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  • Writer's pictureAlexandra Duprey

Discovering the Magic of Your Pregnancy with Elective Ultrasound at "Expecting Miracles" | Delaware 3d/4d Ultrasound | An interview with Adrienne Talabisco, Sonographer & Business Owner Mom

3d/4d ultrasound of a baby
3d Scan of my oldest, Lenore, 2011.

Drink lots of water, bring all your loved ones, prepare yourself for suprize twins!

Elective ultrasounds are more than just a gender reveal-- they are a way for the whole family to bond with your baby. Watch your little one in real time as they make faces, yawn, suck thier fingers, lick thier placenta (Ok, maybe not that, but I did just have a mama share this tidbit about her daughter while in labor). The images captured during your scan are a way you can share the magic of your pregnancy with others to-- as well as with your babies as they grow. I know that I pull out ultrasounds on my babies birthdays every year to marvel at just how much they have grown.

I was generously gifted a 3d Ultrasound when I was pregnant with my first baby and it was such a wonderful experience. My husband was away at the time, completing his technical training for the Air Force, so I went with my mother and sister to see my baby's sweet face for the first time. The expierience helped to make my unexpected pregnancy feel real and helped me to feel a little more ready to be a mom. It also gave me piece of mind that my baby was perfect, helped me to bond with her, and us all excited to meet finally her. I was able to share those images with my long-distance husband and friends as well.

Recently, I visited Adrienne Talabisco at Expecting Miracles, Delaware's premiere elective ultrasound studio to talk all about her passion for sonography. She is so knowledgable and absolutely loves her work.

This was a fun interview. Let's Begin!

Adrienne Adrienne Talabisco welcomes families to her Newark Delaware office at expecting miracles elective ultrasound.
Adrienne Talabisco welcomes families to her Newark Delaware office.

Adrienne: Do you have babies?

Me: I do!

How old are your babies?

12, 9, 4, and 2.

That is a lot of babies. Does your oldest help our with your 2 year old? Is she a little mom?

Yes, when she turned 12, she became my babysitter. She is very responsbile and I feel confident leaving everybody under her charge for short periods of time. (She is watching her younger siblings now) I can finally go to the grocery store without dealing with tantrums, which I am so very grateful for because I didn't have that when she was little. It is very nice!

I'm sure. It's so funny when people come back to me pregnancy after pregnancy. There's one girl-- she must have had her baby in the fall. I've been open for seven years (it will be eight years in July) and she has been to me seven times-- every baby was a boy!

Oh my, so much testosterone in that house!

I have also scanned and seen celebrities. Jimmy Allen's wife came here for all three of her pregnancies, and Kailyn Lowry from Teen Mom. She's been here for her pregnancies. The last ones was the twins pregnancy-- do you follow her?

I don't. I did watch a lot of the original Teen Mom when I was pregnant with my first though. I was 20 when I was pregnant with her so I related to what those young moms where going through. I was dependent on my parents for a lot of things at that time, but then I was also legally an adult-- it was a weird spot to be in. I would watch and be like, "Thank goodness, I am three years older than these girls."

I had no idea who she was. I had never watched the show before then because that wasn't my scene. When I had my daughter. I was 30 and so like I was past that and missed that. Before Kailyn Lowry came in, an MTV producer called me and made sure that I would be able to scan her and be filmed for TV, I signed a disclosure. Even though she was a celebrity, I didn't treat any different than I do any other client. I had a whole production crew in here and I was featured on an episode of Teen Mom.

I will have to look that episode up.

(If you want to watch Adrienne preform a 3d ultrasound for Kailyn Lowry on Teen Mom 2, you can watch the episode she was featured in HERE)

When that episode aired, people were like actually taking pictures on their TV and texting it to me they're like, "oh, my gosh, you are on Teen Mom!"

I'm sure any provider would feel a little like a celebrity themselves if they were featured like you were. That's so cool.

Yes, and they would have to be able to give MTV permission to be on TV. I even did her snap for her when she was pregnant with twins. And her result came back as boy because interestingly enough what happens when you have twins is unless you know the chorionicity of the placenta-- like unless you know if they are di, di, or mono-di or that they have the same placenta, then it only tells you if you have an X Chromosome floating around. The test doesn't tell you if you have two babies that our boys, or one that is a boy and one that is a girl. It can't determine that. I'll just know if you have at least one. Now if you knew that they were identical and they share the same placenta then, yeah, you would know that they are two and that they are the same gender.

