Home Health News Baby McKenna, who was hospitalized after being hit by softball, continues to recover

Baby McKenna, who was hospitalized after being hit by softball, continues to recover

23 min read


Update, Wednesday, May 9, 9:30 p.m.

Two hours ago, this update was posted to the Healing for McKenna Facebook page:

"Evening Update 05/09/2018: McKenna’s been feisty today.

Yucky news is that she’s having seizures about every 20 minutes. Good news is that they’re only lasting about a minute and a half. They gave her another loading dose of phenobarbital via IV and have backed off the idea of doing the oral doses. If the current seizures continue, they will give her another loading dose. There is no talk of implementing the steady drip, but they may have to up the dosage amount to keep her seizure-free.

Good news on her blood pressure. She is now completely off the norepinephrine and they are beginning to lower the epinephrine. So this is a great sign that her BP is beginning to hold steady when that had been one the initial problems. Also good news is that she continues to breathe mostly on her own. Kassy is talking to her and letting her know that she is there and I truly believe that McKenna hears her. – Laura"

Follow Healing for McKenna here: 


Update, Tuesday, May 8, 10:45 p.m.

An hour ago, an update was posted on the Healing for McKenna Facebook page.  In it, Laura describes the seizures McKenna is having:

"Short evening update… If you take a look this picture, the pink lines are McKenna trying to breathe on her own. Such an awesome sign! They took her down for a CT this evening and we’re currently awaiting the results. This morning when they gave her the phenobarbital, it stopped the seizures but also took her one step back from waking up. So McKenna’s brain activity was coming back and then Neuro made the call to give her the pheno and it slowed her brain activity again. The doctors did not anticipate that happening, but it’s not uncommon. So we went one step back with the seizure activity and then one more step back with it lowering her brain activity again. However, we have made A LOT of progress since things were so bad on Friday.

I know that when most of you think of seizures, you think of the convulsive seizures that epileptics experience where there are physical symptoms that you can observe. What McKenna is experiencing is called a subclinical seizure. A subclinical seizure is a seizure that does not present any clinical signs or symptoms. Such seizures are often experienced by people with epilepsy, in which an electroencephalogram (EEG) trace will show abnormal brain activity, usually for a short time, but the level of consciousness is normal. Her brain is just firing off rapidly because it’s being irritated by the blood. So basically, we can be sitting right next to McKenna when she is seizing and have no idea unless her pulse rate goes up.

Most of the time we rely on Neuro to tell us if she’s having one, which they track in a completely different area. If she has one, the phone in the room rings. Sometimes it rings for other things, but every time it does, we all hold our breaths. I personally refer to Neuro as "the Great Wizard", like from the Wizard of Oz… All knowing and all seeing. Cameras monitor McKenna from various angles and they are constantly monitoring her EEG from their department. It can kind of be a little surreal, but we are so thankful there is always, always someone monitoring her 24 hours a day on top of her personal nurse that never leaves her room. I don’t know what we’d do if we weren’t at Mayo with the best of the best. We are so very grateful McKenna is in such good hands. – Laura"


Update: Tuesday, May 8, 3:40 p.m.

Around 3 p.m., this update was posted to the Healing for McKenna Facebook page:

"McKenna is completely off the pentobarb as of 10:55am CST. She had remained seizure free throughout the night and tolerated the 3:00 am 50% reduction as well, so they made the decision to stop it all together. Yesterday they removed the Bair Hug that was regulating her body temperature and her edema is down remarkably. She’s looking a whole lot more like herself! She was trying to take some breaths on her own there for a little while, so that’s good. They have started to feed her her own special concoction of lipids and electrolytes. They have blocked her G-tube in hopes that her bowels will begin to work on their own.

Now for the not so good… Not horrible, just disappointing. McKenna had her first seizure-like activity in 96 hours at 11:38 am. It appeared to be some small cluster seizing for almost a half hour, but there were no overt signs in her stats. It’s not like it was before when she was in status (one huge continuous seizure) for a long period of time. So they gave her a loading dose of phenobarbital to get control of that. They’ve figured out that she’s pretty sensitive and they’re trying to find the right balance of what works. The positive news is that there are several different meds they can try before we have to put her back on the pentobarb, should there being any more activity. Our girl keeps them on their toes that’s for sure!"


Update: Sunday, May 6, 12:05 p.m.

19 minutes ago, this was posted to the Healing for McKenna Facebook page:

"McKenna has been seizure free for 48 hours! Praise God! That’s our girl! The doctors will start lowering the Versed a little every hour, and then at night they back it off to every 2 hours. Versed is the seizure med that she was maxed out on.

McKenna has experienced quite a bit of fluid positivity. This means she is retaining fluid and because she cannot get rid of it in normal ways because she’s laying still (urinating, being held, moving), she is retaining more and more. This is why she looks puffy. This is perfectly normal in this situation. It’s important to get rid of the fluid to be able to take the breathing tube out when the time comes and they can’t remove it if she’s retaining a lot of fluid.

