Emma-Jane Nursing Bra Give-Away!

To help support National Breastfeeding Awareness Week [June 19th-June 26th] Emma-Jane is giving away one of their Next Generation Seamfree nursing bras.
Although the Government encourage mums to breastfeed, and want hospitals to encourage us to breastfeed, they have cut all funding for the initiative.
I have one nursing bra to give away to one lucky lady. 
The bra up for grabs is the Emma-Jane’s Next Generation Seamfree nursing bra.
Its a hugely popular nursing bra for the following reasons:
  1. The bras are available from only £10! Which is amazing compared to prices of other nursing bras on the market.
  2. The bra can be worn as a maternity bra, sleeping bra and a nursing bra. Saving you money with no need to buy three seperate bras!
  3.  The ultra-soft knitted seamfree fit and a soft under-band makes it an exceptionally comfortable choice, while giving great support.
  4. It comes in four sizes: 32, 34, 36, 38 but just one cup size that fits from B to F so that as breasts change mums don’t need to spend a fortune on different size bras. It just expands or contracts with your breast size. 
  5. It comes in black, white and skin colours. 
You can view other bras in the range by visiting www.emma-jane.com or read their blog here Emma-Jane Maternity Blog

To be in with a chance of winning on of the  Next Generation Seamless Bras you must to do the following and comment below to say you have done so (one comment please). 
  • Follow @emmajanebras and @laurenhousewife on Twitter
  • Tweet the following:  "I want to win a Next Generation Seamfree Nursing Bra from @emmajanebras http://tiny.cc/wnirg @laurenhousewife"
  • Sign the Petition to get the Government to reinstate the funding for Breastfeeding Week.
 FOR AN EXTRA ENTRY: (you will need to leave a second comment to say you have done this)
Winner will be selected using random.org on the 26th of June. Please make sure you leave your Twitter name or some form of details so I can contact you if you are successful.

Here are some of the comments the bra has recieved so far!
"I'm expecting a baby in a few weeks time and regular bras were starting to get very uncomfortable. I purchased these and they have been excellent. They fit very well and are really comfortable. I will be buying some more!" From Figleaves.com.

"I think these are excellent value and incredibly comfortable especially in comparison to the other non-wired maternity bras I have. It is the perfect bra to sleep in if you want some extra support overnight and it is what I put in as soon as I get through the door in the evening. I haven’t had my baby yet and so can’t comment on the ease of breastfeeding but the clip / unclip seems very easy to use. Overall fantastic comfort and value and what can be an uncomfortable and expensive time!" From Figleaves.com.

"I’m 6 months pregnant & found this bra really comfortable. Plenty of room to expand, but still supportive. Good value too." From Figleaves.com.

"Brilliant that it goes from sizes B to F. Genius!" From a Wear Tester report

"Loved it! Loved it! Loved it!!!! I just wish I'd known about it a year ago. Definitely the best nursing/maternity bra I have ever worn. Definitely recommend it to everyone I know. 10 out of 10." From a Wear Tester report.

"Every pregnant woman or breastfeeding mum needs a wardrobe staple when it comes to underwear and the Emma Jane Next Generation Seamfree nursing bra might just be the one. True to form, Emma Jane has designed a price-conscious garment that rolls comfort, support and value into one, making it a real contender to more expensive seamfree bras on the market." Leading parenting site Madeformums.com.

“This bra is great value & due to its great shape & fit it's really comfortable. I have been wearing this bra for the last month of my pregnancy both day and night and I'm sure I'll still be using it for the next 6 months for feeding.” Babyworld review.

“Love this bra. Being that the cup size covers from B-F it's great to wear straight after birth as milk supply settles as your size can vary hugely during this time! The ruched center works well and adds nice detail and the knitted underband is very comfortable. It's a great bra in my opinion!” Babyworld review.



Profile Me.

JoJo over at JoJos's So-Called Life recently posted about an activity she had taken part in at work to help to get to know each other better. Each person had to create a profile which included three sections. The following is taken from JoJo's page.

The three sections though need to be explained so that you understand why they are included.

Good things about me-this is a section where you personally think of good things about yourself, maybe things that people say about you all the time like "wow you have amazing eyes/teeth/hair" or "you are extremely confident/happy/out-going", then the group you're working with write down three more appropriate ones to add to your list (working with a group of boys on mine created some uber inappropriate ones such as "bang tidy" but it could have been worse!).

What is important to me- this could be at work or in life, in general. It could be little things like having a bath before you go to bed or going to the gym (this one was not mine btw!)

How best to support me-this is an important part of the profile because it's suppose to help people understand what your needs are especially if they have to work with you.
 JoJo asked if anyone else would like to have a go. I thought, why not!

Good Things About Me:
  • Reliable. 
  • I always put my son and my husband first.
  • Always there for my friends.
  • Good sense of humour.
  • Sensitive.
  • Always available for a hug [a real life one or a virtual one]
  • Honest
  • Open-minded
What Is Important To Me:
  • My son[s]
  • My husband
  • My family
  • My cat and rabbit
  • Respect
  • Honesty
  • Family time [days out or quality time just the 3 of us [4 including bump]]
How Best to Support Me:
  • (taken slightly from JoJos list but it really fits with me) Never judge me. (I've realised certain people in my life, still after 8 years, have a certain perception of me and it hurts. Especially when you think these people love you and know you better)
  • Laugh at my jokes
  • Ask me if I'm ok.
  • Don't ignore my husband and only ask how me and Charles are.
  • Appreciate me.
  • Use manners.
  • Understand and accept what is important to me.
 We are supposed to include a photo of ourselves too.



"The set includes one Playmobil ranger and his weapon"

  • The Playmobil Rangers Jeep with Rhino comes with a caged trailer to transport the Rhino.
  • The rear seats of the jeep can be removed to make more space and the wheels are changeable.
  • The set includes one Playmobil ranger and his weapon.
Does the last bullet point sit uncomfortably with anyone else? Or is it just me?
On the birthday present search for Charles I noticed a Playmobil Rangers Vehicle with Rhino and thought I'd take a look as Charles really likes Rhinos.
Reading through the information, trying to work out how big it is and what it does for the price I was instantly put off by the fact that it comes complete with a weapon.
Now I'm all for role play and imaginative play but feel this is going a bit too far.

