Portrait: Julianne

My name is Julianne and at 18 weeks pregnant, I was diagnosed with a massive 15mm aneurysm near my occipital nerve. The last four years have been the biggest roller coaster of my life. I now have two sons, Aiden Grey who is three, and Sawyer John who is one, but it was a huge battle getting here.

A little bit about Julianne 

I spent the entire first trimester, and half of my second trimester into my first pregnancy, complaining of debilitating headaches leaving me unable to do much. I was finally diagnosed at 18 weeks pregnant with a massive 15 mm aneurysm near my occipital nerve. 

I was rushed by ambulance to the nearest university hospital that could handle an aneurysm of that size while pregnant. My husband wasn't allowed in with me due to Covid, so we traumatically had to say our goodbyes without knowing what the outcome was going to be for myself or our baby. 

I had surgery the following morning and my aneurysm was what they assumed was stable. I was diagnosed with three aneurysms in total, but only the larger one needed immediate attention. 

Dealing with uncertainty during the pregnancy and as a new mom 

I was re-hospitalized at about 28 weeks pregnant due to debilitating headaches again and had to stay under observation for the next six weeks until we delivered my son. 

My baby was born six weeks early and came into the world ready to fight. He spent 30 days in the NICU and was home to celebrate the holidays. 

A month postpartum, I had an angiogram to monitor my aneurysm and we found out that my first surgery didn't work. My aneurysm was now 16mm. I would have to go into another surgery three months postpartum to place a pipeline stent.  

It was a long recovery, but the surgery worked, and I was cleared to have another baby. We found out a year later that we were expecting and during that pregnancy. I had another massive scare. I was once again in the neuro ICU due to loss of vision in my left eye where the aneurysm was and developing a third nerve cranial palsy. 

I survived and am now blessed to have my husband and two beautiful healthy sons. I am so proud to be their mom. My face looks a little different and I deal with a lot of PTSD from the situation, but I'm working through to hopefully be a support for other moms going through traumatic neurological events prepartum or postpartum.  

Advice to other survivors 

If I could pass along any advice to anyone going through something similar it would be to slow down and not rush time away even if you feel physically unwell. Lean into the chaos and become the mother or father you are in this moment, not the one you once dreamt of becoming. They are both equal, both versions can be amazing if you don't fight it. 

The importance of hope 

I want to say thank you to Emilia for sharing her story so openly. It gives me hope that I’ll get back to normal some day, and it helps so much to know others have been through this and I’m not alone. 

Julianne’s story highlights how brain injury survivors have to fight for their health. At SameYou, we’re dedicated to advocating for people like Julianne by bringing more awareness to brain injuries, ensuring that people aren’t alone in their recoveries.  

Will you join us today and help spread the word so we can drive change for recovery services and neurorehabilitation?

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