So she got the results back from the Snap and it was "boy" and so she had a gender reveal party for two boys. I told her when she was here, I said it that if it comes back boy, it doesn't mean that they're both boys. So she had a gender reveal for both boys. And then I think she went to their she went to her anatomy scan and they told her that one was a girl. She has six boys and one girl. I follow her now, but when she first came in I didn't know who she was! The producers acted like I should know who she was.

That is a funny, funny thing.

My first and second pregnancies were the only ones I got elective ultrasounds for. I had to go to the main line, which was a hike from where we lived at the time. Over an hour drive. I think that it is very cool that this is something you haveve brought to the area.

When I graduated from ultrasound school 2004, I worked at an outpatient radiology imaging center and I worked there for three years prior to opening or prior to moving onto maternal fetal medicine. And then I went to maternal fetal medicine. I worked there for 10 years. My favorite part of doing clinical scans was doing 3d. All the other things that go with it, I can do-- sure-- but I really liked the 3d part. I really like what I am doing now! I like being involved, I like talking to my clients. You come in as a client and nine times out of 10, you leave as a friend! I follow you on social and and I get to see your baby grow up. Some of these babies that are on this wall? These are from the first year that I opened in 2016. And I still follow their parents and I know some of these babies personally, and they still look like thier 3d ultrasound pictures, believe it or not. They still have the same facial features.

This cozy room is for SNAP tests and ultrasounds at expecting miracles elective ultrasound in Newark Delaware
This cozy room is for SNAP tests and Ultrasounds. Dim lighting and soft music make this an inviting space.

My husband is of the mind, that newborns all look like blobs. I disgree!

I think like you can definitely tell from these images. (Adrienne points to the ultrasound pictures on the wall) If you if you look at two newborns that were just born, they might look like they have the same characteristics-- they have smushy faces, especially noses. They're just little squishies. But the moms can certainly tell them apart. And people that are used to looking at newborns and looking at babies in utero call you can tell them apart. They look different-- like that little guy on the end.

Yes, he's really cute. Those cheeks.

He was 10 pounds.

Oh wow, he does look like a chunk.

And that picture was taken when he was 28 weeks. That mom is an acquaintance, so I know her, and that baby. He's going to be seven this year. He's still structurally he still has these cheeks like right here. His face is still the same shape. It's hard for me to even still believe that I've almost been doing this for a decade. Yeah, this is going to be eight years in July.

How did you come to open Expecting Miracles?

When I was at maternal fetal medicine, like the last couple of years in my career there, I could do a detailed anatomy-- I could do everything. The only thing that I didn't do in medicine was a fetal echo. But I was really good at what I did. And I still really good at what I do. Places like this were popping up-- on the mainline and all around.

So I said to the doctor, "I think I could do that-- go into business for myself doing elective ultrasounds". He is the doctor that I respect most and trust most that I work for. I confided in him and he goes "No, that's not legal." And I was like, well, that's funny and like these places are popping up all over. So how are they doing it? I just didn't think that was right. And so that began my journey of trying to figure out how can I do this for myself. I wanted to take the thing that I loved the most and I wanted to do it. And I wanted to offer the service to this area-- to this community-- to make it so people don't have to drive so far for it. When he said "no, you can't do it". And I was like, "We'll see about that". Because I am that kind of person.

So I hired an attorney to look into the legality of it and that was not cheap-- that was my whole income tax check for that year. My husband was not happy about that. I had seen peripherally that these places were opening up-- just not in our area. He was like "That's terrible idea. I don't want you to do it."

expecting miracle elective ultrasound Delaware

And I said, "What, why?"

"Because I don't want my life to change. Because now when you work, you have set hours. you have time you can take off, I know how much money you're going to put in a checking account every week. No, I don't want you to do it."

And I was like, "Okay, I'm probably gonna do this."