I for one, do not want my child lining these animals up and shooting at them as a game. Ok the game is for 4 years and older and Charles is only [almost] 2 but I've always used my own initiative when picking his toys and deciding myself if he is old enough to play with certain products.
I digress.

I understand that maybe to some I am over-reacting with this issue. And I do realise that eventually Charles may play Cowboys and Indians with his friends and pretend to be in the army etc but to include a weapon in a toy which includes animals, some of which are almost endangered, just fills me with anger.

"take the weapon out so he can't play with it"
"just don't buy the toy"

I can almost hear some of you saying the above statements but its not the point.
Its the fact that the toy includes the item in the first place that makes me uncomfortable. I could imagine taking my children to the local zoo, going into the Rhino enclosure and them pretending to shoot at them. It would embarrass me so much.
I'm also looking at it in the way of someone else buying him such present. If I didn't realise it included a gun and all of a sudden he's opened this box to discover an amazing toy that includes a car, wow, a man, wow, a trailer, wow, a Rhino, WOW and......a gun.....wow???
I don't want to have to vet every present he's given.

I guess initially they wouldn't know why the gun was included with the toy, and one day the question subject will arise. "dat?" (Charles way of saying Whats that?) and here I would have to make up some excuse as to why a weapon has been included in this toy....or tell him the truth.
I've always said that I don't want to lie to my children, or hide things from them. So if they ask about sex, I tell them about sex, if they ask about death, I tell them about death, but at 4 years old or younger, do I really want to explain to my child that "if the Rhino is naughty the ranger shoots him"? Of course I don't.

If you hadn't already guessed this present won't be unwrapped by Charles on his birthday.

What is your opinion on it?

The Great Birthday Present Debate.

I'm stressing out.
It's silly.
You see I like to be organised when it comes to birthday presents and Christmas presents, especially so for Charles.
For his first Christmas he was stupidly spoilt, he didn't know what it was about but we did, and with his birthday being in the middle of the year [almost] we use this time to go over his toybox and update if needed. For his first Christmas he was 6 months so we were getting away from the rattles and "baby toys" and into the world of activity toys.
For his first birthday we bought him a Thomas train track thing, which was rubbish, a lot of the bits ended up missing and it was just not ever going to be practical. It was cheap so went into the bin. He got various Thomas related toys from family, Mega Blox and other items more suited to a 1 year old boy!
Again, last Christmas his toybox was scanned, new more suitable items were bought and we had a happy little boy. Infact he was so happy with most of the presents he opened of Christmas Day that we had to force him to open the majority of them and left half for another day. His final present wasn't opened until New Years Day!

The New Years Day present happened to be the one I was most excited about him having [other than his Giant Makka Pakka teddy] and it was his Garage/Multistory Car Park.
I sent the boys off for the day and built the garage in the afternoon......5 hours later it was finished and looked ok. Not amazing but he was sure to love it.
And he did. The garage had the carpark section and then a spiral ramp to the right. This ramp is ridiculous and within a week had been broken off and after a month if not less of us repairing it, we gave up and left it without. He was still happy with the toy anyway.
Less than 5 months on I'm sad to announce that this garage is now somewhere in a recycle plant in their plastics section awaiting its future.
It was pants.
Charles was never heavy handed with it, yet it broke so often that it was in the end unusable and even Charles noticed this.

Now its his birthday in two and a half weeks and I am still debating what to get him.
I am annoyed with myself because normally I'd have it all planned. Well, I did have some of it planned. We would get him a small trampoline for the garden (one of the ones with a handle for them to hold on to) and a road mat. Except my mum decided to buy the road mat as an Easter present and the trampoline for his birthday present.
Back to square one then.
I've asked my mother in law to get Charles a garage. She is giving us £30 to get one so we can pick one we are happy with. Except I keep wondering whether or not he needs one?
He's really happy with his road mat and a Christmas present my mum gave him seems to be sufficient enough as it includes a slide (which aliens are supposed to slide down) which he uses as a ramp.
I think I'm just nervous of buying another garage which turns out to break in another 5 months time.
I'm just constantly flitting between the positives and negatives of a garage.
He's a boy, every boy needs a garage, like every girl needs a pram.
He has well over 50 cars (really, I wish I was exaggerating) so the garage would be used.
He has a brother coming so they would both end up playing with the garage if it is a good decent one.

So, if the garage is purchased. Then what do we get him???
I've searched Argos, Toys R Us, Mothercare and ELC and nothing really jumps out at me. Yet looking at Charles' toybox it seems like there is a hole needing to be filled. A hole which isn't filled with yet more cars.
With the baby on the way I am wanting to get him [Charles] toys which are really going to hold his attention, ones he will be happy to play with alone for a while whilst I'm busy getting the baby to sleep or feeding the baby.
Our only solid idea for a present at the moment is a small disco ball, due to the fact he was mesmorised by the one on holiday in Lanzarote and loves dancing.

The Happyland Dino Playset also looks quite inviting too. But still, theres something missing.

Anyone care to offer inspiration....please?

1: No to a kitchen or large item like this, we simply don't have room for it with the babies things on top of Charles current toys.
2: He has a swing for the garden, and is getting a slide from my dad and nan.
3: No to a sand table, we want the beach to be a novelty and also have a cat (cat + sand table = litter tray!)
4: He has a keyboard and a guitar. 

Anyone wish to help me in my quest?


Early baby loss.

A conversation with @multiplemummy beginning simply with talking about September being a good month for us to conceive and then how long did it take us to conceive ended up on the topic of Chemical Pregnancy.
Kerry had never heard of Chemical Pregnancies, and neither had I. Until I had one.

As I’ve said before in a recent post about baby loss its such a taboo subject. Don’t talk about it, don’t ask about it, don’t acknowledge it. But why? It happens. Is it because we simply don’t know what to say? Nothing will make it better, nothing will take away the hurt. But so many times I’ve seen mummies, and daddies, say that they just want to be asked if they are ok, they want to have a normal conversation, and in a few instances, friendships have come to an end because people don’t know how to be around the person who has suffered the loss.

This is why I never talk to friends really about my two chemical pregnancies. Not only because I simply know they do not know what to say, but because chemical pregnancies aren’t really known about its not something to easily talk about, and in cases where I have spoken about it, doesn’t seem to be recognised as baby loss.
I remember being sat in a friends lounge, another friend of hers was there also and they were discussing someone who had recently lost a baby at between 16 and 20 weeks [I can’t quite recall the exact gestation]. The girl who had sadly lost her baby had named him, something I didn’t find at all weird. Yet these two girls sat there and said “but he wasn’t even a proper baby yet, what’s the point in naming him? What a waste of a name” and other insensitive comments. I put my attention into playing with Charles and holding in the anger that was running through my body. Both of these girls had named their babies early on in their pregnancies, how was this any different?

