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Using a Midwife with Kaiser

The Parents Network > Reviews > Health & Medical > Kaiser Doctors > Using a Midwife with Kaiser


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2013 - 2014 Recommendations


Widwives for Kaiser hospital delivery?

Nov 2013

Looking to get pregnant shortly and would like to do an in-hospital delivery with midwives. I didn't find many current reviews of the Kaiser midwifery system. Has anyone used them in either Walnut Creek or Hayward recently? We live in Oakland and the idea of driving through the tunnel in active labor is frightening but have heard that Walnut Creek is a nicer facility. Does anyone know of plans to have midwives at the Oakland facility? I asked my primary care doctor about this and she didn't know much.
Thanks!
--if we end up delivering in the tunnel I guess we'll just call 'em Caldecott


I recently gave birth at Hayward and had an amazing experience. I never went to Walnut Creek but did have my first at Oakland Kaiser 6 years ago. There were way more people in the room at the moment of delivery in Oakland. Hayward definitely felt more intimate. While I loved my MD at Oakland, my midwife, Alison Stuart was wonderful, warm, relaxed, and happy to let me deliver in my preferred position. Hayward also has a labor tub but because my water broke early I didn't get to use it. I will say that you should bring your own birth ball and pillows etc. We forgot ours and Kaiser is woefully remiss in not having them for laboring. I did have a shower in my labor room, but that was it. Unlike Oakland, Hayward is small and had free and easy parking. Lastly, Hayward is the only hospital that's certified ''Baby Friendly'' meaning they really do support breastfeeding. We loved the LC who worked with us extensively. And all the aftercare nurses and staff were warm and helpful. I highly recommend Hayward to anyone! Happy mama
Don't stress about this! If you want to labor mostly at home you want the shortest drive! I got to the hospital at 8cm but opted for an epidural in the end but my intention was to go all natural. BUT...all my nurses were actually midwives outside of Kaiser so please don't think you have to go to Walnut Creek- Oakland is awesome! They are so pro natural due to their location in the heart of the East Bay. Also having a doula is your best bet especially if you want to go natural as they will be your support system and reminder of that route. Oakland Kaiser mom
I also live in Oakland and had my baby at Kaiser Walnut Creek. I highly recommend it! The midwives and nurses were all wonderful, and my delivery was a very positive experience. The facilities are really nice as well. Delivering in Oakland would be okay if your labor happens really quickly and you can't make it to Walnut Creek, but they do not have midwives (and I haven't heard of any plans to have them in the future). If you're really worried about the tunnel, you can do what my husband and I did: My water broke at 5 p.m. on a weekday (read: peak rush hour!), so rather than sit in traffic on 24, we drove over the hill. It worked out just fine! Robin
I delivered two kids with the help of the Nurse Midwives at Kaiser Walnut Creek. It was a very good experience and I highly recommend them -- you should go there for *all* your prenatal care if you choose to go that route, not just delivery. That way you get to meet the staff and understand what they are all about. I also live in Oakland and I have to say that getting to the Walnut Creek facility is almost as easy as getting to the Oakland facility -- once you account for the fact that Oakland has difficult parking (it's free in Walnut Creek) and Oakland can be very congested at certain times of day. M

2009 - 2012 Recommendations


Alta Bates versus Kaiser walnut creek midwives

July 2011

Hi, I am 23 weeks pregnant (low risk) and I prefer natural birthing (not home) and I recently moved to California. I am trying to decide between midwives at Alta Bates and midwives at Kaiser Walnut Creek. I spoke with Lindy Johnson & Hsui Li Cheng and I really liked them. Only issue is that I need to drive at least 45mins-1hr during traffic both for the monthly appointments and for delivery. Which is why I am now looking at Kaiser Walnut Creek midwives but am not sure how their labor/delivery rates. Any advice/feedback is appreciated. I have not seen any new postings on this topic and wanted to gather some recommendation/feedback. As regards the insurance, I have several options but Kaiser Walnut creek is cheaper and closer to home.


