drums in the deep

February 25, 2010 at 7:27 pm (First Trimester, pregnancy after miscarriage, Thoughts) (, , )

Yesterday was Judgement Day. That’s what I’ve been calling it – the day that we would go in for our first “real” prenatal appointment. It was a day that I both looked forward to and dreaded, just like my first ultrasound. It’s scary to know going into something that it’s either going to be a wonderful experience or a devastating one. There could be no in between. Either we would get to hear baby’s heartbeat for the first time or we would be told that there was nothing to hear, that we had lost the baby, that I was about to have another miscarriage.

Upon arrival, I had to fill out a bunch of paperwork and go pee on a stick. Thankfully, M was with me to help me answer some of the questions. I have a terrible memory, and I think it’s even worse with baby brain. Honestly, sometimes I’m amazed I don’t forget my own head lately. A ton of the questions were around drug and alcohol use, and some were even about our financial situation. I can imagine that this would be an important one for the government, as they want to know whether they’ll have to be supporting this new family. I’m so thankful that we are in a solid situation with our house and our jobs and no debt. When I came back with the pee stick, the receptionist took one look at it and asked if I had any sweets that morning. I thought about it for a second, then remembered what I had for breakfast… “Um, I had Pop Tarts…” I answered guiltily. She said “OK, then, that explains it. It’s fine then.” I felt the need to tell her that Pop Tarts are not my usual breakfast – that I usually have Multigrain cereal and fruit. Oops.

The doctor seemed nice enough. Very open to questions, I noticed, and he even stopped whatever he was doing to fully give me his attention whenever I did ask something. Sometimes, my family doctor will continue writing as she answers, but not this doctor. I really appreciated that. He started with some of the basics, checking my breathing and that sort of thing, until he finally said it was time to listen for the heartbeat. He said that it could still be very faint as I was only 13 weeks and my uterus was still sitting back in my body, but that we could give it a try.

I think I held my breath and looked anxiously but excitedly at M as he pulled out the listening device. He began to move it around my belly, and we could hear the whooshing as he tried to locate the heartbeat. Then suddenly, faintly, I heard something…. ba-bum, ba-bum, ba-bum, ba-bum, ba-bum…. then it was gone, then back again. Our baby’s heartbeat!!!! I thought for sure that I would cry when I heard it, but I was nowhere close to tears. I think I was just concentrating so much on listening for it, and watching M’s face as he listened intently as well. I think because I had no reaction, the doctor asked “Do you hear it?” and I breathed out a yes. He searched for it some more and there it was again: ba-bum, ba-bum, ba-bum, ba-bum, ba-bum…. like a drum hidden deep in a cave.

We asked if it was safe to start telling people now. The doctor said everything looked great, and that the chance of miscarriage is now very low.

Our baby is in there, it’s real, it’s heart is beating, and I’m finally starting to feel like it’s safe.

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if you only knew

February 21, 2010 at 8:28 pm (First Trimester, pregnancy after miscarriage, Thoughts) (, )

I knew it would come up eventually, and now it has. My sister in law and her hubby have been trying to concieve for about a year now. I was concerned about what her reaction would be when we announced that I was pregnant because we never told anyone that we had started trying. I knew that she would be upset, hurt and likely disappointed when she found out that I got pregnant before she did. It’s completely understandable. They really want to start a family, and because they had told people that they were trying, they have had to deal with people always asking “How’s it coming? Are you pregnant yet?” I can imagine how frustrating that could start to become after more and more months passed and you had to keep saying “No, not yet.” It would be difficult enough dealing with the monthly disappointment personally – but having it out there for people to ask you and remind you about it constantly would start to become painful.

When we told our families, the inevitable question did come up: How long have you been trying? That was a tough one to answer, because technically, I got pregnant right away. But we started trying back in August – it just didn’t work out the way we had hoped it would. When we started trying again in November, we thankfully got pregnant right away again.  I don’t think I had prepared myself enough for that question, and so I blurted out “Uh, a couple months”, which is sort of true, I guess.

