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Rise and Shine!

Woohoo, the new website is up! Well, here it is. I know there’s not much on it at the moment, but that’s going to change quickly. I’ll be adding this week’s deals and some more freebies tonight and tomorrow, so stay tuned for those and please follow me here, Facebook, or Twitter. (or all three). See you soon!

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Posted in DIY, Freebies, Frugal Living, Life and Money Hacks, Shopping Hauls and Couponing Reports, Uncategorized

Revamping and returning soon! Check out my YouTube channel!

Hi all, I have had some major health problems lately, (which I will get into in a post soon) so I apologize for the long time between posts. I am currently thinking about how to re-design this site to make it more interesting and organized. I had many ideas on what and how often to post and I will be checking out how to do it. Not easy when you have absolutely NO web or design experience. I will be working on it over the next couple of weeks, so please stay tuned and in the meantime, check out my YouTube channel, Coupon Choice Mom. I seem to have been more active on it than here, probably because I love playing with editing equipment. (It’s probably why I went into TV broadcasting in the first place. ) I hope you will stay tuned. If you follow me on the main page, I will make a post announcing that I am back when I’m done, but please check out my older posts in the meantime and subscribe to my channel!

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Quick Thought

Perhaps my couponing skills have gone supernatural- Last evening I went to my apartment complex’s Halloween party and I won a 50 dollar rent credit playing Halloween bingo. See, mad couponing skills. Also, fewer jello shots than my neighbors.

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New YouTube Video

Just letting my readers know I have finally put up a new video on my YouTube channel. Please check it out, the channel is also called Coupon Choice Mom. The video is about where to find coupons, which I know I covered here already, but now its in video!

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Catching up with Baby Steps-We Join This Program Already in Progress Part 1

I think it’s time to catch up a little more about my attempts to become a mom. After all, I have been on this journey for almost two years now and a lot happened at first, so I thought I would get them down while I still remembered them. So, once again we find ourselves time traveling to the past. Far away back to the time when I thought it was easy to get pregnant. I didn’t know how wrong I was.

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Many times I have wondered, “Where have all the good men gone?” But, I didn’t think I would be wondering in a fertility clinic waiting room.

Getting ready to go to my consultation appointment at Shady Grove was weird. Even though a lot of the SMC women had gone there and recommended it, I still wondered and worried about what people would think when I walked in. I even worried about what to wear so I would look confident. As I opened the door I felt like back in high school and I was going to be left out of the “cool kids/ married couples club”. But a glance at a wall mirror showed that the scarlet S I was feeling was invisible to others, so I signed in, collected volumes one and two of my new patient paperwork and sat down.

When I looked around, I was surprised to see that there were only women. Were they all single like me? None of them seemed to be sitting or talking together, so they weren’t couples.

I know now that most of the women were there for daily ovulation monitoring, which is quick and no partner has to be there. Later, when I began my daily monitoring, I would also come in early every morning. But for now, I just sat in the waiting room getting more and more nervous. I knew it was stupid to be; after all I wasn’t leaving the office pregnant that morning. But now that all my hopes were being pulled closer into reality it was making me weird out a little.

The nurse had handed me a lot of paperwork to get started and there at the top of the page for “male’s information” was a box that said “check here if using donor” and suddenly I wasn’t as nervous. Why would I be? My status as a donor user was treated simply as a matter of fact. I began to feel more relaxed and less judged.

Half an hour later I was sitting across an office desk of one of Shady Grove’s finest fertility specialists, feeling just as normal, if not a little worried. There was a major issue we were dealing with. Or rather a major number. 40.

Without medical intervention, a 40 year old woman has only around a 10% percent chance of conceiving each cycle. It is a little improved with medical help, how much depending on what fertility treatment is chosen.

But first my doctor talked about giving me an all over checkup. I was immediately scheduled for a mammogram, since I have a family history of breast cancer, and a blood test for just about everything under the sun, an HSG test (Hysterosalpingogram for those who like medical tongue twisters) to check for ovarian cysts and possible blockage of my fallopian tubes, and a full DNA workup. Apparently, since I am an Ashkenazi Jew, I am prone to a lot more genetic problems than the general population. Oh, joy. I needed to be tested for Tay-Sachs, Gaucher, Cystic Fibrosis, Bloom syndrome and several other exotic diseases I had never heard of.

But the first step could be done right away, right there in the office. Just a simple ultrasound to check my uterine general health. Ok, that sounded simple enough. Then I learned what they meant when they call it an invasive ultrasound. I think my ex would have been jealous.

They had a little screen so I could see the images too, and although a lot of it looked like squiggles, some did slightly resemble images I remembered from biology books. But something seemed a little off. Although the general shape of my uterus looked the same as in the books, it also looked a little …swollen. Oh great, I thought, it’s just as fat as the rest of me.