Hello, Congrats on your pregnancy & welcome to CA! I don't know about midwives in Walnut Creek, although I'm sure you can find someone great. We did work with Hsiu-Li for my daughters birth, and had a very positive experience all around, including time at Alta Bates. Hsiu-Li is truly a master at what she does, and I feel certain that I owe my vaginal birth to her support during labor. That being said, as your pregnancy progresses, it would likely ease commuting stress to see someone closer to you. I hope you find someone near you, but wanted t let you know that if you go with Hsiu-Li, you are in great hands. Also, you may want to ask her (Hsiu-Li) to recommend someone out your way. s.
You'll probably get a lot of replies in both directions on this one. My 2 cents is this: I delivered at Kaiser WC and was very happy with the experience. I saw 3 midwives for prenatal care in preparation for delivery with any midwife who happened to be on shift when I went into labor (you can choose to see the same one for every appt if you like, but that's how I decided to do it). I liked all three of them very much, and as it turned out I labored and delivered with 2 additional midwives who I was also happy with. They really made time to answer any questions I had during my appts and respected my plan for natural birth, presenting any interventions as options that I had the last word on. I felt very empowered, and when medical intervention was finally necessary, I felt that it had been my choice and was not forced on me. When my baby was born she was placed skin to skin with me immediately and we were given the first hour for bonding before any weighing or procedures took place. She also never left my room during the entire stay at the hospital.

The other great thing about Kaiser is the focus and support around lactation. The nurses are all trained to help with breastfeeding and lactation consultants are available if you need additional help. I recommend Jane Graves at WC if you need to utilize lactation. Plus, your first appt after the baby is born is with lactation at 2 days old, where they weigh the baby and answer questions if you have them. And I believe they have a walk-in clinic if you need assistance beyond that. Good luck with your new baby! I hope you have an amazing birth experience! Kaiser WC Mama


I highly recommended the Kaiser Walnut Creek midwives. I had two babies there, both times with no drugs or other unwanted interventions. They were very supportive, and I could not be more happy about the service we received from the midwives. After baby #2 was born, I was surprised to find out that ''natural'' childbirth is actually not that common at the Walnut Creek hospital (at least according to the midwife I spoke to) -- and the reason I was surprised is because everyone seemed very comfortable with my decision to forgo drugs, so I figured everyone was doing it! It is important to know that the midwives work as a group, so you won't have one in particular assigned to you. I recommend meeting at least 2-3 of the midwives throughout your prenatal care so that you increase the chances of seeing one you know on Delivery Day. Good luck with your decision. M
Both of my sons were born at Kaiser Walnut Creek (older one is 6 years and younger one 21 months). Though I live in Berkeley, it was worth it to travel to WC for the nurse midwives. My first son's birth had some complications, which ended up with medical interventions and doctors, but I was still able to have a natural birth--one of the nurses even stayed past her shift in order to see the birth through, which I found very moving. My experience with my second son's birth was more straightforward, with an amazing nurse midwife and another natural birth. I had a doula with me both times, and the Kaiser WC staff worked really well with her. It was so gratifying to be surrounded with such supportive people who supported my desire to have natural birthing, and equally comforting to have the medical specialists there for complications. I highly recommend Kaiser WC. Plus, their Mom Baby Clinic and breastfeeding support are both terrific once your baby is born. anonymous

2005 - 2008 Recommendations


Seeking recent info about Kaiser Midwives

Dec 2008

I have searched the archives and could not find recent information on Kaiser and midwives. I would actually prefer a homebirth, but know that Kaiser wouldn't pay for it and our budget won't allow us to bear the additional costs of paying midwives directly. For #1, I delivered in Vallejo hoping for a midwife, but there was none on duty. I felt bullied and ended up with a lot of intervention we did not want and felt wouldn't have needed if I had had a midwife. Looking for advice on any East Bay Kaiser Facility (Walnut Creek, Hayward or other) that 1)would give me a good chance at having a midwife attend, and 2)a facility that has tubs as I would like to labor and possibly deliver in water. Any advice, direction, and/or guidance would be greatly appreciated.


I think that its good to have a general birth plan and an idea of what you would like to have as a birth experience (easy, painless, quick, joyful, healthy, natural, at home, in the water, in a beautiful setting, etc. ...). In my own opinion. I think that our local culture tends towards the fetishized idealization of the mother?s birth experience, and that the real goal/focus should be healthy, highly competent, and well equipped to deal with neonatal and maternal emergency. Our doula suggested a one page, very flexible birth plan that emphasizes preferences, but that eschews absolutes. My goal was as natural as the circumstances permitted, and with the health and well being of my child at the absolute pinnacle of my considerations. My daughter was born at Kaiser Oakland.

