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What are the Chances?: Baby, er… Fetus Names

It’s something I’ve feared a long while… Giving my baby the most common name in the class. In the fourth grade I remember there being 5 other Jennifer’s in the class. That’s when I developed the nickname “Jenn” while others were called “Jenny” (a name I refuse to answer to). When it comes to baby names, I’m pretty sure we’re covered with unique but classy, cute names. I’ve only shared them with a select few friends, and I haven’t even told my parents.

I thought we had an agreement not to tell anyone… My husband swore me to secrecy but recently told me he told his mom our names. So I’m ALMOST ready to spill the beans myself, but not quite.

I flipped through baby books to see where our top choices fit in the rankings. Neither our boy choice nor the girl choice was listed in the book. Great… They aren’t in the top 600! Portions of their names were ranked in the 300s and 500s, but not the full name. I think we’re safe… I think our children won’t have to face the same fate we did in school unsure every time we heard our name called if it was REALLY us they wanted. No… I think they’re safe. But as for my little fetus, it’s a different story.

I thought I was somewhat unique by calling my little baby with the unknown gender at the moment Spawn or Spawnie… But my friend from Bellyitch showed me it’s on the list of “Popular Fetus Names” on About.com.

1. Cletus the Fetus
2. Bean (and variations jelly bean and baby bean)
3. Spawn
4. Thumper
5. Peanut
6. Bump
7. Spud
8. Baby
9. Octopus
10. Junior

Ok first off.. Who calls their baby Octopus? I know they kind of have little nubs at first, but not eight of them!

But anyway, Spawn, ranked #3, Who would have thought? Granted the “ie” isn’t picked up by most people but I’m still quite surprised so many people decide to call their growing babies Spawn.

I guess I’m not as weird as I thought, but part of me is a little disappointed by that.

Did you have a nickname for your baby before you knew the gender? Or do you have one planned? Is it on the list?

Does your child have a popular name or are you as worried as I am about your child having a very common name?


marfmom says:

We called our baby Lil Z. My brothers-in-law nicknamed the baby Blastorge and my brother called him Rutabega. Loooong story on both of those! We didn’t find out the gender ahead of time so we needed something neutral.

Another great way to check the popularity of your name choice is to go to the Social Security website. That’s probably a more accurate check than seeing the popularity from books or other websites, b/c the SS website uses birth records. I didn’t want a name that appeared in the top 50, preferably the top 100. I think the name we finally picked wasn’t in the top 100, but I forget, and I’m certain no one in his class with share his middle name 🙂

Are you finding the gender out ahead of time? I forget if you’ve mentioned that.

Amanda says:

I had twins and named one bean and one peanut.

Cindy says:

When that baby is about 8 months gestation and active, you’ll know why some people call them octopus! 😉

I thought for sure my daughter was a boy, but we didn’t have a nickname. My husband always called the baby Mel, cuz he knew she was a girl and we were going to name her Maleficent.

I refuse to use names that I have heard other people have. I never knew another Kayce except my cousin (Kasey) until I was a senior in High School. I want my kids to be able to have unique names.

We have our next two girls picked out and kind of have a boy name picked. I doubt anyone else has ever used them… Midna Rae, Alarielle Evey and then for the boy it’s Tyrion Gimli. Even my daughter is Glade Maleficent (Glade is a boy’s name from back in the 50’s and such).

There are actually a lot of choices you can make so your kids don’t have names everyone else does.

Good luck!!

LOL! That is the story of my life!

I had Audrey, thinking it was creative and unusual, then moved and discovered that it was far more common in my new town. Sighhh… Then I had Madeline, once again thinking it was different. Not so much – that year “Madison” was near the top of the charts, slightly different, but not really. Then Eleanore. Yeah – I KNEW that was original! Um, well, the “e” at the end may be, but there are oodles of Ellies running around here. By the time I had Noah, I had given up. I knew there were others out there, but just discovered a couple weeks ago (he’s three, btw) that it was in the TOP TWENTY!!!! UGH!!!!!!! Now I have Jonah, and ya know, I don’t care how many other people have that name, it’s perfect for my son, and I love it!

There is something to be said for being able to find mugs/pencils/keychains with your name preprinted on them – take it from a “Catherine with a ‘C'”!