The doctor was looking closely too. “I think”, he said slowly. “I think you may have a fibroid, you need to see your gynecologist and have an HSG before we do anything else.”

When I got home, I was typing Uterine Fibroid into Google before the door closed. I was relieved to find out most were small and easily removed and were rarely malignant.

A few days later, I was preparing to have my whole reproductive system flooded with dye for the HSG x-ray test. I wasn’t sure that subjecting my uterus with radioactivity would help the whole fertility issue, but they seemed to know what they were doing. The whole point was that they needed to see clearly what was blocking my uterus and how big it was. They were also going to be able to see if there was any blockage in my tubes. Apparently this can become common in older women. (Since when was I an older woman?) It’s just one of the many things to look for to explain why a 40 year old woman had never been able to become pregnant. Never mind that for the last 20 years I had been actively trying to prevent pregnancy and now I wasn’t, but once again there was a whole time issue they were dealing with, and it was better to do all the tests first than wait to test after the first few tries failed. At the time this was explained, I thought this was a waste, after all I felt healthy and my cycles were regular. It turns out this was a great idea, since this fibroid thing threw me for a loop.

A couple of days after the test, my doctor was extremely cheerful as he pointed to some images and explained that while most fibroids were small, mine wasn’t. It was the size of a, well, I never did find out exactly how big it was, but I know it was so big, it not only filled my whole uterus, it actually was stretching it out of shape.

I had to wonder why didn’t I know? Didn’t I have any of the symptoms? Bad cramps? Nope. Irregular cycles? Nuh-uh. And the sad fact is, I had been very lax in my annual trips to the doctor. There is a possibility it might have been there for years, starting small and slowly growing. If I hadn’t made this decision, it might still be there. I wondered if I had really needed to be careful with my college boyfriend. I remember once my cousin holding my hand as I waited for the results of a ‘scare’ test. Did I never need her or the test? I couldn’t think about it because now what mattered is that my fibroid had to come out right away. Because as long as it was in there, I was infertile. Period. No pun intended.

 

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Hello YouTube!

Several of my friends thought it would be nice if I recorded my coupon shopping trips. So, I have braved my stage fright and started a YouTube channel to be a video component of my blog. I will be posting both here and there so don’t worry that this page is going anywhere. I don’t know how often I will be posting. (Stage fright galore, it took half an hour and about 15 attempts to record the 1 minute into.) So many thanks to my friend Lorena and her daughter Julia for helping me out.  So I hope you will check it out and I will be posting another post here within a couple of days and the YouTube channel within a week. (I hope). The channel is called Coupon Choice Mom and I hope you enjoy.

.Coupon Choice Mom- The YouTube Channel

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Me- The Sudden Voice of Couponers

Ok, here is just a quick one. About an hour ago, I called into a local radio show. The Tommy Show on 94.7. They had asked couponers to call in, and I nervously did, not really expecting to be put on the air. They mentioned this blog, and I’m getting a lot of hits. I just want to thank everyone who is visiting me for the first time, and I promise, now I will be really getting off my butt and posting more often. Please also check out my couponing group on meetup.com called the Centreville Clippers. I am very excited and hope you all will be coming back to check out more soon!

 

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Fuzzy Cuddles- The Perfect Root Canal Comfort

Emma closeup

Unfortunately, my couponing time (and money)  this week got derailed by a dental emergency that had me either in extreme pain or completely doped up from the dentist supplied painkillers.

  I would, however, like to introduce everyone to the reason for a new section of my coupon binder. Ladies and Gentlemen this is Emma.  She is a half Siamese, half no one knows 8 week old bundle of cuddles, curiosity, mischief, and to die for adorableness.

So now, I’ll be searching for deals for cat food, litter and other fur-baby necessities. Not to mention comparing pet health insurance. Yes, this is a real thing. But just looking at that face is worth it.

For those of you who are asking, “Are you sure you know how to take care of a cat and what you are doing?” Let me assure you I do. My beautiful Maine Coon cat ‘Jewel’ passed away a year and a half ago after 20 years of companionship and I have wanted to get another cat for a while. I had been to a few cat and kitten adoption events, but when I sat down at this one, Emma sniffed me, and proceeded to crawl up me, curl up under my chin, and fall fast asleep. I guess I got adopted. It looks like this couponer now has her own personal purr machine and nighttime head warmer, and this blog has a mascot.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I am being commanded to give some ear scratches to be followed by a round of “Chase the red laser dot”.

