Seven-week-old McKenna Hovenga was ready for her first big outing— a softball game.
As her aunt Laura wrote on her YouCaring site, McKenna was born at the tail end of a long winter and at the beginning an unseasonably cold spring. Beside going to the grocery store and to a few doctors appointments, she hadn’t been out of the house.
It was finally warm on May 2, so mom Kassy took her to watch her dad, Lee, play softball. After they sat down behind the fence parallel to the third baseline, Kassy got herself situated to breastfeed McKenna.
Kassy and McKenna were sitting behind the fence in the stands on the third base line at Lee’s softball game. Another pair of teams were playing and Lee was helping Kassy get situated with a blanket over her, so Kassy could breastfeed. Lee had his back to the field and never saw the ball coming. The ball came over the fence – and either hit McKenna first or hit Kassy first. We’re really not sure as it happened so fast and Kassy was looking down at McKenna as she was feeding.
Laura said Kassy didn’t even realize the softball hit McKenna at first because she didn’t instantly start crying:
What’s puzzling is that the fractures are on the side that was next to Kassy — not the outward side. Kassy has a large lump on her bicep where the ball impacted. McKenna didn’t begin to scream until a few seconds afterward. They were unaware that she was even hit, until the large lump formed.
McKenna was airlifted to St. Mary’s Hospital at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota where it was determined that she had skull fractures and two brain bleeds.
The seven-week-old was also suffering from seizures— some of them lasting an hour.
Three days ago, her Facebook page was updated to say that doctors at the hospital put McKenna on multiple medications to slow her seizures down:
At this time, if they find that stronger/continuous anti-seizure meds are needed it may be necessary to intubate. Some medications can affect respiration.
The seizures are being caused by pressure of the blood clots, as well as the swelling of her brain – as that continually changes. The doctors warned us that we still need to get through the next 24 hours and that a lot can change between now and then.
McKenna also had to be put on a ventilator.
Thankfully, May 6 was a day of good news for the family.
According to Facebook, McKenna went 48 hours without a seizure, so doctors were able to start weening her off of some of her seizure medications:
Yesterday, they did find a spot in her left lung, and she is showing signs of the beginning of a respiratory infection, so they started her on an antibiotic right away. It’s very normal with her vent. And nothing they are worried about at this time. They are just staying ahead of it. Adding some nutrition to her IV today. But still NPO…
The Versed is almost gone…then we work on the pentobarbital! The pento will take longer because it takes longer for the body to flush out. Neurologist came in and said the EEG actually is started to look even calmer as we are taking her off the meds!! So a huge sign!
Nothing else really to add, just sitting back and waiting! Please keep the prayers coming and fingers crossed!
As of May 7, McKenna is still on the ventilator but is still seizure free.
As Laura wrote on YouCaring, Kassy and McKenna were in a safe location at the softball game, but “unfortunately, we can’t bubble wrap our babies, as much as we may want.”