My 3 kiddos are all teens now but I had to smile while reading your blog that exudes excitement and anticipation for your baby. I remember it like it was yesterday. May God bless you & your precious baby – whatever you name your Spawn 🙂 Cheers from SITS!

Emmy says:

I honestly can’t remembered what I called them when they were still cooking 🙂
My name is Emily.. when my parents named me that, it was not popular at all. In my high school graduating class of almost 600 there may have been one other is all. Then I went to college, everyone was named Emily! Now every little kid is named Emily.

So we didn’t want a totally popular name either, but we definitely didn’t want a weird way out there one either that no one knows how to say or pronounce. So for my son we picked Lucas.. at the time it was about 160, two short years later it was in the 50’s… so you just never know.
But if your names are in the 600’s you are probably pretty safe.

Jennifer says:

I know just what you mean, my name is Jennifer too and I think there was at least 8 other Jennifers between all my classes in high school. One class had 3 other Jennifers in it! The names for unborn babies are pretty interesting!

Brittany says:

my name is brittany and i had a class one time that had 8 in one single class so from that day i vowed my kid would never have a normal name. looking at the lists i cant even pick a top 100 name….its just too close for me which sucks bc i wanted to name my lil girl Evelyn after my grandmother and now that name like 54 on the list…..so i still dont know. my husband is continously picking “normal” names….and i just cant do it! good thing we have 28 weeks to go til then!

Sarah says:

Octopus?? What the…?? I don’t know what I will call ours…I like Beaner but our good friends still call their 4 year old that. Maybe Cukoo.

I LOVE the side bar poll “are you a dude?”

I have no boy names picked out besides Colby, which is my last name and will be my maiden name. I told Sean he can name the boy if we ever have one. I also will not tell anyone the name choices (and we won’t find out the sex). BTW, did you ever check that Chinese Gender Predictor Chart? The one on Labor of Love is a good one.

Becky says:

When my first son was still cooking, we called him “nubbin” because the ultrasound I had at 8 weeks was all little nubs like a gummi bear :-). We named him Kyan, which people always think I made up, but in fact it WAS in a book of 75,000 baby names. For our new little baby boy due in February, we haven’t decided on a name yet, but the goal is to stay out of the Top 100 without giving them a name so weird they get made fun of. Kieran, Gage, and Iain top the list right now…

I think spawn is a cute name for a fetus. 🙂 I even like Spaawnie…Awww. so cute.

Michelle says:

When I was pregnant with my son my best friend started calling him “bubba” and it stuck throughout his babyhood. As he approached one we purposefully got out of the habit of calling him bubba so he didn’t think that was his name.

I am with you on the unique name thing. My name is Michelle and my hubby’s name is Nathan. We were both 1 of at least 2, usually 3 or 4. Even as adult there is always another Michelle everywhere I go. My best friend is Michelle (and a different Michelle was my best friend as a small child), at work there are other Michelle’s, at my kids school. It is annoying to say the least. My kids won’t ever have that problem. Although we thought we had a unique name for our youngest but having been running into more people with her name, including someone at her doctor and now someone in her dance class.

alli says:

I can’t remember if I’ve told you congratulations yet or not! I am excited for you and can’t wait to hear your name choices!

I’m not too concerned about name popularity…though I used to really like the name Emma (mainly bc of Emma Smith), but wouldn’t ya know it’s #1 now? It’s okay though. I have a long list of little girl names I like. It’s boy names I have a hard time thinking of.

I have to say, as a speech pathologist, I’m more worried about choosing a name that will be difficult for a little kid to say. Unfortunately, my favorite girl name of the moment would sound like “wee-nuh” if she or her classmates glided the /l/. That makes me sad. lol.

