33 weeks!

Apr. 29th, 2007 04:03 pm
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How your baby's growing:This week your baby weighs a little over 4 pounds and measures 17.2 inches from the top of his head to his heels. His skin is becoming less red and wrinkled, and while most of his bones are hardening, his skull is quite pliable and not completely joined. This will help him ease out of your relatively narrow birth canal.

Note: Every baby develops a little differently — even in the womb. Our information is designed to give you a general idea of your baby's development.

How your life's changing:

You may be feeling some aches and even numbness in your fingers, wrists, and hands. Like many other tissues in your body, those in your wrist can swell, which can increase pressure in the carpal tunnel, a bony canal in your wrist. Nerves that run through this "tunnel" end up pinched, creating numbness, tingling, shooting or burning pain, or a dull ache. Try wearing a brace or propping your arm up with a pillow when you sleep. If your work requires repetitive hand movements (at a keyboard or assembly line, for example), remember to stretch your hands when you take breaks.

If you're having trouble sleeping at night, try wedging a pillow between your legs and behind your back. If that doesn't help, try sleeping in a semi-upright position, with several pillows behind your head (or sleep in a recliner!). If frequent trips to the bathroom are robbing you of your zz's, cut back on fluids by late afternoon or evening.

Still feeling sexy? You may need to make some adjustments, but for most women, sex during pregnancy is fine right up until their water breaks.

3 Questions About... Monitoring your baby's movements

Q1. How often should I feel movements?

Your baby should be moving as frequently as he has for the last month or so. Every baby has her own pattern of activity and there's no correct one. As long as you don't notice any major changes in your baby's activity level, chances are she's doing just fine.

Q2. Do I need to keep track of my baby's kicks?

For an added sense of security, many practitioners recommend that after 28 weeks, you monitor your baby's movements at least once or twice a day. There are lots of different ways to do these "kick counts," so check with your caregiver about how she wants you to track your baby's movements. Here's one common approach: Choose a time of day when your baby tends to be active. (Ideally, you'll want to do the counts at roughly the same time each day.) Sit quietly or lie on your side so you won't get distracted. Time how long it takes for you to feel ten distinct movements — kicks, twitches, and whole body movements all count. You should feel at least ten movements within two hours. (Don't worry; it probably won't take that long. Sometimes you'll feel ten kicks within the first ten minutes.) If you don't feel ten movements in two hours, stop counting and call your midwife or doctor.

Q3. What should I do if I think my baby's movements have slowed down or changed?

Ask your practitioner what kinds of changes she'd like you to be on the lookout for. In general, you should let her know anytime you've noticed an absence or slowdown of fetal movement. Your baby may simply be in a different position, but she might also be in distress. Your caregiver may have you come in for a non-stress test or biophysical profile to check on your baby.

Belly shots )

32 weeks!

Apr. 22nd, 2007 10:59 am
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How your baby's growing: By now, your baby probably weighs almost 4 pounds and is almost 17 inches long, taking up a lot of space in your uterus. She has tiny toenails now, and her fingernails have grown in, too. Some babies have a head of hair already; others have only peach fuzz.

Note: Every baby develops a little differently — even in the womb. Our information is designed to give you a general idea of your baby's development.

How your life's changing:

Your blood volume (the plasma plus red blood cells) is now about 40 to 50 percent greater than before you became pregnant to accommodate the needs of you and your baby. (This extra amount also helps make up for any blood you'll lose when giving birth.) You're also gaining a pound a week now, and roughly half of that goes right to your baby. With your uterus pushing up near your diaphragm and adding pressure on your abdomen, you may be dealing with heartburn more often or feeling a little short of breath. To help with shortness of breath, try eating smaller quantities more often (rather than three daily feasts) and sleeping propped up. Those smaller meals should help with the heartburn, too.

As your baby grows, the increasing concentration of weight in your growing belly causes a change in your posture and a shift in your center of gravity. Plus, your abdominal muscles are stretching, hormones are making your ligaments more lax, and your growing uterus may even press on some nerves. All of this can contribute to low back pain and possibly to some pain in your buttocks and thighs as well. Let your caregiver know if you have severe pain or feel numbness or tingling in your legs.

Decision Guide: Who should be in the labor room with you?