I can understand totally that it isn’t understood or recognised as baby loss, compared to babies lost further on in pregnancy.

A chemical pregnancy is the clinical term used for a very early miscarriage. In many cases, the positive pregnancy test was achieved before the woman’s period was due but a miscarriage occurred before a heartbeat was able to be seen on an ultrasound.
With the ultra sensitive pregnancy tests on the market today, it is easier than ever to get a positive result 3 or 4 days before your period is due. It is wonderful for those who NEED to know, but does have its down side. Early testing shows chemical pregnancies which would not have been detected had the woman waited for her period to arrive.
Chemical pregnancies are unfortunately very common. 50 to 60% of first pregnancies end in miscarriage very early in pregnancy. Most occur without the woman even knowing that she was pregnant.

And, What Causes and Chemical Pregnancy?

Most chemical pregnancies are due to chromosomal problems in the developing fetus. Other possible causes are inadequate uterine lining, uterine abnormalities both congenital or acquired like fibroids, low hormone levels, luteal phase defect or certain infections.

Both of my chemical pregnancies were shortly followed [2 months later in both cases] by successful pregnancies. (Assuming that this baby arrives safely) So I never had the chance really to dwell on the loss that I’d suffered. But the truth also is, that I didn’t feel I had suffered.
In the first chemical pregnancy I had gone as far as taking a test, positive, followed by another faint line. We called family, all over the moon and even popped over to my dads to celebrate.
A few days later I tested again and got a negative test and a couple of days later my period turned up.
We were confused and just assumed we’d got 2 false positives.
After researching online we’d realised that it was down to a chemical pregnancy.
We then had to inform our families that I actually wasn’t pregnant and felt slightly embarrassed by it really.
We had a holiday coming up so it took our minds off the disappointment that it had gone wrong.
Thankfully on that holiday we conceived and 9 months later Charles was with us. But telling our families again that we’d conceived was met by some with “oh right” and a lack of enthusiasm. Especially from my dad and when I confronted him about it he was honest and said that we’d already told us we were pregnant and he had to get used to not being a granddad and didn’t want to get his hopes up (please don’t be taken in by this, he’s not as sweet as he sounds)

Last year I felt extreme pains in my stomach, I didn’t know how to explain them to my husband, when I first felt them we were in the car and when I got home I realised I was bleeding. My period wasn’t due just then so it was a surprise.
We put it down to my cycles still getting into a routine and thought that maybe the fact I was breastfeeding still was messing things up. We went away for the weekend to Warwickshire for Charles’ naming ceremony and I was still bleeding.
I spoke to my mother in law and my husbands aunty about it because I was concerned, not only was it heavy bleeding but it was lasting a long time, and one of them mentioned miscarriage and it made sense.
Returning home I phoned my doctors surgery and got an appointment. Blood tests were taken but nothing came back abnormal so my hormone levels were ok, but the female doctor I saw confirmed that she thought it was a chemical pregnancy also.
She suggested keeping an eye on my cycles for 2/3 months and then booking a smear, I hadn’t been able to have a smear before this time due to not being old enough [25] . I agreed and left feeling a little weird and deflated.
I’d always said that if I could only have one child then fine, so be it, I had convinced myself almost that I wouldn’t be lucky enough to be able to have another child as [to me] Charles is so perfect, and this feeling remained, yet I also had a feeling of disappointment that this had happened and that I wasn’t able to hold onto this baby.
It was very early days this time though, early enough that I hadn’t even tested or yet missed a period.

Then two months later came the day I would test, and two lines show up. I was scared this time, I didn’t want to go through another chemical pregnancy, or loss of any kind.
All throughout my pregnancy with Charles I appreciated everyday my body kept him alive. And this time I am exactly the same, if not more appreciative, simply because now I know exactly what I would miss, the newborn crying [yes I would miss that] the milky cuddles, the silly o clock wake ups and everything else we do tend to take for granted and let pass us by.
I say thank you every night, and every morning that I’d go through the day and the night with an active and healthy baby inside me.

The two chemical pregnancies I “suffered” are in my mind, but not something I think about too often. There was a reason these both happened. And I have comfort in knowing [thinking] that my body was able to tell this and sort the “problems” out sooner rather than later.
It’s so easy to think our bodies have failed us by not grabbing hold of that baby and doing what it can to make sure everything is perfect. But I trust my body and know it didn’t fail me or fail the baby.
It did the best it could and made the right decision.


Is it something you can ignore? [SANDS Raffle]

In the past I've been a member of three pregnancy/baby forums.
It was on these sites that I became aware of baby loss. From early miscarriages to babies born sleeping at full term.

Joining these forums I expected it all to be fluffy and full of happy birth stories. New mothers sharing how in love they are with their newborn babies and discussing the new stages and developments etc.
But I soon realised the reality of pregnancy and birth. The side we don't hear about enough, that some women and families are almost not allowed to share because people don't want to hear it, people ignore it and pretend it doesn't happen.

I made a promise to myself, that from that point on, no matter how upset or uncomfortable I felt, I would read every post which included *sens* [sensitive] in the title.
Although I no longer visit any of these baby forums I have continued my promise not to ignore baby loss and will read stories and articles in papers and magazines, watching features on the tv and through blogs such as the recent post on Maternity Matters covering the story of a couple who's baby was cremated without their knowing.

17 babies per day are stillborn, or die soon after birth, thats 6,200 per year in the UK alone. This is a shocking statistic and among the highest in the developing world. The figure is 10 times the amount of cot deaths and more than the number of people killed on the roads, yet stillbirth seems to remain taboo in today's society. 

Through these forums I also became aware of the Stillbirth and neonatal death charity Sands.

Sands is a national charity, established by bereaved parents in 1981.
They have 3 core aims which are to:
  • Support anyone affected by the death of a baby;
  • To work in partnership with health professionals to improve the quality of care and services offered to bereaved families; and
  • To promote research and changes in practice that could help to reduce the loss of babies' lives
To find out more about their core aims please follow the links above. 

