Sweet baby McKenna is at home in her mother’s arms, a place Kassy and Lee Hovenga weren’t sure she’d ever be again.
On May 2, while at a softball game, McKenna was hit on the head by an overthrown softball.
The impact caused a skull fracture and brain bleed. McKenna spent six weeks in the Mayo Clinic children’s hospital. Her parents were unable to even hold their daughter.
"We couldn’t make noise in the room. We couldn’t touch her," described McKenna’s Dad, Lee.
As parents, all they could do was watch and wait, as seizures caused by the brain bleed became more and more frequent, lasting longer and longer. At one point, McKenna’s seizures were lasting over an hour.
"She could have a chance to stop breathing. That is not something you want to hear," recalled McKenna’s mom, Kassy.
The doctors told Kassy and Lee, they needed to put McKenna in a coma and use a ventilator to help her breathe.
The seizures finally stopped, but that only led to another terrifying moment when doctors went to take the ventilator out.
"I looked up at her stats and her oxygen was 2. Her heart rate was dropping. She got close to having to be resuscitated because her heart was about to stop," said Lee.
But McKenna battled through. On June 11, after a skull fracture, brain bleed, countless seizures and multiple surgeries, McKenna came home.
"Part of me was terrified leaving the hospital, that I wasn’t coming home with the same child," said Kassy.
Slowly but surely, McKenna has let Kassy and Lee know their little girl is still with them. McKenna has begun to smile again, and has even laughed.
"We don’t even know what struggles she is going to face in future. They told us we could start to see signs at 6 to 9 months, and she might not show anything until she is starting school. It could be a learning disability," said Kassy.
For now, the family is living for every moment because McKenna is here.
Kassy and Lee say they are overwhelmed by the support they have received during this trying time. The two can’t thank everyone enough for the love they have shown McKenna.
And that support continues. This Saturday, Iowans can show support in person. Friends of the family are hosting a ride starting at 9:30 am at The Cooler in Shell Rock.
The ride will visit Allison, Dumont, Clarksville and several other towns before ending back at The Cooler around 4:30 pm. The cost is $10 per person and registration starts at 8 am.
The fun will continue with a silent auction and raffle at 5:30 pm.
Then riders and the public are welcome to head over to Docks Bar & Grill in Clarksville for dinner. The cost is $5 for those who don’t participate in the ride.
A bags tournament will also be held at The Cooler starting at 6 pm.