My girls have growing in trend names…top 10 for both. But I didn’t know that when we named them. Nor do I really care now. How we picked my 1st dd’s name: when I was 1 week overdue, we only had a middle name (Grace) picked out, so I read our list of names to my belly & she kicked SUPER hard at Sophia. Sophia Grace it was & hubby loved it! DD #2 is to honor my mother (Judith Lynn) by reversing it MadeLYN JUDITH. I don’t care if Sophie or Maddy have to be recognized with the 1st inital of our last name because they’re one of 5 in their class. To us, their names have very special meanings and I hope to share that with them. :o)

Mallory says:

Once I knew I was having a boy, I picked out the name I wanted. We called the baby that name most of the time, and even used it in the baby shower invites. It wasn’t too popular, but it was still fairly common. Then, two weeks before he was born….the hubs and I were both feeling like we needed to change his name. It was overwhelmingly the right choice, even though we were so set on the first name. So we changed it. And now our kiddo has one of those top 25 names of every single year since Moses! lol. Oh well, if Heavenly Father kept telling us to name him Benj— (whoa, I almost let my kid’s identity out on the internet! lol) I wasn’t going to argue!

robinpreg says:

We had friends who did the Hell Spawn as a variation on Spawn. It’s a lot like prawn for me…

As for truly naming your baby a popular name, I’m fairly against it but loved the name Benjamin. After 16 years, the name still fits and truly we’ve only had a class or two where he shared a name. Now at 16, he’s the only Benjamin left, everyone else is Ben.

Elana Kahn says:

I called the twins “the twins” or “the twinners” or something like that before they were born, and I still do.

As for their actual names, in the Orthodox Jewish world they have quite common names, but in the secular world they’re nearly unheard of. Same with my name…

Jenna says:

We agreed we want to stay out of the Top 50 on the Social Security Most Commonly Used Names list.

Audrey is becoming fairly popular, but at the time of her birth, her name was ranked 68th. And it’s still not up there with Emma and Olivia. She’s the only one in our ward.

We always call our baby fetus “Baby Inside.” So we’re freaks I guess.

Tori says:

My son was “bugaboo” while he was an unknown, and when we found out (early, at like 14 weeks when I was in the ER) he was a HE, we just started calling him by his name, Zach. However, bugaboo has lasted well into his infancy 🙂

I hear you about the never answering to a common nickname for your name thing. My full name is Victoria, so guess what everyone assumes I go by? Vicky. Ew. (No offense to any Vicky’s out there, I just hated it.) So, I’m Tori. Of course, there are apparently like fifty different ways people want to SPELL Tori, and oddly it’s never the one I use (which is just my name minus the Vic and the A at the end!). LOL

Elaine A. says:

We called our first the “raspberry” because I’d read an email update saying he/she was that size at a certain point. We’ve also used blueberry and zygote.

And our kids do have fairly popular names but I love them so that is that. : )

I’m with you. Being that my name id Kelly, I definitely do not want my child to have common name. My husband and I decided on a unisex name before we got pregnant, so we’ve been calling the baby by his name since conception. Of course now we know it’s a boy so he has a middle name too. Being able to call him by name for so long has made me feel a special bond.

Our little one’s nickname in utero was Furgo. I still call her that sometimes. Her name is actually Chelsea. When I was younger, I knew quite a few Chelseas. I don’t think it is as popular these days though.

Chantel says:

I never really thought to give any of my children nicknames in the womb. I don’t know why. Usually until we found out what they were, I called them baby. With our last one, I had to call him baby until birth because we didn’t find out what he was.

Nancy says:

We called her munchkin. Now that she’s born, my pet name of choice is pea, which came from sweet pea.

My MIL calls her bug or bugaboo. That came from ladybug. The names will change and evolve!

LOL for the first 6 months I didn’t know are we having a girl or a boy, but I called it “Minnie me” LOL than we found out it was a little girl 😉 her name now is not very common here (well it is but like not in the top 10) but we used the spelling from where we were born in Europe 😉 again, I love to complicate things LOL

Mistress says:

Well I have 3 kids and ALL 3 have common names….

Here is the story of each…

My daughter I named her when I found out she was a girl. My husband didn’t have a choice ;o)

My son: Well, my dh is in the Navy. My son was born Jan 19th 2007 and dh was off the coast of Africa and I was not able to get ahold of him. Prince (that is NOT his name) was taken an hour away to Children’s Hospital Orlando and I was just going to leave it Baby (our last name) but my mother said she was not letting him leave without a name, just in case. I picked the name DH chose…. I do not use it to this day and he will be 3 in Jan….

Munchkin was munchkin from the get go. I knew that her name was going to be after my grandmother. English or Vietnamese. We did not know which. She was 40 hours old before she got her name!