Through searches on the internet via Google you can see the many Fundraising events for Sands.
One I have recently noticed via another blog, Something about Clairey, is a Charity Raffle in aid of SANDS.
There are some really amazing prizes up for grabs, its definitely worth checking out! You can buy raffle tickets in multipules of 5. [5 for £5.00, 10 for £10.00, 15 for £15.00 and 20 for £20.]
They are aiming to raise £10,000 for SANDS in memory of baby Mia, who was sadly born asleep on 26th March 2011.  
On Saturday 26th March 2011 I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl at 2:35am at Furness General hospital in Barrow. Baby Mia weighed a healthy 7lbs.6ozs, she had lots of dark hair (just like her mummy), a cute little button nose and pretty little mouth, she looked just perfect.

On Friday 25th March 2011, the day before Mia was born, I hadn't felt any movements for a few hours and alerted my midwife. At 39 weeks and a perfectly normal pregnancy, me and my husband David were given the terrible news that our baby had died. The doctors, to date, haven't been able to give us any reason why this happened, just days before my actual due date. I was induced and our precious daughter was born sleeping. A sister for our 2 year old son Jack, a niece for our brothers and sisters and a grandaughter for our parents. So many people have been affected by this tragedy and as two healthy individuals aged 25 and 27 it just doesn't seem to make sense... "this sort of thing doesn't happen to us." Well sadly it does, it happens to many families across the UK every single day.

If you would like to donate directly to SANDS through the Just Giving page dedicated to Mia, without entering the raffle, please do so at Mia’s Just Giving page.

Every moment I feel this baby move inside me I say thank you and am so grateful that everything is ok. But I am fully aware that it doesn't make me safe, and that in reality, I could be one of those families that experiences stillbirth. [Hense why I get very annoyed at friends moaning about pregnancy on Facebook a lot]
I have no connection to this family or blogger at all but reading their story touched my heart and I couldn't just ignore it, I promised myself after all. 


Save The Children-Pass It On

This meme was originally started by Maggy at Red Ted Art and Josie at Sleep Is For The Week.

**Not been tagged??? Take part ANYWAY… do the below and you are away***
**Don’t want to craft, but do want to help? Go straight to point 3 & sign the petition**
The challenge is simple:
1) Get your child to either draw or craft a self-portrait of themselves now or in the future. Check out Maggy’s self-portrait post for some tips to get the littlies interested!
2) Sign the Save the Children petition and then pass it onto your friends
3) Write a blog post about it as soon as possible, including info about Save the Children and the petition. We want as many people linked up AND signed up the petition by Sunday 29th May 2011
4) Tag 8 fellow blogger friends
5) Link up your posts on the blog-hop below or to RedTedArt or Sleep is for the Weak
6) If you have time, visit each other posts and say hello!
I know we are not always fans of “Meme”s and Tags… but don’t forget – memes are a wonderful way to discover new and wonderful blogs. They are a wonderful way to help you build some links and to network with other bloggers… so go on, don’t knock them and take part!

Looking on Facebook I notice other mummies status updates regarding their young children. One that seems to get the most comments is...."XXXXX is taking her baby to get his/her jabs today :-(" Recieved normally with replies of "awwww poor baby. Hope he/she is ok and it doesn't hurt too much."
Being pregnant at the moment and with Charles quickly approaching his second birthday I have been reminising and thinking back to where these last two years have gone, and what we have done, achieved and experienced in that time.
I remember taking Charles for all of his jabs. Most of the time I would end up in tears at my baby being hurt by a needle. We’d come home and prepare for a possible day or two, or in the case of the MMR, 2 weeks, of reactions to the jabs…never something I complained about as being a stay at home mummy I was here 24/7 to comfort him if indeed he did react at all.
The only injections he reacted to was the MMR, it was simply just a temperature with the rash 2 weeks later. Nothing cuddles couldn’t solve.
We received a letter early this year telling us that we were behind with Charles’ vaccinations. I panicked. This was something I’d always kept on top of and had done when we were told to.
I phoned the surgery and was told he hadn’t had a certain vaccination, I was adamant that he had but apparently the system was saying he hadn’t so we were booked in for him to have the vaccinations the next day.
I checked his red book, read it all thoroughly and phoned the surgery, telling them that they must have it wrong, he’d definitely had these vaccinations and he’d had them on time.  The receptionist was quite argumentative so I read out EVERYTHING that was written in the red book. Gave her every reference number I had and told her the initials signed next to each reference number.
She eventually believed what I had said after a long phonecall, and realized that the system simply hadn’t been updated. I felt quite upset as her tone wasn’t the most welcome and she seemed to be judging me and thinking I was putting off having my sons vaccinations. When infact it was the opposite, I didn’t want him having unnecessary ones which had already been carried out!!

During my first pregnancy and now having a child I realize just how privileged we are regarding the NHS.: free medical care, free vaccinations, well trained [in most cases] staff and top quality equipment.

Thinking to baby two, will I panic so much and get as upset when it comes to the vaccinations? No [ok I may still get upset at someone making my baby cry] but I’ll most certainly be looking long term. A day or two, or maybe two weeks of poorliness in exchange for a healthy child protected against these illnesses is so worth it. And not something I would ever consider not getting done.
The 2 seconds of pain from the needle being placed into their skin is worth it. Really worth it. 

This week 3 bloggers/ vloggers are going to Mozambique to follow the journey of a vaccine from the coldstore in the city right down to a rural community. They will write, make films and tweet about their experiences, the children and families they meet and the challenges of “cold” vaccinations in hot countries.

The bloggers going are diverse, Lindsay Atkin (@Liliesarelike) is a hugely popular YouTuber, Chris Mosler (@christinemosler) is an influential parenting blogger and TraceyCheetham (@tchee) is a popular political blogger and recently elected councilor.
Follow all the action in Mozambique on Twitter using the hashtag #PassItOn

I asked Charles what he wants to be when he's older, I expected him to reply with "Pat" thinking great, we can draw a postman. No, he want's to be a train. Not to drive a train. To be a train.
At 23 months, I'm not going to argue with him. I'll let him think he can be whatever he'd like.
This is his drawing of a train. Again, he's 23 months, please do not judge.
Probably already tagged I would imagine but these are my 8 bloggers:
1: The Mummy Life
4: Mumra
5: Him Me and Three
6: Metal Mummy

Today one in five children worldwide receives no vaccines at all – they are the poorest, most marginalised children most at risk of killer illnesses such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and measles.
In this day and age no child should die from a disease that could be prevented by immunisation.
Vaccines save lives. This is the opportunity. Please take it.




