How dare you tell me that! I no longer respect you and you are the reason why I advocate so hard for those struggling to conceive. Statements such as the one you made to me only push people further away from God during this difficult time in their lives, not closer. And while it pains me to admit this, it’s because of you that every month I don’t see those two pink lines, I hear your “advice”, and I have to kick harder back up to the surface to breathe. But that’s okay. It’s also because of you that I am now stronger. And you know what else? I have become more at peace with God since our encounter because He has reassured me time and time again that you were wrong (and out of line). His son’s blood has already paid the hefty price for my sins and I am not being punished. Then. Now. Or ever.


December 19, 2015: Baby’s First Christmas Outfit

I couldn’t help but stop and admire the display of “Baby’s First Christmas” outfits before picking one of them up today. It was so tiny and cute. Especially the one with the reindeer footsies. A stranger passing by would have thought I was there to look for the needed size before tossing it in my cart and continuing on my way, but if they would have stopped for even just a second, they would have seen my tears.Tears that carried a sense of loss and grief as each one represented a dream that had been broken. A plan that had been shattered. A prayer that had gone unanswered. A soul that felt crushed. And a womb–my empty womb–that was aching.

I didn’t purchase that “Baby’s First Christmas” outfit that day, but I did the next. My plan is to carry it around with me. Maybe even tuck it underneath my pillow or hang it in the front of my closet. I’m going to let my tears soak deep into the fibers as my prayers fill it with faith. It’s going to be a tangible reminder to hold on to hope for the desire that has been planted in that soft fertile soil of my heart. A desire that I know isn’t impossible for my heavenly Father to fulfill.

I won’t worry if it fades, becomes stained, or ragged because this really isn’t for them; this is for me. Because there is something about stepping out in faith that ignites a spark of hope and anticipation within my dry and weary soul. I know it sounds crazy and I know there will be days when I will feel foolish that I purchased it; nights when my heart will ache while holding it and moments when I will want to throw it in a drawer or toss it in the trashcan. But I won’t. I will keep holding it.  For my hope is that by next Christmas, or even five Christmas’ from now, my precious miracle will be clothed in my tear soaked, prayer bathed, hope filled “Baby’s First Christmas” outfit.


February 19th, 2016: Stop being selfish and just adopt!

I am FUMING right now!

Today I was called “selfish”  and then asked, “Do you know how many children need to be adopted?” Ummm…yes, because as a foster parent, I do know. And while I love my foster princess fiercely, it doesn’t take away my desire to carry my own child. Is it really that wrong of me to want to be pregnant and to know what it feels like to have life growing inside of me? A life that has my eyes and my husband’s smile? I don’t think so! Adoption is beautiful and it is a great option for those who are unable to conceive. But I believe God has to give that desire to couples, and right now, besides hopefully adopting our current foster princess, that is not my desire. And I will not be made to feel guilty for it. Besides, I don’t see them filling out the paper work and writing a hefty 20,000+ check to an adoption agency…


April 9, 2016: I Feel Broken, Ashamed, and a Leper.

Lately when I walk into a room full of pregnant women or women who are already mother’s, shame immediately washes over me like a tidal wave because why can’t my body do what hers can do? I try not to feel the shame or the brokenness, or like a leper, an outcast, but how can you not when every conversation is centered around being a mom and all that it entails? I know my worth doesn’t rest in my ability to conceive, or the number of children I have, but it’s still hard to not feel as though I am not “enough” or made “whole.”


May 14th, 2016: A Miscarriage and Shaken Faith

Five years ago on this very day I saw my first ever two pink lines after our first round of IVF. Those two pink lines came after years of negatives and months of other failed treatments cycles using various medications and methods. Months of painful tests. Bed rest from severe Ovarian Hyperstimulation. Canceled cycles. Thousands of dollars. But it was all worth it.  All of the money and the pain. Because the second I saw those precious lines, I fell in love. I had a million dreams.  A million plans. A million ideas of how my life would be from that point on. But all of those dreams…those plans…those hopes…those ideas came crashing down in a matter of seconds when one day the nurse told me that my pregnancy wasn’t progressing and I would most likely miscarry. 

