We just arrived back on the island after a scary and trying few days. So as I have mentioned I have been wicked sick and trying to keep food down every day with little effort. Last Saturday it turned from bad to worse. I was home by myself for the day because Jason was out with a local friend helping him get his business started (he also took Annikah since I am pretty useless for meeting the demands of caring for her these days). I was trying to continue game plan as usual; drink sips of hydration drinks and other liquids and eat a few bites of bread or rice whenever I could. From the first time I ate a bite or a sip of anything everything came up. Usually I can keep down a few bites or some soda but nothing was staying at all. I continued to lie around and wait for Jason to come home but by the time he arrived I had already thrown up everything I had eaten or drank plus a lot of stomach acid. He brought some ice cream (I wanted some earlier is the week but all the stores were out) so I was eager to try that but about 10 minutes after eating a few spoonfuls it came up as well. Over the next few hours my vomiting became completely involuntary and I throw up about 20 more times. Because there was no food left I started throwing up acid and green bile. By around 8pm I was sobbing, exhausted, and could not stand up because I felt so dizzy and weak. That was the sign to us that something was really wrong. To date this has been one of the scariest times of my life. Knowing I was so sick and really unable to get any care here that we trusted.
The next morning our team leader came over with a German midwife who lives here with her family. She generously offered to help and assessed me and gave me some anti-vomiting suppositories (not so fun but obviously no oral meds would work) and began an IV drip to rehydrate my body. The funniest part was that we had no latex to tie off my arm to try to get a vein and Jason offered a condom!! Way to be resourceful! Luckily we remembered our First Aid Kit in the car that had 2 gloves which she used to get a vein. We tied the IV bottle to some local rope and nailed it to the wall. I sat all day getting fluids but unfortunately I was still vomiting and unable to drink or eat.

African style IV pole

Anni holds my hand to “make Mama feel better”
I did feel a bit better because I had some energy to talk and walk but we decided we needed to go to the mainland to get better medical monitoring that is simply not available here (we talked to many doctors and nurses and the main need was hydration but also they recommended to get electrolyte and blood testing and monitoring that no hospital here can do..they have the machines but they are broken). Our team leader and his family graciously offered to allow Annikah to stay with them so that we could go to Dar quickly and go straight to the clinic. After getting fluids I was ok to fly and we went directly to the clinic. The French doctor fit us in even though we had called that morning. The staff there is very helpful and after my blood pressure and weight we found out I had lost another 6 pounds since my last visit 2 weeks ago (now more than 5% of my body weight). After realizing I had still not kept any food or liquid down for about 50 hours he put me back on IV’s for the entire day and took a lot of blood samples to run the needed tests. We felt relieved to get some Western care and because Anni was not there we were able to process everything, pray, and talk about options. This was a huge blessing; just to have time to think and be together. We were there about 8 hours getting fluids as well as some stomach acid reducing injections that the doctor hoped would help with the vomiting. It did help the pain associated with throwing up and although I was still relentlessly nauseous and still throwing up it was reduced which was a relief.
The nurse left the IV in my wrist overnight and sent us home (the doctor said he would rather have overnight hospitalization but that the hospital here would not be advisable). It was difficult to sleep but I was thankful NOT to get another needle injection the next morning. I already felt like a druggie with 6 “track lines” on my arms. We went in the next morning and unfortunately I felt terrible again. They started IV’s and the results of my blood and urine test showed that most everything was good: a great blessing! I did have many ketones in my urine which is consistent with long periods of fasting and dehydration and an elevated white blood cell count. On the electrolyte test the fluids seemed to really help and only chloride was abnormal (which he said is not a big deal and can fluctuate by the hour). These tests were a huge relief as the way I was feeling I was not sure if my body was really suffering or if I was ok. It is just so hard to self access and know what I need. Long story short I have Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) which I think is latin for “I would rather die.” With Annikah I had bad sickness but it never crossed this line. I started reading more about this condition to try to understand and get some support. It affects about 1 in 300 pregnant women and can be very debilitating which at least allows me to feel better about how terrible I have been feeling and how little I have been able to function. Difficulties coping with everyday thinking, situations, and emotions is also common. Cheers: to add to my already emotional self : instability! At least these are “normal” for women that suffer from this. It is also amazing to me that God has created the human body to be fallen and frail but at the same time able to withstand so much and still allow the baby to grow despite the harsh environment.