Doubts.....what happens if.....

But then the doubts come back again…..

What happens if I can’t handle it?
What happens if I can’t cope?
What happens if he is too much of a stranger?
What happens if he doesn’t fit in?
What happens if it affects my relationship with Charles?
What happens if I can’t be myself around him?
What happens if it seems as though we are just babysitting someone else’s baby?
What happens if really I’m not ready?
I love him so much already, I don’t want to let him down.


The Girl I'm Yet to Introduce You To.

The whole time I've been blogging I've talked a lot about Charles, obviously, and also of our soon to be born second child, also a boy, and been quite honest about my feelings towards not having a daughter.
Yet tonight it occured to me that not once have I mentioned the special girl I do have in my life.
She is six years old [almost] and joined us a couple of months after we got married.
She was a play friend for our cat, Harry, who sadly died a year and a half ago :-( They are related and are from a farm in Warwickshire. My mother in law has one of Harrys sisters and my husbands Aunty has other siblings of both cats.
Harry and Jasmine are cousins and half brother/sister (their dad likes to put it about a bit!)

Anyway, after Harry left us we rescued another cat, sadly this cat was very poorly and only spent approx 2 months with us before a trip to the vet ended with us making a sad but fair decision.
In the meantime Jasmine wasn't too happy about being "replaced" and took to going to a neighbours house for dinner/almost to live! [neighbour was inviting her and still to this day does despite us asking, begging and telling her to leave Jasmine alone]
Nowadays she spends more time at home and in the garden and is slowing coming to terms with this toddler who runs after her shouting "Minnie Cat!!!" "Jaaaaaazzzzzzzzz"
She likes to pretend she hates him but if he is in bed at night and she hears him cry or hears him unsettled she is straight at his door wanting to go in to see if he is ok. She will jump on his bed, once I have entered his room, and sit near him purring until I tell her to leave. If only Charles knew she did this, he would be over the moon.

Harry was always a very photogenic cat, Jasmine, although totally gorgeous, has a habit of closing her eyes just as the camera is about to snap!
One day last year though I was able to take some [amazing, if I do say so myself] photos of the Diva herself and would love to share them with you.



Missing: Affection.

My relationship with my mum and my dad has always been affectionate. Cuddles, kisses, holding hands....normal affection I guess most of us would expect from our parents/children.
I tell my brother that I love him, sometimes it is met with an echo, sometimes just with a grunt. Either way at least I've said it!

I have an affectionate relationship with my husband too. We hold hands a lot, if we are out we like to have some kind of contact...ie sat in a pub or at a table with family or friends we will have an arm around each other, hand on one or the others knee, mostly as a sign of reassurance to each other, because we are proud to be seen with each other but also just because we are just like that.

This is something we both agreed we wanted a lot of in our childrens lives. I knew for certain that I did anyway and definitely wanted my husband to be the same. I worried that his relationship with Charles wouldn't be as affectionate because of them being the same sex, at first it seemed I was right to be "worried". During chats it seemed as though cuddling and snuggles wasn't top of my husbands list of activites to indulge in with our son [this was during my pregnancy with Charles] but now it is a totally different world.
My husband can't NOT cuddle, snuggle, kiss or hold hands with Charles.
And to see a relationship like that between father and son makes me melt. And its something I hope continues for a long time, and is reflected once our second son arrives.

I'll never forget the first time Charles asked me for a cuddle. I was stood doing the ironing in the lounge. He was roaming free, playing with toys, touching the dvd cabinet, trying to grab for my cup of tea, the usual young toddler things. And then all of a sudden came over to me, stood next to me and repeated a word over and over. I couldn't make it out. Until I all of a sudden heard it loud and clear. "CUGGOOOO, CUGGOOOO" Tears filled my eyes. I put down the iron, grabbed him and we snuggled on the sofa for ages. I told my husband, text my mum, updated everyone on Facebook, alerted the media, requested a plane to fly over the country with a banner telling everyone what had just happened. It was an amazing moment for me. My son had asked me, with REAL WORDS, for a cuddle.
I was breastfeeding at the time too so a lot of cuddles ended up resulting in a feed, but this one was special because it didn't. He just wanted me.

Now the affection is amazing. He wants cuddles all the time, couldn't kiss me anymore than he does, and shows the same affection to my bump which to me is just amazing!

On Sunday and Monday I made phone calls to my nan and my Aunty in Somerset to thank them for gifts they have kindly bought and sent us for the new baby.
Phonecalls with my nan seem to always be short and sweet. Phonecalls with my Aunty always last around an hour. But one similarity with both phonecalls is how they end...."ok then, speak soon, bye"
Nothing else.
With my mum, who I speak to almost everyday, even my husband, telephone conversations, no matter how short or how long always end with "love you, bye".
I can't even tell you if my Aunty has ever said it, or my nan.

My only memory of my nan telling me she loves me is from a letter she sent approx 7 years ago now, when I was planning my wedding. She is a Jehovahs Witness, I am not, we were originally planning to get married in a CofE church. We used to write letters all the time and in one I had told her we were discussing getting married in a church, it wasn't totally set in stone and that a civil ceremony was the other option we were discussing. I explained that we would understand if due to her faith she would be unable to attend the ceremony.
Her reply was that she understood and appreciated what I had said but also added "Of course I would be there. Because I love you"

I have never been able to understand how my nan, and my Aunty, don't feel it appropriate or necessary to utter those three words at the end of a phonecall. I expect you are thinking "well why don't you say it to them" The reason is that they are just not like that. They don't show emotion like that.
The nan I am telling you about is my mums mum.
My mum has told me that as a child, through her teens and onwards affection has never been important to my nan. Their relationship is totally different to that of the relationship between my mum and I.

I am so glad that my mum is the way that she is, and that she didn't follow in my nans footsteps and leave affection out of our relationship.
I can't understand, or comprehend, an affectionless relationship with anyone in my family, or even within some of my friendships.
It is so so SO important to me, and to think of it being missing and non-existant, in a way, just seems totally abnormal.

The Gallery: Mustachioed

Rather odd yet interesting/different theme over at Sticky Fingers for this weeks The Gallery link up.
This week there is no talent required what so ever to enter. All you need is a sense of humour.
And for your troubles you could win a Panasonic HM-TA1 High Definition Mobile Camera. How cool!