Childbirth is an intensely personal experience, as is your decision whether to have additional family members, friends, or labor coaches in the birthing room with you. Here are some things to keep in mind as you prepare your guest list:

• There's no one right decision. In a recent BabyCenter poll, 44 percent of expectant moms said they preferred to have no one but their partner and medical staff in the room when they delivered, while 37 percent said they brought an additional relative along and 16 percent requested to have a friend present. Only 3 percent of readers asked for a doula or labor coach in the birthing room.

• Labor and delivery nurses come and go according to their shifts, so if you'd like to be attended continuously by one person, a private labor coach or doula is a good option. In fact, some research shows that women attended by labor assistants have shorter labors, fewer labor complications, and fewer problems with their newborns. You should also give serious thought to having a doula present if you're set on having a drug-free birth. Doulas are trained to help you cope with pain and they can keep hospital staff from offering you medications.

• Some husbands or partners may be confused about their role in the birth or reluctant to participate if others are present. If you bring outside relatives or coaches in, make sure your partner is on board with the plan.

• You may be under pressure from mothers or mothers-in-law who are eager to be in the delivery room for the birth of their grandchild — regardless of your wishes to keep the experience private. If you want to be alone with your partner, don't be afraid to enlist hospital staff for support in carrying out your wishes and keeping relatives out of the delivery room.

• Sometimes the presence of a labor doula can make all the difference in a difficult (or even a by-the-book) birth. Will you use a doula?

Belly shots )
district12ravenclaw: (Default)
I had my 31 week appointment, and all looks well! I gained another 4 pounds, so I'm up about 22 pounds overall right now. My blood pressure was 120/72, which is a little high for me (I'm usually 110/70), but I'm not going to stress about it. Owen's heartbeat was found right away, right under my belly button (I hope that means he's head down!), beating very strongly. I go back in another two weeks, and then again two weeks after that. When I hit 36 weeks, I'll be having doctor's appointments every week!

After my appointment, I headed over to the mall to do some shopping for me. I actually ended up finding this cute kimono top at JCPenney, and a brown cami to go underneath it. Unfortunately, they don't have a picture on the website of the one that I bought. I plan on wearing it tomorrow night at Casino Night, and then I'll probably wear it again at Steve's work shower. I also popped into Motherhood and bought some nursing essentials. I got a pair of nursing pajamas, a nursing tank, and a nursing sleep bra. I've heard really good things about the Bravada nursing bra, and I think the nearest retailer to me is at the hospital, so I'm going to have to head over there and get a couple.

Motherhood buys and picture of me in the kimono top )

Tonight is game 5 of the series between the Ducks and the Minnesota Wild. I was hoping we'd sweep them in 4, but it's nice for them to come home and win. They'd just better win tonight.

Tomorrow night is Casino Night, yay! It's the annual fundraiser at Steve's work for book grants. We go every year and have a blast! They give away raffle prizes at the end of the night, and we always end up with at least one basket of stuff. One year, we won 5 times! Steve is the resident poker dealer (of course), even though they bring in a company to deal all the other table games, so he's in the living room right now, sorting all of his chips.

31 weeks!

Apr. 15th, 2007 11:18 am
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Holy crap, I'm down to single digit weeks!

How your baby's growing: This week, your baby measures about 16 inches long. He weighs a little over 3 pounds and is headed for a growth spurt. He can turn his head from side to side, and he's beginning to accumulate a layer of fat underneath his skin in preparation for life as a newborn. As a result, his arms, legs, and body are filling out.

Note: Every baby develops a little differently — even in the womb. Our information is designed to give you a general idea of your baby's development.

How your life's changing:

You may have noticed some leaking of colostrum, or "premilk," from your breasts lately. Some expectant moms experience this leaking, others don't; either way, it's perfectly normal and you can rest assured that your body is doing what it's meant to do. If you're leaking, you may want to tuck some nursing pads in your bra to protect your clothes. And if you plan to breastfeed, you might also want to pick up a nursing bra. If your current bra is too snug, go ahead and wear the nursing bra now. (When shopping, choose a nursing bra at least one cup size bigger than you need now to accommodate the swelling that will take place when your milk comes in.)