At the clinic the doctor tried another anti-nauseous medication (the 11th I have tried) directly in my IV and I was able to drink a soda and have a few bites of a sandwich. We got an oral version of that medication to try later back at the guest house. He also said he was not comfortable giving us the green light to return to the island unless I could keep down some more food without IV and we planned to return the next morning. On the way to the clinic the next morning we got a call that Annikah was sick and had thrown up a few times at our friend’s house. This added stress to an already difficult situation. After seeing the doctor and keeping down some tea and some bread he released us to go home with some IV drugs in case as well as some anti-acid meds. We then began the journey of trying to get a flight out that day to get home to Anni. The original plan was for me to fly at 2pm and Jason to take a dala-dala to the port and take the ferry (to save money) later in the day. You would think we would have learned by now that plans always change and with the flights full, the difficulty of finding the airline office, we finally just went directly to the airport and waited for a flight. About 2 hours later we were finally on our way back. The plane was only a 10-seater and it was so embarrassing throwing up after we took off and then having to hold my lil’ bucket-o-puke but at least we were on our way to see Annikah. Our team has been amazing picking us up, running errands for us, visiting us, caring for Annikah, and driving her to school. And Jason has been a rock star taking care of me and Anni full time. I really understand the whole part of the vows about “in sickness and in health” now. So now we are home and we shall wait and see if things improve. Anni seems to be tired but fine and we think maybe her being sick was just the stress of everything and being away from us. So we stay together and wait and see. My life is mostly about waiting these days. We will go back to pick up my mom and sister Monday and have another doctor check up on Tuesday to see how I am doing and to have another ultrasound for the baby (who after all this better come out sleeping thru the night and potty trained). I alternate between moments of feeling like this will pass and we can hold on to feeling depressed and worried about the emotional toll this is taking. Thank you to all who have sent emails, prayed, called, and thought of us. Although we may have not responded yet please know it is a tremendous encouragement; Asante! In all of this I know God is good and He is providing for our family despite the difficulties of the moment.

breakfast, lunch, & dinner

at a guest house in Dar….fluids do the body good

  1. Anonymous says:

    Jason and Roxanne,Kevin and I are pr aying for you! We're glad you're able to be back “home” for now.Love,Kevin and Leah

  2. Anonymous says:

    I'm so sorry to hear about all of this – hopefully having your mom and sis there will help – even if just to lift your spirits a bit. Sending healthy thoughts your way – miss and love you!

  3. Anonymous says:

    UGh! Hearing the details makes me cry for you. I have had a couple friends with hyperemesis…miserable even in states, can't imagine there. WOW! I bet you guys didn't even know “how much you could handle!” Love you, still praying, continue to let us know your needs!!!Love you,Kim!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    You all are in our thoughts & prayers. I am very sorry that you have go through this Roxanne. May our Lord give you the strength to get through this & Also for Jason & Anni.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I am so glad you were able to keep at least a few things down. I am so sorry about the HG, I can't even imagine that given how much I complain on a daily basis! I continue to pray for you guys and everything there. Last night I dreamt I was at the hospital with you and we were talking about stuff (I can't even remember what now). When Joshua woke me up, I was very upset because I wanted to talk to you longer. I tried to go back to sleep, but the dream was gone. BTW, Joshie says hi to Anni. Love, Laura

  6. Anonymous says:

    roxi my love, i have been thinking of you a ton and praying and praying for you! i put the word out to all my praying friends to pray for you too =) i cannot fathom being that sick. i would have passed out into some sort of catatonia if it were me! you are a rock star. love you love you love you!jkw

  7. Anonymous says:

    whoa. 1 in 300 huh? you always try to be so unique. I think with you in this state it would probably be a fair match to do advance Tae Bo, eh who am I kidding you would still whoop me. That green stomach acid sounds like you were vomiting haterade. What was it that Mrs. Jackson always said (besides I am for really! I didn't mean to make your daw-ter cry…) “I'm sorry honey, but that's your reality,”? Laughter, its the only medicine I really am licensed to perform, sorry if it hurts the tum. Feel better! Funny thoughts to make it better… Red fleece, We have magots aren't you proud?, Johnny Boy in elf costumes, you and Jill breaking the swing, squirrels breaking & entering, Andrea running….love you!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I am so happy you made it to Dar and received good care there. Praying that this experience might be a turning point in your pregnancy – for the better! I hope you feel well enough to enjoy having Katy and your mom there. It's a comfort to know you'll have some help for awhile. And then three weeks later, Jim and I will be there to help, too!

  9. Anonymous says:

    As horrible and scary as this has all been, I laughed out loud at your sense of humor of the babby sleeping through the night, and being potty trained! I will be there soon, and if you still aren't feeling better, then I think you all should come home till the baby is born. It is not the easy way out, it is the safe way out. I don't want anything to happen to you are that sweet baby you are carrying. I'm glad Katy and I will be there to give Jason a break, too. I guess you are all over the fear of needles and doctor thing, right? See you soon, honey.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Rox,So sorry to hear how sick you have continued to feel this week. You have come to mind so often in the last few days and I have been praying for your healing. It will be so good for your mom and sis to be there with you.Love you,Laura

  11. Anonymous says:

    You are in a bad way Wox. Hang in there girl.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I love the thumbs up picture… makes me smile. You are quite the rockstar! It is good to see you in good spirits in the photo despite the scary and painful journey you've experienced these past few days. We love you and are so happy you're all back together again and doing SO much better!

  13. Anonymous says:

    you are a rockstar rox – you'll get better soon!! i've been thinking about you guys a lot – and sending get better soon thoughts on the way to you! love ya!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Praying for you, RoxanneKim Wheaton

  15. Anonymous says:

    You dont know me but I came by your blog through a friend and wanted to let you know that I too had this durning my pregnancy. I was severely sick and hospitalized for this 7 times over a two month period for a week at a time. I then started having blood clots and ulcers from vomitting and IVs…Just wanted to tell you that God is good and he got me through it and you are MOST DEFINATELY in my prayers….The vomitting is definately no fun but as a mother I know how AWFUL it feels to be so helpless and unable to care for your child. Good luck with this as I had it up until 3 weeks AFTER I delievered!!!!!!! God Bless you and your family!Megan FaustUmatilla Florida