Yesterday, it came out that my sister in law had made a comment about how it sort of sucked that we got pregnant after just a couple of months, when they had been trying for over a year. I knew that this would be in her head, and I was prepared to get a comment about it at some point, but it still stung. If only she knew…

What would she choose – to be in their situation, where they hadn’t been able to conceive for a year, or to be in ours, where we lost our baby?

I wonder if I will ever tell her, or anyone for that matter, that I had a miscarriage. I still don’t think I could mention it out loud to anyone but M and my doctor without bursting into tears. Maybe in time that will change. Maybe it will be different once our baby is born and I know that it is safe and sound.

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bloodlines and waistlines

February 15, 2010 at 1:17 pm (First Trimester, pregnancy after miscarriage) (, , , )

I’m terrified of needles. In fact, my doctor once teased me that the little kids were braver than I was when it was time to get my shots. So you can imagine my growing dread as the date of my blood test arrived.

I had to go in for the usual prenatal bloodwork before “the big day”, aka my first real prenatal appointment with the prenatal clinic. My appointment at the clinic is for next Wednesday, so I went in for my bloodwork last week. They check for all sorts of things, like your blood type, Rh factor, rubella and any STIs. (Side note: When did they change it from STDs to STIs??) I had to go in to see my doc first to get all the forms, then would head over to one of the many labs to get the actual blood drawn. She was very pleased to see me, because she knew how hard I had taken it when I miscarried back in October. That seems like eons ago now, but the feelings are still very sharp and clear in my mind. She told me about all the things they would be checking for, and she didn’t mention HCG levels. I asked if they check that and she said they don’t do that unless there’s concern that something is wrong. They just assume that your HCG levels increase throughout your pregnancy, and they don’t check it in routine prenatal screening. I know it sounds like I’m being paranoid, but I wish that they checked for that anyway, just to be sure.

Even though we had a very positive ultrasound only a couple of weeks ago, I’m still scared. I still want every reassurance possible that everything is OK this time, that the baby is growing and safe and healthy and that it’s little heart is still beating away. I still get terrified sometimes, and I try to tell myself  to just relax. Nothing has happened that should cause me to think that anything is wrong, but I can’t help it. I’ve had plenty of good symptoms, if you want to call them that, like bloating and nausea and dizziness.

My waistline is definitely growing now, too. I can easily hide it with sweaters or looser fitting clothing, but in a t-shirt and yoga pants, there is no denying my little belly isn’t so little any more. I had sadly given up on my skinny jeans weeks ago, but I found a handy little trick online at WhatToExpect.com. Just loop in a thick elastic band through the button hole and use it to wind around the button so you don’t have to do it up! Then you can still zip your jeans and hide the elastic with a longer sweater or top! It works great! M laughed when I showed him my little trick, but honestly, you could never tell if I didn’t lift up my sweater.

It was sort of fun this weekend to see family and our two friends who are in on our little secret. I could wear whatever I wanted and they could see that stuff is starting to happen down there. I showed my friend, V, the picture of the ultrasound and she was screaming and so excited. We also popped by M’s dad’s place and it was so cute to learn that he’s already keeping his eye out for baby hockey wear so that he will have something cool to give baby in December.

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inner circle

February 6, 2010 at 9:47 pm (First Trimester, Thoughts) (, )

The plan had been to wait until the end of the first trimester before we told anyone that I was pregnant. However, as the date of our first ultrasound approached, we decided that we would tell our families the weekend after. I approached this with some skepticism and worry, since last time we planned on telling my mom, I miscarried just days before. Funny how your mind plays tricks on you… it’s not as if it would cause a miscarriage again, but I couldn’t help but worry. It’s as if I’m always scared to tempt fate. Like at any time, the fragile little life inside of me could be lost because of a stupid decision I made to repeat something I’ve done in the past.

A lot of my worry faded as soon as I heard the technician say those wonderful words: “I see a heartbeat.”. Even better was the fact that they gave us a printout so we could take home the very first picture of our baby. That was last Thursday. I called my mom to ask if she wanted to meet us for sushi on Friday night. There is a sushi place right by her house that we used to go to all the time when we lived in that area, and I told her that I missed the way they made the food there and that we were going to head out that way. She agreed to meet us there at 7. I carefully packed the picture of the ultrasound in my purse, and we wrote in the card that we had planned on giving her way back on October 27th – my birthday, and the day we were going to tell her I was pregnant the first time. M put the card in his jacket pocket.