Have you noticed the muscles in your uterus tightening now and then? Some women feel these random contractions — called Braxton Hicks contractions — in the second half of pregnancy. Lasting from 30 to 60 seconds, they're nonrhythmic and irregular and, at this point in your pregnancy, they should be infrequent and not painful. (When you're within a few weeks of your due date, it's normal for Braxton Hicks contractions to become more frequent and even somewhat painful; in fact, they're often called "false labor" because sometimes it can be hard to tell them from the real thing.) Until 37 weeks, though, your baby is still premature. So if you're getting frequent contractions (even if they don't hurt), it may be a sign of preterm labor. Call your practitioner immediately if you have an increase or change in vaginal discharge (especially if it's watery, mucus-like, or pink or tinged with blood), abdominal pain or menstrual-like cramping, more than four contractions in an hour, an increase in pressure in the pelvic area, or low back pain, especially if you didn't have it before.

If you're having a boy, you and your partner will want to take some time to think about whether or not to have your baby circumcised. Find out what the procedure involves.

Decision Guide: Do you want pain medication during labor?

It's normal to be anxious about the pain of childbirth. Breathing exercises and relaxation techniques may be enough to get you through delivery, or you may need some medication to ease the pain of labor. Here are some things to consider as you make your decision:

• Most women opt for some pain medication during childbirth. In a BabyCenter poll, for instance, 64 percent said they used some kind of anesthesia to ease the pain of labor. Some doctors estimate the number as high as 80 or 90 percent. Every woman's experience with pain is different and every labor is different. You're no less a mother if you opt for drugs.

• If you haven't made up your mind, sign up for a childbirth education class with your partner. Instructors generally cover all labor pain relief options, including drug-free choices like breathing and relaxation techniques.

• Whether you've decided to use pain medication during labor or are committed to natural childbirth, remember that you have the right to change your mind once you're in labor — up to a certain point. Once your labor has progressed to the pushing stage, it's generally too late for drugs to be administered.

• The most popular form of labor pain relief, an epidural, is delivered through a catheter in the lower back. One advantage of the epidural is that most women are still able to feel their contractions and participate in the childbirth experience without feeling the worst pain of the contractions. But there are many options for different forms of pain relief during the different stages of labor, so if you're feeling pain and want medication, talk to the anesthesiologist when you get to the hospital.

• An epidural generally requires other medical interventions including an IV drip and a fetal monitor. In the past doctors believed that epidurals slowed labor and increased the risk of c-section, but a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that early epidurals actually shortened labor by about 90 minutes and did not increase the need for c-sections.

• There's no conclusive research on the effects of childbirth drugs on babies, but studies show that some of the medication will reach your baby — with widely varying effects. There are some studies that show babies of women who used epidurals may have some trouble latching on and other breastfeeding problems, while narcotic painkillers such as Demerol are associated with fetal side effects like depressed respiratory and nervous system function. If you're concerned about these potential side effects, talk them over with your caregiver and the anesthesiologist at the hospital.

• Many envision a "natural" childbirth without the use of drugs — but then again, childbirth hurts and modern medicine has ways to ease a woman's discomfort. Have you decided to use drugs during childbirth?

Belly shots )
district12ravenclaw: (Default)
As per Dana's request, I have put together a progression of pictures from my pregnancy, from 12 weeks to 30 weeks. For some reason, the last two became really pixelated when I resized them, so they don't look very good. Enjoy!

30 weeks!

Apr. 8th, 2007 12:27 pm
district12ravenclaw: (Default)
Happy Easter everyone!

How your baby's growing: Your baby's a bit more than 15 1/2 inches long now, and she weighs almost 3 pounds. A pint and a half of amniotic fluid surrounds her, but that volume will decrease as she gets bigger and fills out your uterus. Her eyes open and close, she's able to distinguish between light and dark, and she can even follow a light source back and forth. Once she's born, she'll keep her eyes closed for a good part of the day. When she does open them, she'll respond to changes in light but will have a visual acuity of only 20/400 — which means she can only make out objects a few inches from her face. ("Normal" vision in adults is 20/20.)

Note: Every baby develops a little differently — even in the womb. Our information is designed to give you a general idea of your baby's development.