The CT came back stable, but they are still seeing the spots of possible brain damage. However… We don’t know the extent IF ANY until she wakes up. Her blood levels were great! Labs are stable. They are keeping her NPO at the time, which means she is not receiving Kassy’s milk"


Update: Saturday, May 5, 12:28 p.m.

Three hours ago, this was posted to the Healing for McKenna Facebook page:

"McKenna is doing good this morning!! Everything is stable. Blood count stayed stable after her last transfusion. They have lowered the blood pressure meds and she is handling it very well! They also have her temp stable. There is talk of possibly starting a slow drip of food, but not worried about it at this time! AND STILL SEIZURES FREE!!!!!"


Update: Friday, May 4, 6:43 p.m.

Three minutes ago, this was posted to the Healing for McKenna Facebook page:

"A little good news to share… Why could all use some, right?  McKenna has gone the longest amount of time without a seizure since we arrived. She has had no cluster seizure activity since the big one this morning. She tolerated her blood transfusion and it has been successfully completed, although they will continue transfusions as they take blood to monitor her levels. McKenna was successfully weaned onto the norepinephrine with no seizures occurring. The head of the PICU said that they are feeling very encouraged with what they are seeing and while we are by no means out of the woods, there is cautionary hope for McKenna to recover. She has very many things working in her favor including her age and the flexibility of her skull. There are two places of traumatic injury to the brain itself that they are watching, but we have received what we hope is the beginning of lots of encouraging news."


Update: Friday, May 4, 4:50 p.m.

KWWL continues to follow the progress of young McKenna, as she recovers after being hit by an overthrown softball in Waverly Wednesday night.

We received a message from McKenna’s mom around 4:15 p.m. this afternoon.  It reads:

"UPDATE FROM FAMILY: The results of the CT Scan showed that one of the areas of bleeding had gotten larger, although this is something that wasn’t unexpected by the team. McKenna has received her blood transfusion and her status has not changed at this time. She is still in critical condition. The goal is to stop the seizures. Her last seizure was about 45 mins long and ended about 7:30 this morning."

Updates are being posted on the Healing for McKenna Facebook page regularly.  The most recent post was posted around 1 p.m. on Friday, May 4:

"No new news yet. We are simply just waiting for the blood transfusion to take place and still waiting for the results on the CT scan. She is stable. Her last seizure was about 45 mins long and ended about 7:30 this morning. Here are pictures from her MRI yesterday that I wanted to share with you.
First one is the fracture that is on her skull. They say it will heal on its own. Second, is just one of the MANY pictures they have of the blood on her brain. The lighter spotted areas in the red circle is blood."

And this had been posted earlier Friday morning around 10 a.m.:

UPDATE: McKenna has been taken for a CT Scan. There has been some blood loss and they’re not sure if it is from the initial trauma or if something has developed since. McKenna will require a blood transfusion. I know this is redundant, but please keep praying. – Laura

Friends have also started a YouCaring page for McKenna and her parents.  You can find that here.


Original story:

A seven-week-old baby is recovering after an overthrown softball hit her on the head.

Baby McKenna Hovenga was hit during a men’s softball game in Waverly Wednesday night. She was airlifted to Mayo Clinic where she is being treated for brain bleeds.

Kassy Hovenga and her daughter McKenna were sitting on the bleachers watching the game when suddenly a ball flew over the fence and hit her and her baby.

"The guy was in the outfield and he was just simply throwing to the third baseman to try and get an out and it went right over the gate and hit us," said Hovenga.

Hovenga’s husband was playing in the game for the Waverly men’s softball league. Hovenga says she was about to feed McKenna when the ball hit her.

"A ball hit me in the shoulder, she (McKenna) didn’t do anything at first, but then it was just a blood-curdling scream," said Hovenga.

McKenna was airlifted to Mayo Clinic, where doctors have been treating her for the brain bleeds and a skull fracture, her mother says she is doing better.

"As of right now everything is stable," said Hovenga this afternoon. "The brain bleeds are not getting bigger, they are pretty much just clots, and they are putting pressure on her brain which are causing the seizures."

The accident has shaken the first time mom.

"You see things like this happen, you never imagine them happening to you ever," said Hovenga. "I don’t even have words to describe everything that I’ve been through in the past not even 24 hours, to see her finally calm is very reassuring."

Hovenga and her husband are forever grateful for their miracle, McKenna.

"We had to do three rounds of fertility treatments to get this little miracle, she is definitely our miracle baby," said Hovenga.

The family says brain bleeds are causing the baby to have seizures. She was seizure free for most of the day, but tonight family says she had a seizure that lasted nine minutes.

The family says doctors are taking it hour by hour right now. They are not sure exactly how long the baby will be in the PICU, their main goal is to treat the brain bleeds.

To keep up with McKenna’s recovery, CLICK HERE.

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