So we're still married and now he's super proud and he's glad that I did it because he sees the flexibility that this business has given me. It's not always easy, and I feel like yeah, I probably do work a lot more. I work every day. I work evenings. I work Saturdays. I never had to work a Saturday for 10 years at maternal fetal medicine, but when I opened up my business, Saturdays are my busiest day-- I'm super busy between nine and two. I usually don't even get a break. And it's just me-- I wear all the hats. I don't have any employees and a lot of people they come here and are suprized that I the one sitting at the desk, who greets them when they come in, then I scan that, and then I check them out. They didn't realize that I am a party of one-- that I am a one man band, and I say, "Yeah, I do it all". I mean, when the toilet gets stopped up, Guess who plunges it? You know, it's me? I actually do it all. It's like, you know, when you become a mom-- you are a nurse, and you are a chef, and you are taxi driver, you are a teacher-- you are all the things.

It's the same when you own you run your own business. You are all the things. You do it all. You are the admin, you are the HR, you are the social media person, you are the actual thing that you're doing. Here, I am the sonographer, and the scheduler, I am the electrician, or plumber if it is needed that day unless it's something really that I can't handle. But yeah, that's one thing that I was naive to and that I didn't realize about business, but that I learned pretty quick. But in still, when I come to work, I don't ever feel like I'm coming to work. Because it's something I love to do. I don't mind working on Saturdays because I love what I do. Does it get hectic? Yeah, sure. But I love the chaos. I thrive in the chaos. Give it to me. It's all good.

So, what kind of services do you offer here?

I do ultrasound as early as six weeks. Some people come in before. It's all over the top of the belly. Early ultrasounds are just a 2d Ultrasound to check viability. See if we can see a heartbeat, see if we can see the things that we can see in the first trimester. Early on it is the gestational sac, yolk sac, kind of verify that it's in the right place. Get a heartbeat if you're six weeks. If you're six weeks we can do the genetic gender testing with a sneak peek, which is the SNAP, we send that bloodwork lab California and you can get results next day if you want. It is super affordable. And then the 3d/4d Ultrasound packages we do anytime that you want.

Adrienne of expecting miracles preforms an early gender reveal blood test in Newark Delaware.
Adrienne preforms a SNAP test for an early gender reveal.

When is the best time for a 3d/4d Ultrasound?

The best result is typically between 24 to 26 weeks when your baby starts to fill out with fat but they have space to move around. That is when you can start to see the shape of your baby's face when your baby starts to fill out a little bit of fat underneath your skin. That starts to happen in the middle of the second trimester. There are some people who want to do it early. They say Oh, I'm gonna see my 13 week baby. You know what, I'll do it, I will accommodate you in whatever you want, all the way up to 40 weeks. Some other ultrasound places will say Well, we've we're not going to do 3d After 30-36 weeks because we can't get it a good picture. That's not always true. It becomes a little more challenging because the baby's getting bigger and growing out of the space-- we have got arms, and legs, and feet. The baby is starting to outgrow that tiny little space! But I would never turn somebody away from wanting to see their baby.

So I've gotten I have actually gotten really good pictures of a 40 week baby. Now they were probably holding it in their arms and the next within the next week, but I have gotten good 3d and 4d pictures later on from pregnancy.

Adrienne of expecting miracles preforms an early gender reveal blood test in Newark Delaware.
Apparently, it doesn't hurt!

That's very cool. And what are some of the reasons why people would want

to have like 3d and 4d ultrasound?

I think the most popular reason is curiosity and ultrasound satisfies curiosity. People want to see what's going on in there. With the 3d/4d ultrasound, you are going to get a peek inside of your womb and then-- when the time comes for your baby to make its way earthside and you deliver-- you are holding this child that you have already seen. And some people you know, they say well, I don't want to spoil the surprise. I'm going to be surprised. I think that when you see it, your maternal bond grows even stronger. It makes it real when you can see it. And I feel like when moms invite other family members like grandparents, other siblings partner, they can share in the bond to. The fact that it makes it real like when they can see in 3d all of the baby's fingers, toes, the shape of the eyes, the characteristics, the features of thier face. You go "oh my gosh, that thing is like real". And so with the 3d/4d I think the number one reason why people get it is to satisfy curiosity. But by seeing thier baby, they can really nurture that thier bond with them. They can see thier baby instead of just feeling this thing that's growing inside of them, kicking them, keeping them up at night, causing heartburn. You know, they they want to see it so that's what I do.

I agree about the bonding thing. I feel like I always needed to know what gender I was caring so I could give them a name and then work on that connection with them. If I could call them thier name and talk to them, it made it so much easier to bond. And having an image in my mind-- that was very helpful too.