How your life's changing: You may be feeling a little tired these days, especially if you're having any trouble sleeping. You might also feel clumsy, which is perfectly understandable. Not only are you heavier, your balance is off and your joints are loosened, thanks to pregnancy hormones. Those loose joints can actually cause your feet to grow a shoe size --permanently.

Remember those mood swings you had earlier in pregnancy? The combination of uncomfortable symptoms and your hormones may result in a revisit of those ups and downs you felt in the first few months. It's normal to worry about what your labor will be like or whether you'll be a good parent, but if you can't shake the blues or feel increasingly anxious or irritable, talk to your doctor or midwife. You may be among the 10 percent of expectant women who battle mild to moderate depression during their pregnancies.

And if you think you might like some kind of pain relief for labor and delivery, now's a good time to look into your options.

Surprising Facts: Common labor fears

Are you nervous about labor? You're not alone! Here are some common delivery fears and how to cope with them.

• I won't be able to handle the pain (OH YES!).
One in five expectant moms says this is her top third-trimester fear, according to a BabyCenter poll. While it's true that labor and delivery are painful for most women, effective pain-releaving medications are available and you shouldn't feel guilty about asking for them. The vast majority of pregnant women use some form of pain-relieving drugs during labor. If you find that controlled breathing methods and other relaxation techniques aren't enough, don't think twice about asking your doctor or midwife for help.

• I'll need an episiotomy or I'll tear.
An episiotomy is a surgical cut in the muscular area between your vagina and anus performed right before delivery to enlarge your vaginal opening. Some women tear spontaneously in this area during delivery and the tears can range from almost undetectable to severe (requiring a significant number of stitches to repair). Once nearly standard, episiotomies are on the decline. According to a study in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, episiotomy rates in one Philadelphia hospital dropped from almost 70 percent of all births in 1983 to 19 percent of all births in 2000. Talk to your practitioner about how often and under what conditions she performs episiotomies and how she might help you avoid one, or tearing.

• I'll have a bowel movement during labor.
In a recent BabyCenter poll, 70 percent of women said they were afraid they'd poop on the delivery table, 39 percent said they actually did, and of those, only 22 percent were embarrassed by it. Though it's hard to believe now, if you do have a bowel movement during labor, no one will blink an eye. The nurses and doctors will clean it up possibly even before you know what's happened. If you're extremely worried about this, ask for an enema to clean out your bowels when you get to the hospital. Another comforting thought: Early labor often stimulates diarrhea. If this is one of your symptoms, your system will likely be cleared out.

• I'll go into labor prematurely (This has been a big fear of mine).
About 13 percent of babies in the United States are born prematurely — before 37 weeks. To reduce your chances of preterm birth, take good care of yourself: Eat well, get plenty of rest, see your practitioner regularly, manage your stress level, and pay attention to your hygiene and dental care. You may take some comfort in knowing that even if your baby arrived this week, she'd have an excellent chance of survival and with each day you stay pregnant, your odds of a healthy baby increase.

• I'll be steamrolled into unnecessary medical interventions.
The best way to deal with this fear is to have a frank conversation with your practitioner. If you trust and respect your doctor or midwife, you can rest assured that she'll be doing her best for you and your baby on the day of delivery. If she's aware of your wishes and preferences (consider writing a birth plan), she can do her best to adhere to them. Another way to ease this fear is to hire a doula — a professional labor assistant — to attend your birth. She can be your advocate at the hospital.

• I'll have to have a c-section (Yep).
Since one in five first-time pregnant women ends up having a c-section to deliver her baby, this fear is understandable. The good news is the surgery is quite safe and most women recover completely within a few weeks. If an emergency occurs during your labor and your baby is in distress, this is a lifesaving operation.

• I won't make it to the hospital on time.
Emergency home deliveries are extremely unusual, especially with first babies. But if you can't shake this fear, the next best thing is to prepare for it. See our emergency home birth instructions.

Belly shots )

Gee, thanks

Apr. 3rd, 2007 10:59 am
district12ravenclaw: (Default)
Since the beginning of time, I've known that I'm going to have an epidural when I give birth. I have never apologized for that, and I don't plan to. And along with that, I've never let anyone make me feel bad about my decision.

Until now.