I had my daughter in Sept 2005, just after they opened their re-modeled facility. Kaiser is a resident training program, you get the doc you get. They do not technically have a midwife service. However, both my nurses happened to be trained nurse-midwives, one of them recently hired by Kaiser from a private midwifery service. Kaiser Oakland does not have birth baths available. The rooms are functional and clinical. However, our doula and the nurses really made the delivery experience a smashing success thru their attentive midwifery of me thru a very long and difficult labor. Kaiser Oakland give an opportunity to ''meet the doctors'' who will be on call during your birthmonth... it may be useful to ask to meet some of the nurses as well.

We had a great doula, June Taylor, who has a good track record with Alta Bates and Kaiser, and knew many of the OB delivery nurses. The nurses and June really did the core work of assisting me thru labor and advocating for my needs. Alas, I don?t remember the names of the two nurses who assisted me, but they were FANTASTIC. I was delivered by Doctor. The doctors were all women, all great, and expressed concern and stern (not pushy) advice when necessary. I wanted natural childbirth, but ended up with Pitocin and some BLESSED opiate, which was necessary to progress a stalled and increasingly dangerous labor; the doctors respected my decision to not have an epidural, which I believe allowed me to continue to a successful vaginal delivery (because you can?t get out of bed to stand or walk after you receive an epidural). The doula, June, and the labor nurses were really good at helping me thru these decisions.

Final words: One of my closest and oldest friends is an ObGyn in private practice; she used to work for Kaiser in Central California. According to her Kaiser Oakland is the absolute best Kaiser in the system for almost all things, that their ObGyn is cream of the crop, they have their pick of top residents from all over the country, they are very women-friendly, they recruit the best ObGyn nurses an doctors in Northern California. Another friend, also an ObGyn , who does not work for Kaiser herself but who is a Kaiser patient, had her child at Kaiser Oakland, swears by Kaiser Oakland, and helped us select our Kaiser Pediatrician. Finally, our Kaiser pediatrician had her own child at Kaiser Oakland.


It's been a while (13 years), but I had both my boys at Kaiser Walnut Creek with a midwife. At that time it was the only Kaiser that had nurse midwives. Hopefully they still do. About half way thru my pregnancies I switched to WC Kaiser OB care. Good luck,. anon mom
Kaiser Walnut Creek has a midwife-run birthing center; they have at least one, usually two midwives on duty at all times and they very much run the show not the doctors. They have one room with a tub, room #8, but obviously no guarantee that it will be available. My wife and I just had our first daughter there and we couldn't have been happier with the way they treated us. It is my understanding that Antioch also has a similar birthing center. Ben
I had a midwife at Kaiser Walnut Creek 4 years ago for the birth of my daughter. I don't recall the name of the midwife but she was absolutely sensational, very attentive and intuitive. She worked with a nurse as well. I wasn't aware that a midwife would be assisting me during my delivery but it was an A+ experience. I delivered my first child at a private hospital with the assistance of an RN and MD. That too went well. A totally different experience but smooth as well. I am sad to hear that you felt that you didn't get what you wanted at your last delivery. Healthcare is funny that way, is is a 2 way street where the patient has to negotiate kindly. And sometimes a facility only offers what they offer. If you know ahead of time that that will not suffice, it does not inicate that the organization is at fault, but you may indeed need to pay out of pocket for your ideal birth. Many do. Someimes every amenity is not available to a patient, but the health and well ! being of your baby is always foremost. I hope you have a smooth delivery. Cheers
I know that this isn't on the east bay but Kaiser Redwood City has a phenomenal midwife group. I had a great birth experience with a midwifery group at a hospital in MA with my first child and was skeptical on how anything would measure up after that but Kaiser's midwives were wonderful! I'd have them over an OB any day for a normal pregnancy. Kaiser midwifery fan in Oakland

Labor/Delivery with Midwives Kaiser WC

Jan 2008

I would love to hear about recent experiences delivering with the midwives at Kaiser Walnut Creek. The recent posts in the archives don't go into great detail about the delivery experience and the ones that do are from several years ago. I'm specifically looking for moms' experiences there during labor and delivery. Thanks! anon


My six-week old baby and I had a fabulous experience with our midwive, Kate, (as well as all the nurses and all but one of the lactation consultants) at Kaiser WC. The entire staff was very supportive of my choice for a natural delivery as well as other choices on my birth plan. They assisted in every way they could - let me push according to my body's desires, pushing in any position I chose, kept monitoring down to a bare minimum and assisted me in the shower. When I was starting to give up in middle of the birth, they were very respectful of saying I was doing a great job, but 100% non-judgmental about pain medication if I had wanted it.

