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
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