Last night, at our breastfeeding class, we watched a video on how newborn babies from unmedicated births were able to crawl up to the breast from the mom's stomach and latch on to start nursing. It then went on to say that babies from medicated births had trouble latching and would basically just try to sleep. I turned to Steve and told him that I was still getting an epidural, and I could tell by the look on his face that he wasn't exactly on board with that plan.

On the way home, I mentioned that I got the feeling that he wasn't thrilled with the idea of me getting drugs, and he admitted that he didn't think I should get them. He tried throwing the statistics of recovering faster (because he knows that the recovery period is what I'm really worried about) and the baby having an easier time latching on at me, but I didn't care. Me being the pregnant hormonal person that I am, I got offended and upset that he didn't agree with me. I told him that I needed his support on this, and I wasn't going to allow him to make me feel like shit for doing it. He said that he would go along with it, but I know that in the back (or front, even) of his mind, he's not supporting my decision, and that really bothers me. I need him to put his personal feelings about it aside and be there for me! I realize that things may not go as planned and I may have to do it without drugs, but I'll deal with that when it happens.

I should also mention that he FREAKS OUT if he wakes up in the middle of the night and his arm or leg has fallen asleep. For some reason, it's just something that makes him panic, and he said that he would do anything to avoid the feeling of being numb from the waist down. I think that's part of the reason why he's so against it too, but that's why he's not getting one.


Apr. 2nd, 2007 01:59 pm
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I got a phone call this morning from the Walgreens store manager, wanting to talk about the prescription mess we've been dealing with. At first, he was apologetic, then he started defending the pharmacy, basically trying to insinuate that it was my fault because I agreed to pay that amount for the RhoGAM shot. He asked if there was a middle ground that we could reach, and I told him I didn't think that was fair and that I shouldn't be responsible for other people's prescriptions. He ended up getting a little fed up with me and told me to just bring it to the store. I called Steve to let him know, and he said we could go down together during his lunch break.

Steve and I headed over to the Walgreens and asked for the guy that I spoke to on the phone. He came over to us, and again tried to reiterate that we had agreed to pay that much for the prescription, blah blah blah. He asked if we had the product with us, which I did, but I told him that I didn't want to hand it over until I knew what was going on. So he told us that the store was going to take the loss. After a few minutes, we had a receipt in hand, refunding our credit card $542.23. Yay!

29 weeks!

Apr. 1st, 2007 12:16 pm
district12ravenclaw: (Default)
How your baby's growing: Your baby now weighs about 2 1/2 pounds and is a tad over 15 inches long from head to heel. His muscles and lungs are continuing to mature, and his head is growing bigger to accommodate his brain — which is busy developing billions of neurons. With this rapid growth, it's no surprise that your baby's nutritional needs reach their peak during this trimester. To keep yourself and him well nourished, you'll need plenty of protein, vitamin C, folic acid, iron, and calcium. (About 200 milligrams of calcium is deposited in your baby's skeleton — which is now hardening — every day.)

Note: Every baby develops a little differently — even in the womb. Our information is designed to give you a general idea of your baby's development.

How your life's changing: You should be able to feel your baby's movements strongly now. Pay attention to the kicks and nudges, and let your practitioner know if you ever notice a decrease in activity. She may ask you to do fetal kick counts to make sure everything's okay.

Some old friends — heartburn and constipation — may take center stage again. The pregnancy hormone progesterone relaxes smooth muscle tissue throughout your body, including your gastrointestinal tract. This relaxation, coupled with the crowding in your abdomen, slows your digestive process, which can cause gas, especially after a big meal. Another problem you can credit to your growing uterus (and constipation) is hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids — which are simply swollen blood vessels in your rectal area — are very common during pregnancy and usually clear up soon after delivery. If they're itchy or painful, try soaking in a sitz bath and applying a hot pad or cold compresses medicated with a little witch hazel to the affected area. Also avoid sitting or standing for long stretches. Talk with your practitioner before using any over-the counter remedies during pregnancy, and let her know if you have any rectal bleeding. To prevent constipation, eat a high-fiber diet, drink plenty of water, and get some regular exercise.

