Healing for McKenna

For: McKenna Hovenga
Shell Rock, IA
Organizer: Laura Heise
Healing for McKenna (McKenna Hovenga)
of $75,000 goal
100% Complete
Raised by 2083 donors

The Story

On Wednesday, May 2, seven week old McKenna Hovenga was struck in the head by an overthrown softball during her Daddy's softball game. McKenna was life flighted to St. Mary's Hospital at Mayo Clinic for skull fractures and two brain bleeds. McKenna is currently intubated and has a feeding tube and the doctors are currently working to stabilize her seizures due to traumatic brain injury.  

At the advice of many who have privately messaged us who have experienced similar medical emergencies, we have raised our fundraising goals. These monies will be placed directly into an account in McKenna's name and will be used for present and future medical care expenses ONLY.  

For updates, please follow McKenna on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Healing-for-McKenna-311626979367488/

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on May 9, 2018


Posted on May 9, 2018

May 8th Update: We have a few good things and a few not so good things going on, but let's start with the good news first.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 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 anymore activity. Our girl keeps them on their toes that's for sure!

If you take a look this picture, the pink lines are McKenna trying to breath 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.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.

May 9th Morning Update:  Miss McKenna had a rough start to her morning. We got the CT results back. The good news is that all the blood is gone, so that's a step in the right direction. The not so good news is that the two areas of brain damage are still present. We won't know what that means for her until she is able to wake up. More good news... She moved her bowels on her own. So yay for poop! She had four seizures about 1-2 minutes each this morning around 4:30 am, so they increased the phenobarbital and are giving it scheduled, plus added another med (not sure what that is yet). That seemed to get them under control. They want to do another scan this morning to see if they missed anything.

One of the doctors sat Kassy down and told her that she needed to stop looking at the future and start focusing on the day to day. That's probably from too much of us asking what each thing means for the future or when we can get better answers as far as what is causing the seizures. It is so very hard to wait and wait and not know. So... Day by day it is. We know it's going to take time... It's just hard. It's just hard.

For the most recent updates, follow us on Facebook at "Healing For McKenna".  Oftentimes, I don't always remember to copy and paste what I write on the FB page to the YouCaring Account.  

Thank you so very much for the continued love and support.  Lee and Kassy are just overwhelmed and it helps them remain positive. - Laura

Posted on May 6, 2018


Posted on May 6, 2018

Morning Rounds Update: 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. Last night they gave her a dose of Lasix and it didn't have much effect. This morning they decided to up the Lasix to 4 every 12 hours because she's up a whole kilo on her weight. (Everything is by kilogram, instead of pounds, so it's confusing sometimes. 1 kilo = 2.2 pounds) 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. 

They did see something in her lung scan when she went for her scheduled CT this morning, but it’s very normal with a breathing tube, so they are not worried about it at this time. 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.To understand the enormous balancing act these unbelievable doctors are doing, I'm going to try to put this all in layman's terms. McKenna is on too many meds to count... There are seizure meds, blood pressure meds, meds for nourishment, etc. and so forth. I couldn't begin to name them all. Each drop she receives is less than one drop of water. Her total intake of meds each day is 15 ml. Take a look at the dosing on a med cup for your Children's Motrin or Tylenol... It's less than half of that small cup. With each med it's a delicate dance to not give her too much or too little. We have been in awe of the PICU doctors, nurses and neuro teams at Mayo. There's a reason why they're the best in the world! We are comforted knowing that she is in the very best place to heal her and remain positive about the outcome. Please continue to pray for these skilled hands and minds. They see things each day that we cannot even fathom. They have hearts of gold and nerves of steel! Each one of them is so compassionate and we are very blessed that McKenna is in such loving and caring hands. For any that are following this page... We watch and we see you. Your hard work and dedication is not going unnoticed. We love you all! - Laura

Posted on May 6, 2018


Posted on May 6, 2018

Since there are a lot of stories flying around out there, here is exactly what happened to McKenna on Wednesday evening...

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. 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.

I just wanted to be clear that they were in a safe location, this was her first outing other than to see family or go to grocery store or doctor's appointments. It had been an abnormally cold and snowy spring here in Iowa, with snow as late as the end of April and it was a great evening of warm weather to finally escape the confines of the house. Unfortunately, we can't bubble wrap our babies, as much as we may want. 

I also want to point out that our family is seeing every post and especially that LEE and KASSY are seeing every post.  Let's keep things positive and not point fingers.  Accidents happen and this is just one horrible happenstance.  We blame NO ONE.  We appreciate the majority for their outpouring of prayers and positivity.  The old adage of, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" especially applies here.  It is just as important for Kassy and Lee to nourish their mental health as it is for them to remain physically strong for McKenna. We appreciate your help with this.  As soon as the team makes their rounds this morning, I will be posting a more informative update.  God bless you all.  We appreciate all you and your prayers more than you can ever fathom. Thank you all. - Laura

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