And you can also start planning for the future. Do you know what I mean?

Oh, it's like with my last baby. When I found out I was pregnant with him, I wanted to know as soon as possible. I have two older girls and if I was going to have another boy, I was getting rid of all of the baby and toddler clothing that I had for my girls. That's it. They were going away.

That's right. What did you end up having?

Adrienne of expecting miracles preforms an elective ultrasound on a pregnant mother in Newark Delaware

My youngest is a boy. So yes, I got rid of all the girl clothes.

Then you were able to purge and you were able to think ahead, and you start planning like who's gonna sleep where like logistics?

Oh, yeah, We moved the girls into a bunk room together. It really helped me with organizing and mentally preparing, physically preparing my home-- especially because he was unexpected.

At least you could accommodate the surprise because you guys figured out all the things that you needed to do (or that stuff we think that we need to do right?) I think that that is a huge reason why people want to find out the gender. A lot of people choose to do the sneak peek and then get their clinical genetic testing-- you just gotta wait. And with this SNAP, it's affordable. People spend that at Starbucks every month. Now your clinical one that's going to check for all the genetic disorders and chromosomal abnormalities? That test is like five to $7,000. If you have a reason or an indication, insurance will cover it. So gender is just like an extra added thing that they throw in there. At $155, this test is so affordable people will do it, just for the peace of mind.

They will get the gender right away and then they'll do their clinical. I think it's a great idea. And then the lack of 3d/4d ultrasound, some people that are low risk. They are healthy and have never been pregnant before, so we assume that they're going to have a healthy pregnancy. They're going to get one anatomy scan and that is it at 20 weeks. If you're healthy. You don't need anymore scans and the insurances won't cover anymore.

Even if you're not healthy and you need to have additional ultrasounds, there is

a chance that you might not get a 3d. There is a chance that you might, because the technology and the machines that the clinicians use we have the technology, just like when I worked at a high risk OB practice. But if your baby's not in a good position or they're busy, they're not going to spend time to work on getting a 3d image for you when you're there for clinical indication that they need to clear up for you. So I do have a lot of moms who actually go to maternal fetal medicine, but don't get great imaging. They are disappointed or they are unhappy with the images that they get, and then they come here and they never leave disappointed. No one ever leaves disappointed.

It seems like the experience you provide is very personal and not clinical at all. This is a warm, inviting environment-- you have got dim lighting, soft music, and good smells.

What is it like for moms to get thier elective ultrasounds here?

When I get a mom on the bed and she's here for a 3d ultrasound, for me, it's business. I do not like to lose-- it's me against babies. So I'm gonna get you as many good, clear, quality images of the baby's face that I can. If your baby does not cooperate. Then I'm having you come back, again, because I do not like to lose. And so I have nothing? You know what? Yoday isn't the day-- your baby just doesn't want to cooperate. I'm gonna have you come back in a week to two weeks give it a try again. And before you come back, I want to make sure that you're properly prepared and hydrated. That looks like three to five days before your appointment-- you are drinking 100 ounces of water a day. I know that is a challenge, right? Even for people that aren't pregnant and don't have a bowling ball sitting on their bladder, it's it's a challenge to get them to drink that much water.

Adrienne of expecting miracles preforms an elective ultrasound on a pregnant mother in Newark Delaware

And what does that drinking that much water do?

That water is going to help with the amniotic fluid. When you are hydrated you have more fluid around the baby. It helps them to be able to move more, and it also helps with the transmission of the ultrasound. So the more fluid that's in front of a baby's face, the better the 3d and 4d images are going to be, the clearer images they are going to be, the more features that we can see. If there's no fluid, or if the baby's up against the uterine wall or placenta, where's the baby's hands in the face or cord? And so the ultrasound beam has trouble telling where one thing starts and one thing stops and so the images will get blurry.