That’s a day I will also never forget. Because it’s the kind of news that sends you to your knees…and not in prayer…but in anger and sorrow. It’s the kind of news that keeps you in bed, unable to eat or take a shower. It’s the kind of news that makes you have to tell your parents you are pregnant but will miscarry all in the same sentence because you were still in the process of planning the perfect announcement reveal. And it’s the kind of news that rocks your faith to the core as it makes you question God. Question His plans. Question His love. It makes tears stream down your face when you stand in church and you can’t sing the lyrics to the song, “Good Good Father” because you just aren’t sure anymore.


August 5th, 2016: Did I Marry the Wrong One?

It’s crazy how much infertility makes you question everything from your self-wroth, to your faith, to even your marriage. Sometimes, despite the deep and intense love I have for my husband, I often wonder if he is “the one” God intended for me. I know, it sounds crazy, but maybe that is the reason why we are struggling with infertility. Perhaps we are not meant to be together and therefore also not meant to have children together. I am ashamed at this thought because it is silly and irrational, but as silly and irrational as it is, it doesn’t stop the thought from creeping into my heart and mind.


October 12th, 2016: My Life Hasn’t Gone According to Plan

Lately I have found myself on the floor in a puddle of tears, feeling numb and almost in disbelief that the life I am living is mine. It’s as though I am a character in a play called life and I am reading the wrong script. I keep looking back to when I was in high school, sitting in my senior English class and drafting my ten-year plan. I was certain at the time that I was going to graduate from college (which I did), marry shortly after (also accomplished), spend a year just being a newlywed (loved our first year as just the two of us), and then have three children by the age of 30. But here I am, 31, living with the devastating effects of an invisible illness known as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and struggling to even have one. And to be honest, sometimes (okay most of the time), it wears on me. Especially when I look around at others whose plans have worked out perfectly, while mine were seemingly wadded up and thrown in the trash. Who wouldn’t feel overlooked, forgotten and abandoned? But I know that I need to accept my life for what it is and have faith for what it will be.I need to somehow learn to embrace what is happening because God does have a plan for my life that is full of hope and future. And He has an amazing purpose for my pain. And a good reason for the delay. I just need to let go of the picture in my head of what I thought my life was supposed to be…but it’s hard to do. Because I really liked that picture…


November 8th, 2016: I Can’t Keep Going

I feel as though living daily with infertility is like running a race in slow motion. I am so exhausted, and everyone seems to fare far better than me at completing the race by having not just one…but two…and three. It’s hard for me to watch sometimes. There are days that all I want to do is stop running, sit down, quit and cry— I need strength to keep going.


You probably didn’t expect this post to end so abrupt. Or at least without a nice and neat little bow at the end to tie it all together. But sometimes, that is also how infertility looks. Sometimes it ends abruptly without the desired outcome. Sometimes treatments come to a screeching halt without the paid for miracle. Or the pain becomes too great that you can’t continue. But know that there are many options available to build your family. Options such as surrogacy, embryo adoption, sperm/egg donor, foster care, adoption, or simply loving on children within your neighborhood, church, or family circle. Infertility is tough,really tough, and if you are struggling, please know that you are not alone in your pain, your heartache, or your feelings of despair. There are millions of others just like you who know this path and can help you walk through it. If you need prayer or someone to vent to, don’t hesitate to email me at 10hopeingod@gmail.com.

Also, If you live in Southern Illinois and would like to attend my monthly faith-based infertility support group, “The Nest,” or learn more about it, please click here or you can message me at the email address listed above.

For more peeks into my diary, check out the links below:

An Open Letter to My Fertile Family

Four Days Late

Am I Not Good Enough for a Baby, God?

Where is My Baby, God?

From an Infertile Mama’s Heart: A Letter to My Future Baby Bird

I Am (not) a Face of Infertility

My Ugly Chapter

 


I would love to get connected with you on a more personal level, so if you liked this post, pass it on. Then click here to find Waiting for Baby Bird on Facebook, or come follow me on Instagram @waitingforbabybird. I can’t wait to “meet” you!