So, enough of the suspense, this week's theme is: Mustachioed.
My good friend Laura at Are We Nearly There Yet Mummy? is everso slightly obsessed with the things: and not necessarily on men.
On a recent blogger trip to Ireland she made us all wear moustaches. I mean physically held us down and MADE us apply dodgy 1970s-eque taches.
Did we take photos of them? Well, of course we did . . . Thanks English Mum.

So photos of moustaches. Real ones, fake ones, ones on your kids, your cats, your grandma.

Have a giggle dressing your top lip up and the one Laura likes the most wins the camera. Simples.
And the prize is coming courtesy of Laura: Honestly, she'll do anything to flood the interwebs with moustaches, THAT is how obsessed she is with the things.

I'm sure I won't be the only person to do a photo like this [although secretly I would like to be ;-)] but rather than drawing a moustache on my son, husband or myself, I thought I would take advantage of a certain body part whilst I can.
So, without further ado, here is my bump....complete with a face and a moustache [good job its a 'male' bump]
Please be kind, I'm feeling very brave posting this (and yes have clearly edited my skin quite heavily)

(Do you realise how hard it is to draw a face on your tummy whilst looking in the mirror?)



Yes, his cord!

Like other mummies and daddies out there I have created a special box [also known as a memory box] for Charles.
I have a postcard from our first trip abroad, camping in France last year, we went via Channel Tunnel.
I have also bought a postcard from our recent holiday to Lanzarote, and hope to keep up a tradition of collecting a postcard from every abroad destination we visit with Charles and his baby brother.

I still have my printed birth plan, the top I wore when I gave birth, the wrist and ankle band they put on us both with our details, the label placed on his cot, the plaster from his first heel prick [or injections, I didn't make a note of it and now kicking myself for it!], the little rubber bit that was used for his first hearing test and......his cord.
Not just the clamp, which apparently is normal to keep, but his actual cord, which apparently isn't as normal to keep.
By why not?
It doesn't smell, its shrivelled up and kept in a clear plastic bag which is now cellotaped onto a piece of card which is placed in a plastic wallet and kept in his special box. Hardly like it is framed on our lounge wall for all to see everyday, so completely not offensive to anyone.

For me the cord was such an important "thing" to keep. It was what fed my child when inside my womb.
Part of my birth plan was for the cord to stop pulsating until it was cut, sadly this couldn't be followed as we had to get Charles out of the pool quickly so he could have a few pumps of oxygen and my heavy bleeding meant the midwives wanted me out quick to assess the situation.
For the first week whilst the cord was attached I didn't change any nappy unless it was stupid o clock in the morning and I didn't want to wake my husband up. The cord freaked me out, mainly because I was worried it would just come off in my hand and expected blood or more.It wasn't until the day it came off, six days after he was born, that I felt really attached to it [excuse the slight pun there ;-)]

Did anyone else keep their babies cord??? Is it really that weird that I have? If so, why is it??
Have you kept anything weirder than a cord??
Its something I'll definitely be keeping for this baby too.

Anxiety, maybe I'm not so crazy after all!

I've always had a few fears which can sometimes seem so irrational and silly, and have been laughed at before. My most common one is that men/the army/a gang will burst into my house and start shooting at us.
I have no idea where this fear comes from, its just there, and has been for a long time.

Just after I had Charles I started to feel very funny when going out with him. Every mummy experiences the maternal instinct and the panicking about certain things but the things I was worrying about seemed at times, not normal.
Again the fear of being shot at was very strong. I constantly felt like I had to look around and check there was no one around but at the same time, thought there was someone hiding with a gun aimed at me.
There were other fears which are quite graphic, horribly graphic for me too, which I won't share. But at times these fears seemed to flash before my eyes almost like a memory or a premonition. They were so clear and so graphic that it almost seemed real.

I kept all these feelings to myself, until we went on our first family holiday to Center Parcs. Sat in the villa at night we would light the fire in the lounge, every night I would check every hour that the fire was out. I had a fear that it was going to reignite and we would burn to death.
The weather was quite bad whilst we were there, we didn't care, except for me it was anxiety overload with thinking a tree was about to fall on our villa at any point.
Another fear, was that someone would quietly break in and murder us, leave and never be caught. We would be found by the cleaner and the killer never traced.
We went for a daytrip to an Air Base and this day my anxiety went through the roof. And it was the day I had to come clean to my husband about what I was feeling.
This air base [museum] has a Concorde in the main room. My husband had taken Charles in to have a look, due to security one of us had to stay with the pram so I did this, my husband encouraged me to go and have a look once he came down as it was so interesting. I got three quarters of the way up the steps and froze. I couldn't go any further, I couldn't even move. I started to have a panic attack and told my husband I couldn't go in there. I made my way back down the stairs and he helped calm me down.
The reason I couldn't go any further? There was someone waiting inside there to kill me.
We headed over to another plane, the hood of the cockpit [I'm guessing this is what it is called??!] was sealed open, there was no way you could push it to close it.
My husband and Charles sat in there, photos were taken then my husband told me to get in and I would then hold Charles for a photo [he was only 4 months old at the time] but as soon as I stood into the cockpit (you have to step down into it from a platform) I panicked again. I burst into tears shouting that I needed to get out [thankfully no one else was around] I stepped out of the cockpit and onto the platform, my legs were shaking. The reason this time, I imagined, and clearly saw, the hood of this cockpit closing down and smashing onto my head. [sorry, graphic]
It was when we got back to the villa that I opened up to my husband and we decided I should make an appointment with my doctor as soon as we got home.

We live near marshland and I would sometimes take Charles for a walk down there, either pushing him in his pram or on his Smart Trike. Access to the marshland is via a lovely little lane. Halfway down the lane there is a train track, but because its just a tiny train track there are no barriers, signals yes but no barriers.
I always had (maybe still have) a fear that out of nowhere a train will hit into me, but Charles will be ok. Except he will be sat there, in his pram or in his bike, in the middle of a deserted lane, alone, possibly for hours until someone found him. I can't shake that feeling.

One of my most graphic episodes came as I walked Charles in his pram to our local supermarket. This is the one I don't want to share as it is just too much.