And I've seen people post images on social media that are poor quality and not clear at all-- I probably wouldn't have taken that picture. If I did those would have been pictures where I would have said, "I think you need to come back because your baby today isn't cooperating with us". Now if I if I'm you know spending 30 minutes on a scan

and for the first 20 minutes your baby doesn't cooperate, and then the last 10 minutes does cooperate and I'm able to get your baby in a position where I start getting good pictures-- if I get a handful of good pictures, then I don't feel like I lost. But if I get nothing in 30 minutes, you are coming back because I do not like to lose. While you are here, I'm going to everything in my power-- every single tip and trick that I know-- to get your baby to cooperate. If it means putting this bed flat back and kind of propping your butt up to move your baby out of your pelvis. I'll do that if I need to turn you onto your side, I will do it. If I need to get you to bounce on the ball. I'll do that.

I was curious as to why there was an excersize ball in the corner.

the only thing that I have not done to get baby to move is have anybody stand on their head. Now I did have a mom who actually did stand on her head she offered and I was like "God bless you". I couldn't do that and I'm not trying to go for it. So yeah, everything I have within my power, every tip and trick that I know to use. Recently, I've been taking a little pen that happens to have a flashlight on the end and I will shine that right your belly try and get your baby to move. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't.

Adrienne of expecting miracles preforms an elective ultrasound on a pregnant mother in Newark Delaware

That's so funny. Have you ever tried ice cubes before? I know that cold sometimes works too. I had a breech baby so all your tricks to get babies to move sounds really familiar to me-- like what I had to go through to get my baby to move.

Did they move for you?

Yes. And that was the most uncomfortable feeling in the world. I woke up in the middle of the night after I did so many headstands in the pool. And then I was watching a movie kind of inverted on an ironing board on the couch. And I woke up in middle the night and I had like head over here and rump over here. So two big balls and it was not right. I was probably like 32 weeks when she moved, so she was really big. But she did. When she started moving, I I found her head and I just kind of gave her a little bit of nudge, I woke up the next morning and she done the whole 180*.

My daughter was breech. I wasn't so lucky. She was way more stubborn. So I ended up having a C section. And at the time I worked from maternal fetal medicine and the doctors were they were like, "Oh, let us turn her"

Those versions just sounds really uncomfortable.


Yeah, no. Not for me.

I feel a lot of times I can see the personality of the unborn baby while I'm scanning. I can tell when a baby is super stubborn or super chill. I'm like, "Guys, your baby is so active-- get ready!" Or visa versa. There are some babies that are super duper chill. A bomb could go off and you can't wake them up. You got a kid that you're going to have in the store with a stroller and they're going to be sleeping, unbothered. Usually that comes when there's older siblings, right? All this chaos that they're used to all the time.And there's the other ones that are super reactive. They're kicking-- you better get your roller skates on because you're gonna be busy. So yeah, I feel like I can tell the personality with these ultrasounds that I do.

Adrienne of expecting miracles preforms an elective ultrasound on a pregnant mother in Newark Delaware

What are some other reasons someone might choose an elective ultrasound here versus crossing thier fingers that they will get a good, clear 3d image at thier anatomy scan?

*Trigger Warning: we will discuss pregnancy loss in this next section.

I think that because of how often they do it, clinicians can really lose the human touch. And it's not like that here. Here, I'm able to be a part of something special. When you go to your clinical exam. You become the preeclampsia in room five, or you become a general anomaly in room three, or the cleft lip. You're not you-- you're not a person anymore. You're now identified as the problem that you're having with your pregnancy. Here. I'm not identifying your problems. I'm showing you the magic of your pregnancy. It's different. And so I think that's another reason why people want to come here and they want to feel the magic and when you're at your clinical exam, nothing really magical is going on.

A lot of times moms are having high anxiety and on high alert, because there is a potential for something to be wrong or there already is something wrong. I have even had moms here that have known that they had a baby with a terminal illness or disease condition normally, and they want to see the baby until the baby's heart no longer beats. Their doctor's told them that they would go to their anatomy scan to see if thier baby's heart stopped beating and they weren't going to check on the baby in between. I have had a mom come to me at 13 weeks because her baby did have had a lethal anomaly and the mom was like, I don't feel like that's right. So she came in here every week until the baby's heart stopped beating, maybe five times. And when she came in that last time I said okay, baby's heart's not beating. And she contacted her provider and she said, "I know my baby's not alive anymore". Her provider had been like, well, "you're just gonna come in one day and babies babies heart's not going to a beating." and she had asked, "Do you want to follow me every week to see when that was?" And they said "No, why would we waste our time because we know that eventually it's going to happen and when it happens, we'll let you know." So she took the initiative and advocated for herself-- she went outside of her routine prenatal care and came here and I've subsequently scanned her with two pregnancies after that.