The midwive and the nurse helped massage me as appropriate and acted as second labor partners throughout the birthing process. When the baby was in distress during the pushing phase, she calmly got me oxygen, called an OB to be on standby and helped direct my breathing and pushing. Kate calmly managed to avoid any medical interventions by directing my pushing and ensuring the baby crowned as soon as possible. We felt very respected and that our birth was based on our choices and desires. Good luck and congratulations on your upcoming birth!


Well, I had my sons two and four years ago, but I cannot recommend the midwives at Kaiser WC highly enough. After witnessing my nephew's birth at Alta Bates w/an OB who blew in the door for the last 10 min., I was adament that I wanted a midwife. The only downside was the first midwife I saw after my water broke w/my second. She wanted to put me on Pitocin since I was strep B positive and hadn't started regularly contracting. I did NOT want that since I was planning to do it naturally again. So she, very reluctantly, suggested nipple stimulation which BAM! got the contractions going regularly and strongly. My son was born 2 hours later w/the help of a lovely midwife and my doula. I am convinced that the only reason I didn't tear w/my 8-9 and 7-9 babies is that during both labors the midwives massaged and oiled ''down there.'' They were both so nurturing and positive. It was really a great experience! Also during both pregnancies, I only saw nurse practitioners who ! were fantastic. I saw one OB who recommended that I take an antidepressant to help w/my migraines. No way! Acupuncture was a lifesaver, but that's another story. Good luck! Been There
I delivered twice at Kaiser WC. The first midwife was Rose-Lerman I believe and she was great. Granted, we didn't actually decide we were going to deliver at WC until I went into labor but she was fantastic nonetheless. The second time around, we did it the ''right'' way, and I took a class at WC for folks hoping to deliver at WC but who normally go to another Kaiser facility. The midwife leading the group (Laura I believe her name was) turned out to be the midwife on duty when I delivered and she was fantastic too. There was a crazy moment where I actually thought I'd try to deliver standing up and the whole team was amenable to that too. happy with WC Kaiser

Kaiser Walnut Creek Midwife

February 2007

Hello, I am wondering if anyone has had recent experience with Kaiser Walnut Creek midwives and can recommend any or discuss your experiences generally. I am trying to transfer from Oakland Kaiser so as to have more of a midwife experience, but it has not been easy to gather information. I am due (first-time mom) July 30. I am also considering a home-birth midwife option, which is not available through Kaiser. Thanks for any information you can share. Anon


We recently had our first kid at Walnut Creek Kaiser. I have to say the switch from Oakland was well worth it. I'm sure Oakland would have been fine but the atmosphere of caring created by the staff at Walnut Creek is just exceptional. Oakland needs to get on the ball and copy the program. We had our own Doula but the nurses and midwives during the birth were all very supportive and helpful. Didn't see a Dr the whole time and my wife was happy with that. I think my wife just started booking her appointments at Walnut Creek with the midwives half way through her pregnancy. You shouldn't need to ask their permission, just be firm and make it clear that you are going to give birth at Walnut Creek because of the midwife program.
I would recommend Laura Warren, who is one of the two midwives at Kaiser Walnut Creek. I switched from Kaiser Oakland about 2 months and have been very happy with my decision. I have found Midwife Warren attentive, kind, and knowledgeable. Be aware that you may not be able to see Warren for every visit. Both Walnut Creek midwives seem to be quite busy - so you may see one or the other, or even one of the nurse practitioners. I saw NP Seipel, yesterday and liked her as well. I haven't seen the other midwife, but would like to, since at Kaiser any of their midwives could end up delivering your baby. Kimberly
Aug 2005