I knew I wanted my girls to have my middle name as theirs…. That is ALL I knew…

So my kids have VERY common names. They are all in the top 5 I believe. I do not like it but there are reasons for each. That is what I like ;o)

X says:

I think if you name your child Emily or Joseph she or he will have a unique name, because the new trend seems to be that everyone is naming their kids the most ridiculous things like last names, made up names, words spelled backwards, or common names with seven zillion extra letters or spelled like a drunken kindergartener tried to spell it. Instead of the class having four Jennifer’s now there will be four Breslyn’s or four Neveah’s or four Jyeneifeur’s.

Genevieve says:

when i was pregnant, we called our baby “pat”. this was gender general, a name my husband (no offense to anyone!) wouldn’t use, and he was just always patting my belly 🙂 i loved it. that was our daughters name even after we knew it was a girl and we were talking names. she stayed pat up until she was born. love it!

Betty says:

I have an unusual first name and HATE that people always get it wrong. And my fiancé’s surname is pretty unusual too — so our babies are going to have very straightforward first names. Although the names we’ve picked out aren’t super-popular, which we’re happy about.

jennie w. says:

I never really called my babies anything in Utero. Just “baby”. So original! But I knew, being a Jennie, that I wanted to name my children unusual names without them sounding weird or made up. I hated having a common name that was spelled weird–it’s the worst of both worlds!

I made sure that all their names were no higher than #300 on the Social Security website. Some names have gotten more common since I picked them, but for the most part they are still pretty unusual. I get lots of compliments on them, so I guess I picked well. They are India, York, Finn, Arabella, Jasper and Adelaide (nicknamed Ada)

My husband liked to say I had six kids just so I could pick baby names. It’s my favorite thing to do and I have every baby name book there is! I still buy them even though I’m done having kids!

KarmaPearl says:

My first baby I called “green bean” (mostly because my last name is Green and I thought it was terribly clever)… And this one we called “Gummi Bear” because that’s what she looked like at her first ultrasound! 🙂

Sarah says:

I can relate to the having 5 other girls in the class with your name. My name is Sarah (with an H). What I hated most was when my teachers would misspell my name and forget the H. Now I have a SIL named Sara so we have to make it very clear to everyone that our names are slightly different. My husband’s name is David so we have decided that our kids are going to have uncommon names. But not the weird names that are so common in the LDS community. We haven’t really talked about baby names and I don’t think we will until we actually are sure we are having a baby.

MommyJ says:

We called my first baby Leonard. It was a joke, but it stuck through the entire pregnancy. My name is Jenny, oddly enough, it’s JUST Jenny… no Jennifer. It irritates me to NO end when people just assume it’s Jennifer and they call me that. Why oh, why? I’m not a Jennifer, never have been.

As to my kids’ names, I have a daughter named Lucy, and I’ve never met another in her six years of life, so I think that one is pretty uncommon. My baby is named Henry, also a name you don’t hear too often. I tend to like really old fashioned, classic names, so while I can’t guarantee the names won’t be heard somewhere else, they are timeless enough that they won’t be a “trend” name for a certain time period, like Jennifer in 70’s and 80’s.

Lauren says:

my friend called her unborn baby “pickles” — which I thought was cute. My best friend called her little one “clementine” because in her first ultrasound they told her he was the size of an orange seed! haha

I called our first baby (who we sadly lost at 12 weeks) “noodle”, “jelly bean”, and “pumpkin seed”

LegalChic says:

I never had a fetus name lol, never even thought of it lol. I think Spawnie is great though. Cletus the Fetus is just mean and so is Octopus lol.

When I was a kid my name wasn’t very common but now everyone has it and Brianna is spelled a lot of different ways now. I wanted my daughter to have a different name so I picked Chelina Raquel. I have only just recently heard of a couple other Chelina’s. I love unusual names though and don’t think I would pick a common name if I have another.

Brianna
http://www.girlscurlshair.com

Jessica says:

When my son was still in utero, we called him “watermelon”…my husband always joked that I looked like I swallowed a watermelon whole, and the name stuck. We haven’t really come up with any nicknames that have stuck for the one I’m pregnant with now, though.