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39 thoughts on “Diary of an Infertile {Uncut and Raw}

  1. You are not alone either. We are here, I am here. To listen, to pray for you, to cry with you, to desperately yearn for you to have the family you deserve so much.

    You are such a great person and you are always letting us know that you are there for us. But I want you to know that there are people here for you too. On the days that are okay and on the days that are so completely dark.

    Thank you for everything you have done for us infertiles. You are a wonderful person. Many prayers for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awe! You are the sweetest! Thank you so much for your awesome words of support and encouragement! Most days I do pretty good…but then there are others…as you are aware. Lots of hugs to you!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Well done. Thank you for your bravery by opening up the pages of your private journal to help us and others. You articulate the rollercoaster of emotions so well. I relate to everything your write in this space (except for attending baby shower – I’m not that brave. The last baby shower I went to was in 2006. No children were there. I guess times have changed and people bring their children to baby showers). You articulate all the emotions (and motions of life) so well. God Bless you. I’m praying for us fervently.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This was brave and so loving to post. These words and thoughts and sorrow and pain are shared by so many. Reading it from others validates the pain and connects us. Sending all my love.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Wow. I was in tears reading your personal thoughts because I have experienced them myself. You were courageous and ever so brave sharing your heart. Knowing that you have those same crazy, depressing, doubtful and angry thoughts at times makes me feel better. It’s hard remembering that when I’m in the thick of it each month. And some months are just harder than others for some reason. I appreciate this post so much. I know I’m not alone in that either 🙂 You rock sistah.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey girl! You are TOTALLY not alone in all of your thoughts and feelings! I pray for you often and I know that your story isn’t over. I always get this sense that if only you could see a glimpse into your future you would be in awe. xo

      Liked by 1 person

  5. And I am officially sitting here at work in a puddle of tears. Sweet Elisha, thank you for sharing this. You’re one of the most encouraging bloggers I follow, and sometimes I find myself wishing I had the same kind of faith as you… you shine brighter than you realize. Seeing this raw side of you reminded me even more that I am not alone as I cry out in anger over infertility… as I beg God to spare my daughter of this pain… thank you so much for sharing all of this. It really reminds me that it’s okay to feel the way I have… that it’s okay to hurt. But, like you said, as long as I don’t unpack and live there. Love you, sweet girl! And that lady at church… Lord, have mercy…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey girl! I am so thankful this post helped you! You are not alone and it is okay to have these thoughts and feelings….just as long as you don’t unpack and live there. I love the book of psalms because David often poured out his heart, yet always ended in praise. I try to do the same with my journal entries. I pour out my heart…but try to end in praise and hope. xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for sharing this post! It is so true, for so many of us, and please know you are not alone. I can relate on so many of these – especially the one about wondering if your husband wasn’t the right one. I love my husband so much, and we are so good for each other, but infertility makes you question even the most concrete things in your life. I have wondered (so many times) if my marriage was wrong, or my job was wrong, or the city we live in wrong, or I’m not healthy enough, or I’m not outgoing enough, or I’m not kind enough….it’s natural to look for a way to resolve something as achingly devastating as infertility….and for some reason we are led to believe it is something we’ve done or not done.