Emma in box
Her first hour in her new home she took a nap in the box with her Kitty Kuddler and an Ipod playing sounds of a heartbeat and purring mixed.She was just glad to be out of her carrier and ignored her new bed.
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First Baby Steps to Baby

I think it’s time to catch everyone up. So, let’s go back to the beginning of the story.  No, too long, let me sum up. (Cookies for the reference) I’ve decided to have a baby. Ok, back to long story.
The trouble was, I had no idea in the world how to even start. Well, ok, I knew HOW to start. But the previous evening was spent with a 42 year old lawyer who still lived with his parents so the more traditional way was looking out of the question. Of course he was better than the guy who tried to guess my bra size during our first date and told me that people who live in apartments don’t have real homes, but that’s even more depressing.
I suppose I could say I stood dramatically in the middle of my living room with my fists clenched and raised shouting “How, HOW!” But in actuality, I was curled up on my couch, smoking a cigarette and googling whatever I could think of that was remotely related. (Yes, I was still smoking when I made my decision, don’t judge) What I needed was to find other women who did this. How did they do it? How did they succeed? Are they happy with their choice? And how did they afford it all?
I searched how to be a single mom, which did bring up a couple of helpful sites, including budgeting ones which I will use later, but not what I needed at the time.
I searched how to become a mom, which brought up some not quite as helpful websites, not to mention a couple of questionable ones.
Then I searched choosing to become a mom. Bingo.
SingleMothersByChoice.org and ChoiceMoms.org
Websites for and about women who made the same choice! A whole world of them! I was bouncing on the couch, I was so happy. I honestly didn’t realize how many women were making the same choice I was. I guess more women than I thought were getting tired of settling for anyone just to have a baby before it was too late. I realized I wasn’t alone.
Now these are national organizations and I wondered if there were any local groups or chapters. Since I was already a member of Meetup.com, which is a free resource for hobby and interest groups, I decided to do a quick local search. I lucked out and the very next day I was on my way to a potluck hosted by a member of the local chapter.
I didn’t know what to expect actually. I was nervous. Would they tell me I was wrong? Would they think I was too old? Would they be snobby? Would they be vegan? Yes, that crossed my mind since I had brought two very non vegan side dishes for the potluck.
But when I knocked, the door opened and a woman opened it and greeted me with “Wow, a new face! Great! Welcome!” she sat me on the couch where a group of women were laughing and watching playing children. “So, where are you in the process? Thinking, trying, or pregnant?” Finally, I got to meet women who had made the same choice! And who were happy! And who weren’t crazy! Instead, they were nice and open and willing to give me any advice they could. I got a chance to hold a newborn, something I had only ever done once in my life. I watched to see how he was swaddled and fed.  I learned that when a child says “Thank you for the cake”, never say “You’re welcome, sweetie, actually its zucchini bread”. I never knew a child could look so horrified at the realization she had just enjoyed eating vegetables.
But I did notice one thing that made me nervous. None of them seemed to be hurting financially. They were all executives or lawyers or other professions that involved plush offices and  6 figure salaries (or close enough) When a couple of them started discussing interviewing private nannies, I wondered what I had gotten myself into.
I knew that I probably wasn’t going to get budgeting tips from them. But, as I’ve said before, the lack of a four bedroom house in the suburbs doesn’t mean I can’t or won’t be a good mom. When I whispered to one woman I didn’t make as much as some of the others, she just looked at me and said “If you have a job, you can do it” I realized she was right.  I have a steady job with full health benefits. Many single moms don’t even have that.
I am glad to have met these women. These women give advice and support to each other and now to me. They are helping me learn more about my decision. They are giving me a heads up on some of the challenges that I will be facing. Most of all, they aren’t making me feel bad or weird because of this decision. They know. They understand.
And all of them had great advice.
One woman suggested that I would never go wrong buying a co-sleeper crib, since I wouldn’t have a partner; another told me her story of explaining to her friends, (which turned out extremely helpful later). There was a discussion over different doctors and fertility clinic. This one messed up a lot of paperwork. This one had nurses who had been rude to a couple of the women when told they were single.  But nearly all agreed on the one that seemed to be the best because were friendly and worked with many single moms and LGBT couples.  I wondered out loud if I needed a fertility clinic instead of a regular gynecologist, and was immediately reminded of something I hadn’t really thought of.
I was almost 40. I needed to make sure everything was all right. At my age, I might not even be fertile anymore.
This was actually something I hadn’t considered. I think most women my age don’t think of themselves as too old to have a baby, but in actuality most women over 40 only have a 5-10%  chance of conceiving each cycle without medical assistance.
I also found out my years of smoking didn’t help me either, since smoking can hurt developing eggs. Being overweight was also a minus.
So armed with this new advice (and a little scared to find out the answers) I bravely picked up the phone and made a consultation appointment with Shady Grove Fertility Center.
And my journey officially began.