When we named our son, we didn’t even think about what names were popular or common. We just picked one we liked. Turns out it’s in the top 100 names for the year he was born (but honestly, I haven’t met another kid his age with his name).

Arin says:

Well I have to say somthing since my name is a bit common but unique because it’s spelled differently. Okay so yeah i was in a class with two other Erins-we all had different spellings. But it was really okay. Now on to the biggest thing i think about when naming my kids-Seriously do not use weird spellings. My mom wanted all her kids starting with the same letter so my name became Arin. It’s cool-unique definitely-but I hated it when people would pronounce it wrong or spell it wrong without asking me first how it was spelled. That said-best choose a unique name-and spell it the way it sounds-or should be spelled. Please don’t give your child that grief-it’s worse than hearing your name being called for someone else. I know. Anyway-my girls are all named names that are traditional, but not as common anymore-so i kind of get away with there being more than one in their classes…at least so far. We aren’t finding out what #4 is going to be so it’ll be fun finding a specific boy and girl name that I think fits. Plus-you want to look and think about the meaning of their name as well. It’s kind of cool and sometimes will change your mind about certain names and have you leaning towards others.

Arin says:

Oh and We use the middle name for the weird name/ spelling or whatever crazy name we come up with that we like-it just sort of works out better that way. Good compromise.

B&U&I says:

I referred to our little one as Booger and my husband hated it. So he was relieved when we found out gender and I started calling her by her name.

I love uncommon names! My name is fairly unusual (Umeka) and I always loved it. Plus it makes it so I get really excited when I meet someone who shares my name. As for our daughter we decided on a name that is already fairly uncommon and then spelled it totally different. Her name is spelled Iyhyanna (eye+yanna) which is typically spelled Ayana using 1 “N” or 2.

hotpants™ says:

I called both of mine Bean while pregnant. My children have unique, uncommon names without them being weird. I personally think they’re perfect.

MommaRoberts says:

Haleigh was our little peanut at first but I always knew she was a girl so I had her name and had found out what she was at 17 weeks so I didn’t have a nick name for long (found out preggo at 6 weeks first us at 9weeks) I nvr realized just how popular the name Haleigh was until after I named her and I love the name so I don’t even care :). At least the spelling is diferent than most.

Brittanie says:

Thought I gave my little girl a unique and cute name; I’d almost never heard it around – ended up #2 on the most popular list worldwide last year – go figure! Same thing happened with mom naming me – she said she had NEVER heard Brittanie (in any variation of spelling) as a first name.

I wanted to name my child a name that was somewhat common so they could get their name engraved on things, because even though my name is common, the spelling isn’t, so I could never get a little personalized license plate or bracelet or anything like that.

As for fetus names, we just called her “the baby”.

Nishant says:

I never knew another Kayce except my cousin until I was a senior in High School. I want my kids to be able to have unique names.

Work From Home India

Alisa says:

MY first daughter was a surprise and I nicknamed her my jelly belly bean (I luv that candy). This time I didn’t think of a name until we found out the sex, so this time it’s my babydoll(b/c I see my daughter draggin’ around my dolls and calling them bay-bee. It will come to you, are you finding out the sex?

When I got pregnant with my son, it was after receiving the birth control shot – which is 99.3% effective.

Until he was born, I referred to him as Point Seven (.7).

Alanna says:

For now, hubby is calling the baby “Clud.” He found it in a baby name book, and for some reason he gets a real kick out of it. Otherwise, we call it Squirt.
As for a real name, I’m with you – I don’t want to give my baby a weird name, but I definitely want something unique. I have an unusual name, and it was great not having 5 other kids in my class with the same name! (I thought my name was a little TOO weird at the time, but now I love it!)
We haven’t chosen names yet, but we have decided to keep our choices a secret until baby is born. 🙂
(Choosing a name is hard work!!!)

Before we knew the gender of our baby we called him “Bubble” and “The Occupant”.

His name is very unique (and long!) His name is Phoenix Alexander Troy. I’ve always like unique and uncommon. I didn’t want to holler across the playground “Hey Tommy!” and 5 kids turn around.

Camryn says:

ooooo–am I the 50th commentor? Almost?