Hi, I'm looking for a recommendation for a midwife at Kaiser Walnut Creek. Two names that were mentioned by Kaiser were Kathryn King and Julie Hanes. Does anybody have experience with either of these midwives? Thanks! Anne


Kat King at Kaiser is awesome. I only had one appt with her and she visited me during my birth but actually had to tend to another woman's birth, but she was just so great. I wish that I could have had more time with her. My husband and I just hit it off with her instantly. She has a great bedside manner, is on your side, very supportive and knowledgeable. Anon

2004 & Earlier


Just changed to Kaiser, looking for midwife

June 2004

I just moved to Oakland and am 18 weeks pregnant with my first baby. I started prenatal care with a great midwife, however, our insurance will be changing to Kaiser HMO as of July 1st. I am looking for a midwife/OB that supports low tech births and will support me in my effort to have a natural childbirth. I have referred to previous postings on the website, however, am looking for something more current. I would appreciate your expertise! And is it true that if you deliver at Oakland Kaiser that a resident will be the one delivering? Christy


If you want to have a midwife within the Kaiser system, you'll need to travel to Kaiser Walnut Creek. A staff of a dozen or so midwives complemeted by OBs perform prenatal care there, as well as deliver babies (unless an emergency happens, when an OB will be called in.) Yes, it is true that if you deliver at Kaiser Oakland (or Kaiser contracted with Alta Bates until the fall of this year), you will most likely be delivered by a resident. That didn't appeal to me at all! So when I was pregnant with my son 3 years ago, I had my routine care at my usual Kaiser (Richmond in my case), but I delivered at Walnut Creek. It was a wonderful experience! My labor was so long that I had three midwives, and each of them was excellent-- especially the last one, midwife Loraine (I think?) Rose- Lerman, who coached me through 3+ hours of pushing. She did a fantastic job of coaching, and she did a medically superior job sewing up me up afterwards, with what was a pretty huge tear. She and the whole staff there were extremely respectful of my wishes to have a natural birth, to try to avoid episiotomy, etc., and even though it didn't work out that way, I thought they remained respectful and non-judgmental when my wishes changed. I am pregnant again with my second and am planning to have this baby at W.C. too. You can take the birthing room tour at the hospital and they will give you some materials about the midwives and their system to help you decide. Good luck! Cheri
You won't get a doctor for prenatal care at Kaiser Oakland unless you're risk or need special care. That said, I highly recommend nurse practitioner Rebecca Avery for your prenatal care. No fuss, no muss. Check her out. She'll explain the attending physicial policy - I know it will be changing when they move back to Oakland for deliveries. Happy w/Rebecca
If you want to continue with midwife care, Kaiser-Walnut Creek has a nurse-midwife program. The midwives work with the OBs and if you prefer a midwife delivery they will try to honor your preference, although in the end it depends somewhat on who is available when you deliver and the type of delivery you have. Although we received pre-natal care from an OB (Francis Wright who was fantastic), our baby was delivered by a midwife who was great. Although I opted for an epidural, I have friends who have had natural births there. There are no OB residents at Kaiser-Walnut Creek, if that makes a difference. Good luck with your decision. Happy new mom

Midwifery Service at Kaiser Walnut Creek

March 2004

I was hoping to find any recommendations or comments regarding the Midwifery Service at Kaiser Walnut Creek. I am interested in delivering with a Midwife and found that Kaiser WC offered this service. Otherwise I was considering to stay with Alta Bates which is the closest hospital. If anyone has any comments or recommendations my husband and I would greatly appreciate it :)