We went into her place first instead of meeting at the restaurant. After a bit of small talk at the front door, M said – “Oh, check this out, you’ll think it’s funny.” He pulled the card from his pocket and handed it to my mom. She had no idea what it was. She pulled the card out of the envelope and read it carefully as we watched her. A slow realization crept across her face as she read it silently again.

“Really????” she cried.

I hugged her as I said yes, and both of us teared up with joy. She said she had a funny feeling all week that I was pregnant (she often has little intuitions like this) and she was beaming. She’s been waiting to be a grandma for 7 years now, and now she’s finally getting her wish.

On Saturday, we told M’s mom, who was thrilled as well, of course. M is sure that she’s already planning on what she’s going to need to buy for baby’s first Christmas stocking. On Sunday, we told his dad, who surprised both of us with how excited he was. Apparently, it was their Christmas wish to become grandparents. I told them that we had gotten the positive pregnancy on Christmas Day. It was wonderful to be able to tell our family that we are expecting. It makes it feel more real, and at this point, I just want as many things as possible to add to that feeling.

The only difficult part was seeing the reaction of my sister in law. She and her husband have been trying now for a year, with no luck. I know it’s been hard because they really want to start a family. He let the cat out of the bag around Christmastime last year that they had “pulled the goalie” so to speak. They didn’t keep it quiet that they were starting to try, and so a lot of people always ask them if they’re pregnant yet. I can’t imagine how difficult that would be. Month after month with nothing. M wondered aloud to me whether it was harder for them to not be able to get pregnant or for us to have had to deal with a miscarriage. I don’t think I could say if there’s one that’s harder than the other. I’m sure each of us would argue for our situation because we’re the ones who went through it and all of the pain and frustration that goes along with it. She did congratulate us, of course, and I know she is happy for us, but I was worried about how she would react when we broke the news. We told them that only family knows at this point, and that we are not going to say anything to anyone else until the end of the month.

I am 10 weeks now, so I know that this is one of the big milestones. At this point, the baby goes from being classified as an embryo to being a fetus. More importantly, the risk of miscarriage goes way down to about 5%. The next big milestone is 13 weeks, of course, when it goes down even further to 1%. The date I’ve circled on my calendar is Feb 25, the day I can really start to breathe easier and know that it’s really going to happen for us this time. I’m feeling positive, but there’s always still that bit of fear in the back of my mind. I hope that all the love and good wishes from our inner circle will keep things going along well for the next three weeks.

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my heart beats for you

January 28, 2010 at 8:25 pm (First Trimester, pregnancy after miscarriage) (, , )

The day I have been both dreading and anticipating finally arrived. Today was my ultrasound.

Two hours before my scheduled appointment, I started to drink those vast amounts of water that you’re supposed to drink before the ultrasound. You’re supposed to drink eight 8 oz. glasses of water in an hour and a half and NOT pee. Let me tell you – I have a hard time holding it for two hours as it is. Holding it while downing that much water wasn’t just causing me discomfort, it was painful! Every little bump in the road had me clenching my teeth, trying to keep my bladder under control. I could barely walk from the car to the clinic, and sitting down once I had checked in was a huge debacle. M told me just to go let a little bit out because I was so uncomfortable, and for awhile I refused, but finally I gave in and went. It was hard to stop!!!

Finally, they called my name and took us in. They asked M to wait for a moment in a seating area, assuring me that he would be able to come in shortly. The techinician could tell I was in extreme difficulty, so she said she would just have  a quick check and that I would probably be able to let some more out. Immediately upon placing the ball on me, she said I could go pee a cup worth! I was in heaven and much more comfortable when I went back in and laid down. Then she set back to work.

Some searching and rolling. A couple of strokes on the keyboard and a few beeps. I don’t think I took a breath. I don’t think my own heart was beating until she said those wonderful wonderful magical words:

I see a heartbeat.

