Skip to Content

UPDATE from McKenna’s Mom: McKenna aced her Spontaneous Breathing Trial!

Posted to the Healing for McKenna Facebook May 18, 2018 – at 7 a.m. · 

Morning Update 05/18/2018: Good morning! The doctors haven’t made their rounds yet, but I’m heading to Rochester within the next 45 minutes, so I thought I would update you with what I know from last night…

McKenna aced her Spontaneous Breathing Trial! She breathed on her own for 2 hours! Usually they only let patients go for an hour, but she was doing so well they let her go for as long as they felt comfortable. 2 hours!!! Just blew our minds! Our girl is one tough little cookie and God is so good!

As far as I know, McKenna tolerated her subsequent decreases of Versed. If all goes well, she will be completely weaned off by 10:00 am today, CST. Please pray specifically that McKenna handles being off the Versed and that she does not have any more activity.

She did have to go up on her Epinephrine yesterday afternoon, since her blood pressure was a little soft. That seems to be one area that hasn’t quite stabilized yet.

We could not be more joyful for her progress and the little tiny baby steps she is making! I’m sure Kassy will post an update if anything is different this morning after they make their rounds, since I’ll be on the road. I’ll be taking another bag of goodies and cards that have come by mail and I know Kassy and Lee will enjoy reading your heartfelt words of love and encouragement. It was a tear-fest the last time when I took things up there on Tuesday. <3

I have gotten more requests for where people can send cards, etc… Items can be mailed to: Healing for McKenna PO Box 308 Shell Rock, IA 50670. All cards will be going into a scrapbook documenting her journey, so one day we can tell McKenna her story – and what an amazing story it is indeed!

Here’s picture that was shared with us on Tuesday from a 14u Girl’s Softball Team from Perry, Florida playing for McKenna during their last softball game of the season. Thank you so much girls, for the uplifting picture and for your thoughts and prayers! We hope you won your game! #healingmckenna <3 – Laura 

Update, Thursday, May 17, 2:29 p.m.

Posted to the Healing for McKenna Facebook page one hour ago:

"Afternoon Update 05/17/2018: OH! HAPPY DAY! HAPPY DAY!

Where do we begin?!

McKenna had an awesome night and an even better morning! She is tolerating the wean fantastically and is currently at .5 (Noon CST) on the Versed. Neuro came in while she was awake and said that her EEG is looking better and better as she is continuing the slow, but steady wean of a .1 decrease every four hours. Her epinephrine is currently at .01 and her blood pressure is stable. The rest of her stats are holding stable, as well. YAY GOD!

I’m sure that most of you saw the video last evening of McKenna with her eyes open. What a wondrous sight that was, was it not?! This morning she was even more awake! And she is showing us more and more that she is there and she is fighting hard! She is able to track Kassy’s finger and her voice with BOTH eyes, she is holding and clenching Lee’s and Kassy’s fingers with BOTH hands, and she is responding to more than just pain stimuli with BOTH feet. She is even drawing BOTH of her legs up at the knee when Kassy runs her fingers down the bottoms of her feet. She’s saying, "Momma! Stop tickling me!" LOL! Notice that I am emphasizing BOTH… This is because I for one was concerned that we would see the brain damage manifest itself in lack of motion on one side, but we are seeing movement on BOTH sides! She even stretched BOTH of her legs out when the doctors took her blanket off today. Although her right side moves a little more sluggish than the left, this may be because we are also seeing more fluid positivity on the right side as compared to the other. Or, it may just be all the meds she is on. Who wouldn’t be a little loopy? I choose to believe in the promise of complete healing, so I’m sure we will see equalized movement the more she wakes up. The nurses have put a little mobile above her crib because one of McKenna’s favorite things to do is watch the ceiling fan, so the mobile has brightly colored blades that spin and play music, as well as project little stars on the plastic top of the crib. McKenna is also doing quite a bit of drooling, so Kassy and Lee are going out today to buy her some bibs. I know it will do their hearts good to do something so "normal"!

Although McKenna is still at a high rate of the Versed, she is having more definitive periods of wakefulness. Part of this is due to what we are calling McKenna being a "Midazo-holic". "Versed" is the trademark name for the prescription drug name of "Midazolam". McKenna has developed a high tolerance for the Versed and as the doctors decrease the dosage, it’s requiring more and more to have the same effect. While obviously they’re not going to increase the dosage as that is the opposite of what we’re trying to accomplish, it explains why she’s receiving so much and is still able to be awake. While this isn’t bad in and of itself, McKenna is more likely to experience a "Versed Hangover". To draw you a mental picture, it’s very similar to an alcoholic needing more and more alcohol to get the same feeling. Then, after the bender is over, they need to sleep it off. When McKenna is completely weaned off the Versed, she will probably be doing quite a bit of sleeping, as her body gets used to not having the medication.

As part of McKenna waking up, the doctors have decided to try a Spontaneous Breathing Trial. Basically they are leaving McKenna intubated, but will decrease the amount of pressure she is receiving through the ventilator to see how well she breathes on her own. That way, she can exercise her lungs and they can see how well she tolerates breathing on her own, but the vent is still there to back her up, if she needs it. It will be some time before they are ready to take her off the vent completely, as there is still the possibility for seizures. Since there have been times that McKenna has been breathing over the vent, we are very excited to see how she tolerates breathing completely on her own for the first time in two weeks! We will let you know how it goes.

So needless to say, there is plenty of rejoicing in the Hovenga, Baldwin, and Heise families today! I for one feel like I can take the first deep breath in weeks. It almost feels as if we have come out into a blinding light from a deep, dark tunnel. I have no doubt that the days and weeks ahead will be filled with hills and valleys, but I know I can speak for all of us when I say that today we are shouting our joy from a mountain top and I know that each of you are right there with us! – ? Laura" 

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.

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.

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.


Skip to content