I headed to the doctor and explained to him what had been going on, he explained that a part of my brain, likely due to hormonal imbalance basically wasn't filtering information properly. So whereas other people would filter this information and say "that would NEVER happen" my brain just wasn't doing that, and instead was saying it WILL or COULD happen.
He said to me to look at things such as getting hit by an asteroid, and that there is a 1 in 10 million chance it could happen to me, [I'm making the 1 in 10 million theory up but you see what I mean] and said for me to think of things in this positive way. Except for me, its not positive. 1 in 10 million, means I could, and probably would be that ONE.
He put me temporarily on anti-depressants [against my will] but after 2 weeks I gave up on them. I wanted to deal with this alone. He tried to refer me to the mental health link worker, who I'd spoken to before and found to not be much help. I saw him at the beginning of my pregnancy because of having suffered depression for 8 years I was being kept an eye on incase I developed post natal depression.
I had to cancel my first appointment as sadly our cat died that morning so my head wasn't straight enough to talk about my feelings and the second appointment he cancelled and the surgery never rearranged despite my ringing them to ask for another appointment. After three times of hearing "we'll call you back" I gave up. And thankfully was able to sort my head out myself through distraction and just generally coping with it!

At the beginning of this pregnancy I was referred to him again and this time got an appointment. I headed off to see him incase the anxiety reappeared as bad as before, I still suffered from it but was able to cope, not 100% but it was liveable.
I honestly seemed to be a bit too much for him, I didn't tell him nearly half of what I have said in this post because just telling him the fear of men bursting into my house and shooting at us seemed to have him shocked. I asked if I was from an army family, which I'm not, and so he had no where to go with this. I thought the rest may be a bit too much for him.

At the beginning of the pregnancy I constantly had thoughts that the baby wasn't alive, I'd convinced myself so much that there wasn't a baby that it was a huge shock to then see one pop up at our 12 week scan.
I didn't feel completely confortable with the existance of the baby until I felt the first big proper movements and kicks. Now I'm totally comfortable.

As I said I found my own ways of coping with the anxiety. I've accepted that its part of my life and just the way my brain works. I don't want to take any medication for it unless I NEED to. And I don't need to. I'd rather just cope.

I thought everything was ok until the Tuesday we booked our holiday to Lanzarote. That night I couldn't sleep. I'd read reviews about breakins at the awful hotel we were originally booked in [and moved from] and my head automatically filled with horrible graphic thoughts.
The main one, that someone would break in in the middle of the night and attack us with a machete. Just me and my husband, the person would leave Charles. I told my husband and my mum about these fears, I thought sharing them and hearing that I was "being silly" and that it would "never happen" would make me feel better. It didn't.
On arrival to the hotel the thoughts were there, if not stronger, this was another reason for my wanting to leave and find other accomodation. And in the new accomodation the thoughts disappeared!

In recent weeks I have seen other bloggers I follow on Twitter sharing their anxiety stories. One in particular that struck me was "Not my best week ever" by Elizabeth at Mommatwo. In particular
In my mind it hit him. In my mind he died. In my mind I dropped Jasper trying to catch Roman and he died too. In my mind both of my babies died.
I read it and instantly thought that I wasn't alone. I felt as though I was meant to read that post so that I knew that there are others that feel the same as me and that I am normal. I am not crazy.

Yesterday in the news we saw the tragic story of the woman in Tenerife who was murdered in a shop...by a man using a machete.
Without meaning to sound insensitive and I'm so sorry if this offends anyone, but this is more proof that I am not crazy and indeed wasn't being silly with my pre-holiday panic of being attacked. Ok, it didn't happen to us but it did happen. And therefore COULD happen to us.

Suffering from anxiety doesn't make any of us crazy.
Sadly we can't be as open as anxiety isn't widely understood and people who don't suffer from it and have "normal brain filters" can't understand it. But just look at how many of us share it on our blogs. Reactions from friends has meant that I do have to keep a lot of it hidden, my blog is my haven for this thankfully.
I know I'm stuck with this for the rest of my life, I'm ok with it. Its not pleasant to live with, but its part of me. And I won't be ashamed of it anymore.


The Gallery: Chilled Out

Taras theme over at Sticky Fingers for this weeks The Gallery is

This week's theme is: Chilled Out.

So photos of chilling out: Your kids sleeping, relaxing (is that even possible with kids?), your bottle of wine/beer/cocktail, sunbathing in the park, reading a good book with the sun on your face: What does chilling out mean to you?

As I approach the due date of baby number two I can't help but think of how different things will be from when I had Charles.
Rather than being stressed at these newborn days I was quite chilled out throughout, it helped obviously that he was too.....I was even VERY chilled out during my labour!!

All we would do everyday is lay on the sofa and he would sleep on my chest or be feeding from me. We slept in the nursery for the first 3 months and although at the time it sometimes seemed hard to be co-sleeping and not getting the constant stretch of solid sleep, now I look back with fond memories.
This was OUR time, OUR time to bond and to get to know each other. He seemed to love these moments too.
He very rarely let me put him down to nap and just wanted constant cuddles.
I'll let the photos do the talking:

Head on over to The Gallery to view the other entries and add your own:



Mumra Playlist: Week Ten.

Rewind to 2009, I'd just got back from my first family holiday to Center Parcs with my husband and son and straight away headed to the theatre with my mum.
This was the first time I'd ever left Charles.
Walking into the theatre we were excited, life before Charles involved a lot of theatre trips with my mum. It's definitely something I now miss.
Anyway, we'd heard that this show was amazing, but didn't actually know what it was about.
We heard other people in the entrance lobby saying they were seeing this show for the 5th, 6th, 7th time [or more!] and as we sat down my mum noticed the amount of people holding tissues.

Hmmmmm.....maybe we really should've read up on it a bit more.
The show in question:

Ok so, there are three main reasons I should not have gone to this:
1: I am a twin!
2: I had a baby [boy]!
3: I am an emotional wreck at the best of times!

So there we are, sat there, thankfully my mum always has a pack of tissues in her bag and I also had tissues handy.....although mine were in my bra ready to absorbe my breastmilk because I had forgotten to wear breastpads!
I silently cried [and laughed in places] at this show, and honestly at times held myself back from shouting at them that they were brothers, I was into it THAT much! Part of me now even wishes I'd of done it so I could've prevented the ending......ha!!

By the end I was bawling uncontrollably....and slightly loudly. 
After I got home my husband asked how my night was and I burst into tears, it took me a while to tell him why.
Still to this day I cry about it. 
The songs from the show are all amazing. But this one is probably my favourite. Lyn Paul played Mrs Johnstone and had the most beautiful voice and stage prescence.
Tell Me Its Not True

This is my Playlist entry for Mumras Playlist, Week Ten. Theme:
Head on over and see the other entries and add your own!!