I've also seen moms in here that have had ectopic pregnancies that I have been able to, you know, I suspect it, so I reached out to the provider. They went to their provider the next day, although they weren't scheduled for six weeks out. They had the pregnancy removed with an ovary in a tube. I potentially, saved this woman's life. She had a life threatening situation. If she had not seen her provider until 16 weeks that could have rupture. And it could have potentially been lethal. Then another woman that I scanned recently, a mother who had a 15 year old, an 11 year old, and a five year old and this was a surprise pregnancy because she had had her right ovary moved about four or five years ago, on account of endometriosis after her youngest. Her first prenatal appointment was scheduled for 11 weeks. And she was six-ish weeks when I was able to get a heartbeat. However, it was not in her uterus and she had to have her left ovary removed-- her only remaining ovary-- she would be unable to have anymore children. And so that really that one broke my heart but again, bittersweet because potentially, if had she had not come in here, bad things could have happen. She could have had a much worse outcome. So I feel that you know? Sometimes I think, is this what I'm supposed to be doing? But these thing shappen and I know that this is absolutely what I am supposed to be doing. I am in this place for a reason-- doing these things for a reason.

When you come here, everyone knows that this is not a diagnostic scan-- they sign the forms registration waiver form. I'm not here to obtain or provide any medical information. Unofficially, I will measure your baby in the first trimester and give you an unofficial gestation age. So you can feel like your dates are right in your mind. Or if I see something that doesn't look quite right-- then I make it my business to call and get you followed up on. I will speak to your provider. I am trusted in the community amongst providers because, like I said, I've been doing it for 20 years. 10 of those years I spent at a high risk of the practice and I know that I trained a few of the providers and the attendings in our area now so yeah, I've been able to help a lot of people. So that's why I love doing what I'm doing.

That is amazing that you have been able to catch ectopic pregnancies so early and to help mother's through thier losses.

Have you discovered any happy surprises for your clients?

Yes, I had a mom who had an infant at home-- maybe 8 months old-- and she took a pregnancy test and found out that she was pregnant again. But she wasn't scheduled with her provider or the until she was 10-11 weeks and she was just super curious. And I said to her, "Wouldn't it be funny if there were two babies in here-- because then you'd have three on her two. Like How funny would that be?"

She said, 'That wouldn't be very funny at all"

When I was scanning here, I was like "Oh, come on!" I said, "Are you guys joking? Are you kidding me? Guys, there's two babies in here".

And she was like, "No. I don't believe you".

I said, "Well, you better believe it because here's baby A and here's Baby B."

She was like, "That's not my ultrasound. That's not me."

I said, "No, that's definitely you. I would never put somebody else's picture up here on the screen".

They were here for the five minute scan and it took me 25 minutes of scanning to to convince that they were having twins-- they really needed that extra time for it to sink in.

It was it was fun. That was that was really fun. I do enjoy giving those surprises.

That's not the first surprise twins I've had, but that's probably one of my favorite things to do. I do enjoy getting families who have you know like five boys and this is six baby and they're wanted to be a girl and then it's a girl. Yeah, I've had it the other way where I've got five or six girls and then this is baby number six or seven. And dad falls on the floor because I tell him it's a boy he's like, "Thank you, Jesus!" and it is like the best thing that's ever happened to him, because that's a lot of girls.

I've had grandparents who come in with their parents-- this is going to be their baby's great grandparent, and either it's their first or the great-grandparent or grandparent is terminal and may not get to meet this grand grand baby. So this is a way to introduce great grandparent to the baby.

That's beautiful.

I absolutely I'm all for it. It's on the website in our frequently asked questions, "can I bring people with me to my ultrasound? Yes, yes, yes! Yes you can and I would love for you bring your perople. We are very welcoming, inviting, and very open here. I want you to involve your family because it's important. Like this is a huge, huge thing. Your lives ready to change!

Adrienne of expecting miracles preforms an elective ultrasound on a pregnant mother in Newark Delaware

How can people learn more about Expecting Miracles?

You may find the information and vintage photogtraphs interested in this article about the "History of the Sonograph in Obstetrics". You can read it HERE.

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