    Sending you lots of love!! And please, know you’re not alone. XO

    Like

  7. I don’t know how you do it. As I read this post, as with every post this week, I have cried from start to finish. I’ve cried because for once I feel like someone understands how I really feel. I cry because I don’t feel alone. I cry because although I don’t know you, I know so much about you because you are brave enough to put your feelings into words and share those feelings with others. I cry because you don’t make me feel “different” although I feel different most everyday. Sometimes I feel crazy, yet I know I’m not.
    I hurt, sometimes more than others yet it’s always sort of there. I’m a teacher that work with mostly all women, all women who have children. I am the only teacher at my school that is married with NO kids. There are baby showers all the time. I’ve had to make a personal choice to not attend any baby showers. I’m 35, been trying for 10 years, and I just can’t handle the heartache of the shower, yet again, not being for me.
    Probably never will.
    It was a personal choice and I am proud of it. I sometimes forget it’s okay to take care of ME. But hey, that’s part of infertility.
    Thank you for being you.
    No for real, THANK YOU.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This captured every emotion you go through. My hubby and I struggled for 3.5 years almost silently (minus close family and a few friends). It was the hardest time of our lives but it thankfully bonded us closer than ever. I had every thought and feeling you wrote in those diary posts. We’re about to celebrate our daughter turning 3…our last frostie that survived the transfer. I still think about our 2 embies that didn’t make it on the other 2 occasions. And I prayed for God to give me peace that I would be content with 1 child in my life. Then He decided to bless us with another miracle instead! Totally natural and against a 99+% odds of never being able to conceive on our own…we are still in shock! It’s odd to now have been on both sides, I feel blessed yet guilty for all of those I know still struggling for their first child. I pray for all who know and live this struggle daily, it really transforms you in every way imaginable. I notice you’re in S. IL…I’m in S. IN and know an amazing RE if you’re interested in pursuing any further treatments. Prayers to you always!

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      • I am in Carmi 🙂 I go to Evansville for everything…shopping, doctors, food, etc. I am currently not interested in fertility treatments. I am working naturally to regulate my hormones so that it’s not even an issue. So far, through diets and exercise and supplements from my holistic doc, everything is improving.

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  9. Thank you for being so vulnerable and giving a peak inside to your what life is like for you. I am amazed and admire so deeply the depth of your journaling. It’s truly amazing that you have all this in writing and not only can reflect on it, but share it with so many of us too.

    Like

  10. Thank you for your beautiful post! I can only imagine how hard it was to look back and read through years of journal entries with the feeling of no finish line at the end. What a brave thing to do! I completely empathize with the feeling of marrying the wrong one. Infertility has caused this to cross my mind before, like our DNA just doesn’t match up and we weren’t meant to be together. On the flipside though, infertility constantly reminds me that my husband is a gift, and there is no one else that could have been better suited to go through this journey with me.

    Like

  11. Carmi! I bet you know one of my coworkers, she knows everyone there but I know that’s not hard to do! Well if you’re ever interested again in treatments, Dr. Griffin at Boston IVF is AMAZING! Hope things continue to improve for you and you are blessed with your miracle soon!

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      • Awesome! Thank you for being an amazing advocate and being a big support during your own journey! I was only brave enough to reach out to others after the fact but it warms my heart that I can help others in that way! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  12. And now I have 2 favorite NIAW posts! This was the perfect post for this week and showed the brutal truth about infertility. Thank you for being raw and open and vulnerable! Oh, and your journal entries are just as eloquent as your blog posts…you’re a gifted writer, my Friend!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I could have written so many of these journal entries. And even now, being on the other side, I still tear up reading them. I still feel that pain, that heartache, that desperation. Please know that I am believing with you. I’m believing that God is able, that He is faithful to His promises and that He is good. Thanks for being so raw and candid. I know that you have brought SO much encouragement to so so many.

    Like

  14. “And I didn’t want to answer “the question.”  It’s the question that makes all women struggling to conceive upset and uncomfortable even if it’s for a second. It’s the one that makes me ashamed as my heart races, palms become sweaty and my stomach hurt. It’s the question in which I have to answer, “No.  I don’t have any children.” ”
    THE QUESTION! I understand completely what those emotions are. I’ve had 21 years of being asked this question and it still hurts to answer it truthfully. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if I could lie and talk like others do….”Yes, I have a 18 year old son and a 15 year old daughter” Imagine!! But I never lie. I tell the truth and I hate it. Each new setting- work, church, out shopping and visitors provide an opportunity to have to answer this question. I try to answer quickly and not pause too long. A pause only makes it harder. I’m with you!

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  15. Thank you for sharing. I am going through something similar, yet different in my own personal life. Your honesty is refreshing and encouraging.

    Like

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