Immediately, I started to bawl. “Thank God!” I cried. After a few more checks, she said she would go out to get M. As the door opened, he could already see my beaming face and the Cheshire Cat grin that stretched from ear to ear. She turned the screen to us again and showed us our baby. She pointed out the tiny heart beating away wildly, the head and developing brain, the little arm and leg buds. She described the little appendages as looking sort of like a gummy bear. How cute! Baby is a little bit smaller than expected at 9 weeks, and she asked if my cycles were a bit long, which I confirmed at about 31-33 days. She said that because it’s within 5 days that they likely would not change my due date. That remains at September 2, 2010. We even got a picture to take home with us and it shows that baby is just about an inch long right now.

I am floating on air right now, with relief washing over me. I can’t describe the feeling of seeing that heartbeat! Seeing it pulse away so madly, so feverishly… it brings me to tears just to picture it again in my mind. I love you, baby, and I can’t wait to meet you.

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false alarm

January 25, 2010 at 7:20 pm (First Trimester, pregnancy after miscarriage) (, )

I watch for spotting all the time. I try not to torture myself every time I go to the bathroom, but it’s hard to not look. Sometimes I force myself just to throw the tissue away without checking it, but it’s always a conscious decision NOT to look. The automatic response is to check, just in case.

I had that one tiny spot about 3 weeks ago and both M and I were bracing ourselves, scared that it was happening again but hoping like mad that it wasn’t. Since then there had been absolutely nothing. Instead, I’ve been having positive signs, like swelling belly and breasts, slight nausea, fatigue, occasional headaches.

And then it happened. I went to the bathroom, wiped, and froze. Blood. Lots of it. Not a spot like a few weeks ago, or like the implantation bleeding I experienced before Christmas. Bright red blood covering the toilet paper. I shivered with fear and wiped again. Less blood, but it was still there…. something odd, though, it seemed to come from my rear end. I checked up front and there was absolutely nothing. I checked again with the same result.

Running from the bathroom, I called frantically from M to let him know what happened. After hearing where it came from and me reassuring him multiple times that there was nothing from the front, he suggested it was probably a hemmoroid. Turns out that hemmoroids during pregnancy are extremely common. I began to calm down, but the shock and fear from seeing all that blood still made my knees weak and caused me to have to collapse on the floor for a few minutes to collect myself.

Once I had verified again that there was no bleeding coming from where I was scared it was, I went online and did some research. About 50% of women get hemmoroids during pregnancy, but I had never heard of it before. Basically, it’s the same thing as getting varicose veins in your leg, except in this case, it’s your butt! I was surprised I had never come across this fact before. I guess it’s not the most pleasant thing to discuss, but it sure would have been nice to have been warned instead of finding out about it like this. Thank goodness it was just a false alarm.

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uncharted waters

January 24, 2010 at 2:02 pm (First Trimester, pregnancy after miscarriage, Thoughts) (, , )

I’ve never been here before.

Today I am 8 weeks and 3 days pregnant. I’ve been walking on pins and needles for the past week because I’ve been nervous and worried that I would experience a miscarriage again. I have even avoided wearing the same clothes that I remember wearing around that time for fear that I would be tempting fate. But so far so good. No cramping. No spotting. I keep thinking about all of the things that seem different this time, hoping that it means things are going well. My breasts have continued to get larger and are swollen and uncomfortable. (I laugh to myself sometimes because it looks like I’ve gotten breast implants! They’re too big for my little frame now.) I can’t wear my skinny jeans anymore because they cut into my belly. I’ve been slightly nauseated, though not as much as I sadistically wish for. I’ve even thrown up a couple of times.

It’s so strange that women who have a miscarriage seem to want to be as sick as possible, even though they know they’ll be miserable. I just want to know that it’s real this time.

We go in for my first ultrasound in 4 days. I have mixed feelings about this. In a way, I can’t wait to go. I’m very excited and am looking forward to having the chance to see my baby’s heartbeat for the first time. I want to see how it’s grown into something the size of a green olive, to see those little arm and leg buds developing. But I’m also really scared. What if we don’t get to see what we’re supposed to see? What if there’s another empty sac? What if there’s something there, but there is no heartbeat? Will my heart be broken yet again?

