My best advice to you if you cannot afford an attorney is to go to your local law library as soon as possible. Look for a set of books called "practice guides" they will give you information on how to file your response (how to more accurately plead your cause of action).
The practice of law deals with a great amount of time doing research. If you are prosecuting your case "pro per" (without a lawyer) you need to plan on doing this yourself (and doing a lot more than an attorney will because you are not only researching the substance of your whistleblower statute, but also the procedural rules).
Currently your status is rather simple, you must oppose the court's current position (which is to dismiss your cause of action for failure to adequately plead the complaint). This can be done if you can go through each of the elements for the cause of action and identify allegations of fact to support each. (Again - do not do this without researching it, you can't expect to do this off the top of your head, or by a quick internet search or "Q&A").
You cannot appeal at this point, you must appear and defend the Court's order to show cause. If you fail to appear, and the court dismisses, you will have nothing to appeal (the appeals court will simply dismiss your appeal).
If you write a very good brief opposing the order to show cause, and write very good allegations showing each element of the cause of action(s) that you allege in the complaint, and the court still dismisses the complaint THEN you will be able to appeal, and you can appeal the matter to the appellate court and argue that the trial court abused its discretion in dismissing your claim. But the appellate court is only going to look at what you have written in the trial court - it will not look at new evidence, new allegations, or new arguments.
(This is a critical brief that you must write, go to your local law library, and find their practice guides - they will have strategy tips, commonly used legal authorities, and templates, your law librarian can point you in the direction of the most useful books for your matter in their collection).