Mumra Playlist

With a New Baby, Comes New Friendships

I am linking up with JoJo's So-Called Life with this blog post.
JoJo wanted to create her own linky/meme which summed up a lot of what her blog is about.
I needed one that reflected who I am and what my blog is all about. I wrote a list of words that describes my blog to see if I could get some kind of inspiration. Although vodka and glitter came up so did friends and laughing. I decided that we need a link-up where we can all share stories about our friends and how they make us laugh. I blog a lot about mine. Last year, I had such a tough time and I realised how important my pals are to me. I'm hoping that every two weeks, I'm going to dedicate a post to one of them and try to tell you a funny/quirky/engaging story.
Sadly this won't be a frequent link up for me. I have very few friendships now. Because I married young (19) whilst a lot of other friends were just moving in with their partners, or getting together with their partners, or in some cases just discovering boys (?!) it seemed a lot of people didn't know how to "be" with me and expected me to not be the same person just because I was now a Mrs rather than a Miss. Stupid, so stupid.
I had other friendships which broke down due to them being dishonest. And my most upsetting friendship breakdown was due to lack of effort on their behalf (I may use this one week as although the friendship is over its still worth blogging about and is something I need to get out)

I was always told that after having a baby I would make lots of new friends. I was really excited by this and spent time thinking about my son making friends with other children at the huge amount of baby groups I'd be going to........except these are almost non-existent, or the ones you do go to, are full of mums who already know each other and aren't so willing to let knew people in.

Throughout my pregnancy there were other pregnancy announcements from old school friends on Facebook. I'm not going to lie, and I've been honest with other people about this before with them, I was a tiny bit gutted. There we were, trying for a year for our baby, and here were people I was "friends" with and they were accidentally falling pregnant....at the same time as me. [This really should make for another blog post so I can move on with this one]

Anyway, after a week away at Center Parcs I was on Facebook and up popped an old school friend asking for advice as she was taking her daughter to Center Parcs in a months time and wanted tips on what to take. Her daughter is almost 2 months younger than Charles.
After a brief chat we realised we didn't live too far away from each other, shared the same doctors surgery and childrens centre, and we agreed to meet up one Friday morning at the Baby Play group.
I hadn't seen this friend for 8 years. We were never that friendly at school. We were friends but didn't hang out together. We were in the same form group and had some classes together.
She was always quite sporty at school and I wasn't, so we didn't really have anything in common and I always felt a little intimidated by anyone interested in sport.

I was nervous at meeting up, thinking we'd probably only see each other twice and that would be it.
Although I am delighted that this is totally not the case.
A year and a half on we are close friends and our children are too.We've spent the day together today and its clear to see that our children simply adore each other and it makes me so happy.

As I said in the past friendships have broken down due to dishonesty and lack of effort, both of these things I now become very wary of in a friendship and do tend to back off and try not to get too comfortable.
Except with her I feel very comfortable. We can joke with each other, real proper banter, and I feel that if she says something that I find hurtful I can approach her about it....I haven't felt like that before.
It seems very comfortable and yet at the same time uncomfortable because I am not used to it.

I am constantly telling her off for being so good to friends. She is let down a lot from other people but gives all the time. She drops anything for her friends and to some it seems is now taken for granted, which really winds me up...a lot.

I tell her a lot how much I appreciate her, and how she needs to learn to say no and make up excuses so she can get out of things. But she is too good and never listens.

Not once has she cancelled a meet up with me and Charles. Never.
She is very reliable. And has just been so amazing during this pregnancy. I didn't expect her to be so excited, but she is. When I was pregnant with Charles I didn't really have any friends who supported me or where there throughout, so its been a breath of fresh air to have her in my life whilst I'm going through this.
Its also very convienient as she has offered her services if i go into labour....services to babysit Charles or to taxi him to my mums, not to deliver the baby!
She would be there 24/7 if it wasn't for her part time job.

Today, I gave something back BIG TIME.
I asked her to be Godmother when we Christen our new baby. She was over the moon, I was so nervous about asking her. With Charles we had 4 family members as his Godparents and are taking a different stance this time.
There was no doubt in my mind that she is the right person for the job. And from her reaction today, which included a happy dance, I am even MORE sure we made the right decision.

The most fantastic thing about this friend.....she went to see Peter Andre with me in concert last year ;-) We booked our tickets on our third meet up. I should've known at this point that she was a keeper....and she definitely is.

I really wish I could name this friend and add photos but as she doesn't know about my blog I want to respect her privacy and don't want to add without her permission.



The Gallery: April

Tara at Sticky Fingers has been giving us tough themes for The Gallery in recent weeks.
Although the previous themes haven't been too tough for me and I've been able to think of something to add.
Except this weeks theme has got me stumped!
This week's theme is: April.
Can you capture this month in a photograph? Be it bunting, street parties, holidays, hot weather or none of the above.
I guess the biggest thing that happened for us April this year was our very last minute holiday. I know, you are probably sick of hearing it but soon it will all be about our new bundle of joy so stay with me ;-)

My husband runs his own business and had a very successful month previous so we were able to just go down to the Travel Agents and book a holiday for as little as two days time.
Towards the end of the month I realised how fortunate we had been that month....with our holiday and also being able to purchase some super posh horizontal blinds from a friend of ours as well as all the little bits and bobs we had purchased too.

Not only did April make me feel financially fortunate, it felt like an important month with experiences and development with regards to Charles. He went on his first plane ride, stroked a parrot, two owls and other birds of prey, had his first horse ride, and speech wise he has blown us away. Our proudest moment was when he first told us his full name. Our surname isn't exactly the easiest for a toddler to say but he does really well....better than most adults!

He has become really independant (not always such a good thing) and hardly feels like my baby anymore, although of course he will always be my baby.
Everyday he seems to become even more excited and interested....and slightly impatient at the arrival of his new baby brother.

So April was a busy month for us really. Three words that sum it up: money, pride and experience.

With a huge selection of photos to choose from I finally decided on this one:
  • New experience for Charles, 
  • A proud mummy and daddy after he did so well on his pony ride and didn't really need daddy to hold onto him as he went round 
  • Money [sort of, it cost 2 Euros for the pony ride ;-)]

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