I try not to think of these things, but it’s difficult not be scared. Being pregnant after a miscarriage is joyful and fearful at the same time. I’m so thankful to be pregnant again, but I’m terrified about the prospect of having another devastating loss. I honestly don’t know if I could handle it a second time around. When I visit pregnancy boards or read articles, I avoid any sort of mention of miscarriage or signs of miscarriage. I am trying to focus on positive thoughts. To focus on my seemingly growing belly – whether it’s my growing uterus, or just bloating, or a combination of both.

I just want Thursday to be here so I can hopefully see that heart beating away like crazy. I want tears of joy this time. Please think of me.

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treading lightly

January 18, 2010 at 8:35 pm (Emotions, First Trimester, pregnancy after miscarriage) (, , )

I’m worried. Not so much worried…nervous. anxious. wary. cautious.

It was on this night in my first pregnancy that I was curled up in a ball with pain. I was crouched on the floor of my bedroom, and later in my bathroom, with incredible cramping that turned out to be the start of my miscarriage. At the time, I had thought that maybe it was the salmon that I had for dinner that was not sitting well. After all, I had eaten salmon a couple of weeks before and also ended up having a stomach ache. But this was different. The next day I found spotting. It was bright red.  Then more on the following day, and yet more spotting again the day after that. Finally, I went to the doctor’s office where she sent me for an ultrasound. And on Day 1 of Week 8 of my pregnancy, an ultrasound found that there was no heartbeat. The yolk sac was present, but they didn’t see what they should have been able to see at 8 weeks. My baby was already dead. Within a day, my miscarriage was in full force and I was passing huge clots of blood. It was the most devastating thing I have ever gone through in my entire life.

Today, I am 7 weeks and 4 days pregnant. I had lamb and rice for dinner. I’ve felt sick a few times today, as usual, but there’s an additional queasiness that has nothing to do with my hormones today.

Since I found out I was pregnant again on Christmas Day, I have cut out all alcohol. I’ve cut way way back on coffee and any kind of caffeine. I’ve been eating well, taking my prenatal vitamins and drinking lots of water. I haven’t played a single game of hockey or gone to hot yoga. I’ve barely even gone out, except maybe for dinner. I didn’t even go to watch M’s hockey game last Friday night, opting instead to sit on the couch with our dogs and watch a movie. In a way, I’ve put myself on a modified bedrest, trying as much as possible to let my body rest and concentrate on what’s more important than anything else in the world right now – building a baby.

I knew that when this week came, I would be extremely nervous. It’s part of the reason I didn’t schedule my ultrasound for this Thursday even though my doctor said that I could have. I would have been way too terrified to go for another ultrasound at the 8 week mark. I felt as if I would have been tempting fate, daring it to repeat what it had done to me in the past.

I have to believe that this time is different and that I won’t have another miscarriage. I have to believe that this time, we are going to have a beautiful, happy, healthy baby.

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so it begins

January 12, 2010 at 7:45 pm (First Trimester, Morning Sickness, pregnancy after miscarriage) (, )

You know that saying, careful what you wish for? I think this applies to my yearning for morning sickness.

When I miscarried, I was never sick. I was never really tired, never nauseated, never bloated. This time, I have been waiting and hoping to get sick as a sign that things are different this  time. I wanted to feel like hell just to know that my baby was doing better. I’ve been reading up on when morning sickness begins, and even asked my doctor about it when I went in last week, but the consensus has been that while morning sickness tends to start around the six week mark, it varies widely between all pregnancies. Some women are sick mere days after conception, and other women have little to no morning sickness at all. However, in all of the forums that I’ve visited where women are discussing pregnancy after miscarriage, all of us are on the same page. We can’t wait to start throwing up. We yearn for it. We’re jealous of women that are going through it.

It’s only actually happened to me once, and even then, it was only saliva, but for the past several days I have been nauseated every single day, multiple times per day. It seems to be worst in the morning and later at night. Unfortunately for me, my office has a glass wall and I’ve always kept my door open, so I have to keep any daytime retching as discrete as possible. Right now, it hasn’t been too much of a challenge, but if my morning sickness gets worse, I’m not sure how well I will be able to hide it.