Hey there–I’m visiting from MMB. Love your blog–love your post. It makes me think about how long of a process it is to think of just the perfect name for your baby. I think you should go out on a limb and call your baby: “Spawn Octopus”…it has a nice little ring to it, don’t you think? LOl.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts–loved reminicing all those times I fretted over just the perfect names for my kids that weren’t “common”.

I just grabbed your button!

The man and I had numerous names for ours including: “Snow Pea”, “Snow Baby”, “Peaster”, “Boots”, “Biscuit”, “Bootsie” and “Little Champ” (my dad used to call me champ)…matter of fact, we call her these names and more now. Poor little thing probably has no idea what her real name is at this point!!

I felt the same way when it came to my daughter. I hate I didn’t name her nevaeh like I wanted to, but Danielle grew on me over time. Still, to this day, I tell everyone PLEASE don’t call my baby girl Dani. I hate it. I hate it so much it’s not even funny. I call her Chichi- something that has nothing to do with her name just like my nickname, Stephie, had absolutely noting to do with my government name.

Devri says:

lol none of my kids will never have a kid with the same name.. advantage of being married to a Tongan. lol

S says:

I think when I get pregnant I will call the baby/fetus “Paris”, short for parasite. A) because I think its funny and B) Im pretty sure it IS a parasite, no matter how cute.
From Wikipedia under definition of Parasite:
In general, parasites are much smaller than their hosts, show a high degree of specialization for their mode of life […]Parasites reduce host fitness in many ways, ranging from general or specialized pathology (such as castration–[BYE BYE LIBIDO!]),[…] to the modification of host behaviour. Parasites increase their fitness by exploiting hosts for food, habitat and dispersal.

LOL!!!!

S says:

Also, as a note on the whole “unique name” issue:

I have a unique name and am forever being called by the wrong name. It is frustrating and even (inexplicably) embarrassing. While we are not even close to being pregnant or having children, we have decided on easily pronounceable, unique names that are devoid of crazy spellings or extra letters.

Lol I think Spawn is the perfect fetus name!

Angie says:

We struggled with infertility for 7 years before adopting our son. For the sake of not being further depressed, we never talked about baby names! We found out we had been chosen by our sons birth mother just 5 weeks before he was born and then it was ON! I must have run a gazzilion names past my hubby and he didn’t like any but JUNIOR..(um no thanks!)
I like the unique names and my husband likes the common ones but one traditional name that I loved was Adam. It’s well known but not over done. I was shocked when the hubby agreed that he liked it too..and I must say we have the cutest little Adam I have ever seen 🙂
Congrats on your little bundle..babies are truly a blessing!

Fionen says:

My mom grew up with a really unusual name “Alene”. It’s a beautiful name but very few people say it correctly. Even if she takes the time to explain the pronunciation to them, “it’s like the medicine Aleve but with an ‘n’ instead of the ‘v'” they still call her Eileen, Arlene, Allen, Al-lean, etc. It really bothers me when people she has known for years still say the wrong name but my mom has gotten used to it. She rarely corrects people anymore.

So, that’s why she gave all of her children well known names. My name is Jessica. However… I hated having such a common name because, like you, I also had multiple people in my classroom with the same name. That is why I’m going to give my children names that aren’t popular but aren’t obscure either. No Ava’s, Emily’s, Jacob’s, or Aiden’s for me.

I’m also going to make sure that I use the most common spelling of the name. It really bothers me when people take a well known name and give it an unusual spelling. I don’t think they realize that their child will have to spell out their first name for the rest of their lives. I have an uncommon last name and I always have to tell people how to spell it… then I have to correct them, and still half of them write/type it wrong. It’s a pain in the butt! Why would parents do that to their children? People, please don’t spell Jessica like Jessika or Ashley like Ashleigh. It really doesn’t make your child’s name more original. In the end, they’re still just a Jessica and an Ashley.

Sewing-Chick says:

I didn’t want my sons to have popular names either. I’m a teacher, so I wanted to pick names I don’t usually see. I’ve only ever had one Joel in 11 years, and never a Jonas. (Those are our sons names). Jonas is an anagram of my husband’s name Jason, as well as an ancestor on my side of the family. Joel was my GGG grandfather’s name. We’re sticking with family tree names 🙂

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Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget

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I'm a former journalist, and lifelong creator striving to make the world a better place. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day by cherishing our individuality and celebrating our differences.



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