A small number of women get something called "supine hypotensive syndrome" during pregnancy. When they lie on their backs, they get a change in heart rate and blood pressure that makes them feel dizzy until they change position. You might note that you get dizzy if you stand up too quickly, too. To avoid getting the spins, move slowly as you go from lying down to sitting and then standing.

Belly shots )
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I had my 28 week appointment today, and everything looks great! I've gained another 4 pounds for a total of about 18 (16 according to the Blue Cross program I signed up for), and my blood pressure was 108/70, fantastic! I met yet another doctor today, the one I originally went to see, and she was extremely nice. She found Owen's heartbeat right away, and because he's getting bigger, he wasn't able to run away from the Doppler this time. I go back in 3 weeks, which I thought was kind of an odd time, because I thought I'd be going every 2 weeks at this point.

At my appointment, I also got my RhoGAM shot, fun. That thing actually hurt, and I'm pretty good with needles. When I got the box out, the nurse looked at it weird, and was then shocked to find out that there were 5 syringes inside. I was only supposed to get 1 syringe, and the stupid ass pharmacy charged me for 5! That explains why it cost me almost $700. I guess they have to order them in boxes, and they gave me the entire thing, because apparently, they NEVER fill prescriptions for RhoGAM, which I find a little hard to believe. The nurse and the doctor both thought it was total crap that I was charged for the entire box, so they wrote a note to the pharmacy asking them to take back the other 4 and reimburse me. Here's where it gets fun.

After my appointment, I dropped Steve off at work, headed home to find the receipt, and drove to the pharmacy. I gave them the box and explained the situation, but they tried to give me all kinds of crap. They told me that I agreed to pay for it. Well yeah, I agreed to pay for it, but I didn't know that I was paying for FIVE syringes, when I only needed ONE! No one bothered to tell me that when I gave them the prescription. They tried paging the pharmacy manager, but apparently, he had just left, and won't be back until next Friday! Gee, that's convenient. What are they supposed to do if they have a real emergency and need the manager for something. I called Steve to let him know what was happening, and he was pissed. So when he gets home from work tonight, we're going back to the pharmacy. Wish us luck, though I doubt much good will come of it. Steve is usually really good about dealing with people when he's angry, but he was really pissed on the phone, so I hope he can control himself.

28 weeks!

Mar. 25th, 2007 12:30 pm
district12ravenclaw: (Default)
Okay, I guess NOW I'm in the third trimester :D!

How your baby's growing: By this week, your baby weighs a little over 2 pounds and measures about 14.8 inches from the top of her head to her heels. She can open her eyes — which now sport lashes — and she'll turn her head toward a continuous, bright light from the outside. Her fat layers are beginning to form, too, as she gets ready for life outside the womb.

Note: Every baby develops a little differently — even in the womb. Our information is designed to give you a general idea of your baby's development.

How your life's changing: You're in the home stretch! The third trimester starts this week and lasts until 40 weeks. If you're like most women, you'll gain about 11 pounds this trimester.

Do your legs feel creepy-crawly at night? Tingling in your lower legs and an irresistible urge to move them is known as restless legs syndrome (RLS), and it can make it hard to relax when you're settling in. No one knows what causes RLS, but it's common among pregnant women. Try cutting down on caffeine, which can make the symptoms worse, and massage your calves when they feel tense. Some studies also show that taking iron supplements helps ease your discomfort.

At this point, you may visit your doctor or midwife every two weeks; then, at 36 weeks, you'll switch to weekly visits. Depending upon your risk factors, your practitioner may recommend repeating blood tests for HIV and syphilis, plus cultures for chlamydia and gonorrhea during your third trimester, to be certain of your status before delivery. (Identifying and treating these infections is crucial for your health and your baby's.) And if the blood work done at your first prenatal visit showed that you're Rh negative, you'll receive an injection of Rh immunoglobulin to prevent your body from developing antibodies that could attack your baby's blood. If your baby's biological father is also Rh negative, the shot isn't necessary, but most practitioners will do it routinely rather than test the father. (You'll receive another shot of Rh immunoglobulin after you give birth if your baby is Rh positive.)

Many dads worry about watching childbirth. "We don't like childbirth," writer Rick Epstein says. "It's spooky and iffy and it takes too long. Also it hurts, and we don't like to see that."

Belly shots )


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