Over the weekend, I was also extremely tired and low on energy. Even a trip out to get breakfast and do grocery shopping knocked me out on Sunday. I slept for two hours! I wasn’t sure how I would be able to work a full day, but I’ve managed. It’s definitely challenging, especially since I’ve cut out coffee as part of my pregnancy diet. I try to make it through by nibbling on fruit, which coincidentally, also helps with the nausea.

Lastly – the boobs. Oh, The Ladies have been tender and sore… I have had to start wearing a sports bra to bed so I can sleep better. And even still, I wake up a few times through the night because of strange and vivid dreams or because I have to pee.

You know what, though, it’s all worth it.

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what’s up doc?

January 7, 2010 at 10:29 pm (First Trimester, pregnancy after miscarriage) (, , , )

This morning I went for my first doctor’s appointment. It’s just my GP, so I knew it would be a short visit and definitely no ultrasound. It didn’t matter, I was still excited to go. Last time I saw her, she was telling me what to expect as my miscarriage went into full gear. This was a much happier visit. She was pleased to hear that I had decided to stop playing hockey right away. “I’m not saying playing hockey caused your miscarriage, but it is a rougher and more physical sport, so it’s probably better that you’re playing it safe and taking it easy.”

So – M made the call to our friend who organizes our hockey team and said that I had hurt my ankle while out for a run last night and that I wouldn’t be playing tomorrow. I’m hoping this scenario is pretty believable since I have had multiple ankle and knee problems from running. It should also allow for a longer term “injury” that will keep me sidelined for a few weeks. I honestly don’t know if it will fly, though – we’ve been playing hockey together for years and I never really miss games even if I am hurt. For weeks, I just played with my ankles taped up and would swear in the changeroom as I ripped the tape (and some of my skin) off game after game. Between this “injury” and my “detox”, the rumors may start to fly!

I don’t know if I’ve written about my fake detox yet… It’s the same line I used last time, before I miscarried. My friends are used to seeing me every weekend and I always have a glass of wine or some other kind of drink. I had to come up with some sort of excuse as to why I wasn’t drinking any more that would be somewhat believeable. In a way, I think that because I’ve done this before, it will make it easier and less suspicious this time. I know for sure last time that one of the ladies on my team knew I was pregnant, so maybe since I’ve come off  “detox” over Christmas and had enjoyed some wine over the holidays, she’ll take it easy on me this time. Also, with it being January and so many people making new year’s resolutions to eat healthier and work out, etc, it will seem like a natural time of year to not be drinking. So what is my fake detox? This is what I tell people: No booze, no coffee, no pop, no fast food and no junk food. I explain that I will allow myself to have a salad or something from Wendy’s but that I won’t have a chicken burger. I think this works because I go beyond the normal restrictions of a pregnancy diet so it sounds more like health binge. Of course, when I’m alone or just with M, I will eat whatever I want.

Back to the doc – one of the things I REALLY wanted was to get an early ultrasound. She is normally great about this type of thing, and I know she really knew how hard I took the miscarriage. I also told her that I had experienced what I figured was implantation bleeding before I took the pregnancy test, and that I had a tiny spot two days ago but nothing since. (Yes, I did completely freak out when I saw it the other morning and we were extremely worried and upset… but yesterday I had one of those funny intuitions that everything was fine.) She said I could go in for an early ultrasound in a couple of weeks and that I should mention to them that I had a bit of spotting. I plan on making an appointment for the last week of the month so that M can be with me. I am looking forward to my ultrasound so much.

Once again, I find myself wishing that I could just fast forward time to the end of January so I can see and maybe even hear my baby’s heartbeat. It’s funny how often I have wished for time to pass by faster. When I first miscarried, I wanted to fast forward to November when I would have my period again. Then in November, I wanted it to be December so that we could start trying to conceive. Once December arrived, I wanted to fast forward to Christmas so I could take my pregnancy test.  Now I am wishing for a couple of flash forwards: 1) end of January so I can have my ultrasound, 2) M’s birthday in mid-Feb so we can tell my mother and 3) March so I can be in my second trimester and have less worry about miscarriage.

I know you are supposed to relish and enjoy your pregnancy, but miscarriage has ruined that for me, I think… Why haven’t they invented a time machine yet?

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