My wife and I had a great experience at Kaiser WC during the birth of our daughter last year. The nurse midwife and the nurse who assisted her were excellent. Prior to the birth we had taken the Bradley birth classes and wanted a natural birth. We had a birth plan on file at the hospital and these two were aware of that, and they did a great job helping my wife through a long labor and natural birth. They have tours of the L&D and recovery rooms for expecting parents. I don't know anything about Alta Bates personally, but I highly recommend Kaiser WC. Dean
Kaiser Walnut Creeks offers midwives for delivery only. You don't pick a midwife. You get who is on call when you come in. They are certified nurse midwives. I did 90% of my prenatal care at Kaiser Oakland, then switched to WC for the last few visits. They actually asked, when I checked in if I wanted the midwife or preferred obgyn. My midwife was Raewyn Glasgow and she was terrific. A great presence. I feel you get the best of both worlds out there, minus the prenatal care w/a midwife. We had a l&d nurse much of the labor, w/ the midwife there to check in now and again, and then once pushing began she was there til the end. When things slowed down, the obgyn was fetched, but by the time she was tracked down I was back in action. It was nice to know there was obgyn back up. I did bring a doula to labor who was also useful. The rooms are larger at KWC. You have a decent shot at a private room. The prebirth class/tour is excellent and includes some refresher child birth info, esp. re: anesthesia options. I told the cnm I wasn't a martyr/hero, but not to offer anesthesia. They respected my wish and I did manage without. Lactation support was great, but I was lucky and vocal in requests for help. After birth change back to Oakland immediately for this reason: the first week visit at kwc is like a cattle call. it's a group visit. You get a personal visit one on one at Kaiser Oakland, and they send a social worker to the house 24-48 hours after you get home. This switch confused the heck out of the appts. person on the phone and she ended up canceling all appointments rather than just the KWC cattle call. so be very clear and call to confirm. And, my trip to KWC was at like 7:15 pm and we sailed through the tunnel and were there in no time flat. Good Luck
I delivered last year at Kaiser Walnut Creek, and absolutely loved our midwife there, Julie Hymes (not sure I got the last name right). She was warm and personable, spent lots of time in our room, and taught me some great techniques for natural childbirth. We had a great experience over-all there, and I would highly recommend it. At Kaiser, you get whomever is on that day/night, though, so you can't really chose your provider. They do have midwives available around the clock. Kris
I have had two opportunities to be a labor assistant at Kaiser Walnut Creek. They were very different, but there were several things about the picture that were the same. If you are looking for real midwife care and delivery, you will not get it at Kaiser Walnut Creek.

1.) at your regular appointments you will almost always see a doctor and not a midwife. The doctors are good, kind and caring, but they are not midwives. Chances are very high that you will not have met your midwife when you deliver.

2.) Kaiser midwives act like OB/GYNs and run from room to room catching babies, while LDNs handle the labor. If you are there for a long time, as was the case for both the deliveries I attended, you will see a number of LDNs and midwives come and go. In fact, you may not even meet some of the midwives because they only show up at the last 20 minutes of pushing unless there are problems. Both times we saw a variety of LDNs come and go, some we liked, some we didn't, one was terrific, one was horrible.

If you want a midwife you have met before who will come when labor is under way and stay until you are done, you do not want Kaiser Walnut Creek.

The two experiences I had at KWC, one awful, one terrific, were, respectively, awful and terrific, because the LDNs who we happened to get at the crucial time were, respectively, awful and terrific. If you decide to go the Kaiser Walnut Creek way, be sure to promise yourself that you will ask for a different LDN if the one you get is not working for you.

Best of luck susan


More Reviews

November 2001

Re: Choosing a health plan for donor insemination
I'm a nurse-midwife in SF and therefore will address this part of your question - Kaiser has midwives at their Walnut Creek facility but not at Oakland - you have the option of delivering at WC with the midwives if you get care prenatally in Oakland.

With Blue Cross you can see most private midwives in the East Bay, though it may vary by practice - you should call around. You can get a listing of Bay Area nurse-midwives by going to the website www.bayareamidwives.org. The advantage of the private practice midwives over Kaiser is that you can establish a relationship with your midwife and then have her be on call to attend your birth, as opposed to at Kaiser getting whoever's on call (though the group of midwives at Kaiser Walnut Creek is very good).

As to coverage for fertility stuff - I think all companies are the same about this (limited coverage), though I'm not sure.

I assume you're aware of Maia Midwifery and Preconception Services, a provider of services for lesbians who are trying to get pregnant? Good luck. Margy


You should check which Kaiser you would be delivering with, Some have midwives on staff, like Walnut Creek. Others, like AltaBates, use residents. I would hesitate to get myself in a position where the doctor taking care of me was inexperienced. Katie
My advice would be to not go with Kaiser if you want a midwife. Kaiser has a lot of midwives, but they don't work like midwives. A good midwife stays with you for the duration of your active labor. At Kaiser they come and go and just check on you like a doctor would. They say all the right things at the appointments, but they just don't provide the labor support that a midwife is supposed to. Susan
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