The only thing I have to complain about is the weather

I’m feeling pretty accomplished these days.  I’m 33 weeks pregnant now, and my uterus has continued to behave itself.  My last two OB appointments have been downright boring… weight, urine dip stick, blood pressure, fetal Doppler, belly measurement.  Nothing that I couldn’t do myself.  I continue to give myself my weekly Makena injections; only four more left!

I’ve completed the first three weeks of my certificate training program at PAREXEL.  It has been both as easy (i.e., not requiring me to complete homework or spend much time studying) and as informative (i.e., clearly covering information that is important for a regulatory affairs, clinical monitoring associate, or clinical data analyst to know) as I had hoped.  I’m praying that I don’t deliver before March 10 because that is the last day of the training program.  After that, I will still need to complete role-specific technical training (i.e., SOP training) and practical training, but I will be a full-fledged employee rather than one whose employment can be terminated on the grounds that I didn’t successfully pass all 6 postgraduate certificate training modules.

We’re in the middle of the clinical data management module right now, and I’m looking forward to the next module – MY module – covering clinical logistics.  I’m the only laboratory logistics specialist trainee among my cohort, but there is one clinical supply specialist trainee in my class.  We also have one clinical data analyst, four statistical programmers, and ten clinical research associates.  We’re a diverse group of trainees with degrees in nursing, mathematics, regulatory affairs, biochemistry, and even archaeology.  I am the only member of the class with a terminal degree, but at least I’m not the oldest and not the only one who has worked in different fields.  We have a couple former pharmacy techs and lab techs in our cohort, so I feel pretty at home among them and the nurses.

There’s a lot to be thankful for.

  1. I get to sit most of the day.  I honestly think I would pass out if I had to stand and verify prescriptions all day long in a retail pharmacy at this point in pregnancy.
  2. The training program has been quite low-stress.  I’ve been enrolled in postsecondary coursework for about 14 years, so it’s nothing new.
  3. I don’t have to drive into Boston.  Or Cambridge.  The morning commute often takes an hour, but it’s generally nothing to complain about.  (Except as noted below.)  Sure, it would be nice to work right in Worcester, but for an industry position, the location is pretty good.
  4. Unlimited free coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.  Seriously, the Flavia coffee maker is pretty sweet.
  5. Dental insurance and other benefits.  I didn’t need the health insurance, but the dental insurance came just in time to cover Son’s relatively expensive periodontal procedures.  Also taking advantage of a Vision Service Plan, Health Care Reimbursement Plan, Dependent Care Reimbursement Account.  Not going to be able to take advantage of the short term disability coverage during my maternity leave, but c’est la vie.  Happily, we’re not that dependent on my income on a month-to-month basis.
  6. Paychecks!  I got one already and am expecting my next one in less than a week.  Sure, they’re not comparable to the paychecks that a retail pharmacist receives, but they will cover day care costs and allow me to start contributing to my retirement accounts again and allow me to start chipping away at my pharmacy school loans.
  7. A pretty unique professional development experience with a great group of peers.  It’s a pity that I won’t be directly working with them when this certificate program is over.
  8. I’ve got my foot in the door at an international clinical research company with a large number of possible avenues for professional advancement.
  9. I still feel pretty good at 33 weeks pregnant.  I’ve had sporadic aches and dizzy spells, but nothing to complain about.
  10. The baby is still inside me!

Peter is pretty excited to meet his baby sister.  He insists that the baby is “massive” and “ready to come out now,” but his sister does not seem to agree, thankfully.  I tried to make our last few days as a stay-at-home mother and son special by taking Peter to the EcoTarium, a new indoor playplace in Westboro called F3, and the Boston Children’s Museum.  Peter loved the Children’s Museum so much that I had to buy a season pass.  He was happy to return to day care and his old routine with his old friends on January 20th, though.

Then the storms hit.  First Juno, then Linus, and now Marcus.  Thankfully, the governor declared a travel ban before Juno hit, and PAREXEL had to close the Billerica office.  The National Weather Service promised that “travel would be difficult-to-impossible and life-threatening,” and that ended up being a pretty accurate assessment.  Worcester received a whopping 34.5 inches of snow, making it the greatest amount of snow that we’ve received in a single storm (or a single day) EVER.  Travel the day after the blizzard was pretty easy because the plows had had a chance to clean up overnight, and most people were still off from school or work.  There were a lot of accidents Thursday morning, though, 2 days after the storm.  It ended up taking me 1 hour, 50 minutes to get to work, and I was ten minutes late for my exam.  At least I wasn’t the person who showed up an hour late, though.

As soon as we had cleaned up from Juno, Linus hit.  17.7 inches of snow fell on Worcester, but I still had to drive into work.  The storm began too early on Monday morning for me to avoid the snow during the morning commute, and it continued to fall too late into the evening for me to avoid the hazards during the evening commute.  In short, it sucked.  I hoped that I would at least be able to see some pavement while driving on the interstates, but nope. Forty five miles of snow caked on the freeways; I couldn’t even tell where the lanes were supposed to be, and when I went much over 30 miles per hour, my Volvo started fishtailing.  Very, very nerve-wracking, especially when you factored in the ice building up on my windshield wipers and the semi trucks passing me on either side at 45 miles per hour.  But I made it.

Now we’re getting the forerunners of winter storm Marcus.  We got 3.5 inches overnight, but today is supposed to be pretty docile… until 3 p.m.  Between tonight and late tomorrow night, we’ve been promised 10-20 inches, with up to 24 inches possible in parts of central and northeast Massachusetts.  Why, oh why, can’t these storms hit on the weekend?  If there’s any silver lining, it’s that Marcus will most likely put Worcester in the lead (for now) in the Golden Snow Globe competition.  Ironically, we weren’t even in the running two weeks ago.  On January 21st, we were in 27th place with only 13.9 inches of snow this season.  After Juno and Linus, we were at 77.7 inches, and now we’re expecting another foot and a half of snow from Marcus.  I’m ready for a break!  The thing to be thankful for through all of this is the fact that our dear elderly neighbor, Rita, gave us her snow blower before she moved to New Hampshire last fall.

The only other thing I have to say is that Tuyet (“snow”) is sounding like an increasingly appropriate middle name for our baby bundle.

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