AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – September is National Brain Aneurysm Awareness Month.

Nicole Jenkins gave birth to her daughter in April of 2001. As she was preparing to leave the hospital, things took a turn for the worse.

“I kinda remember him screaming and running like, ‘we need help!’ because I was having seizures,” recalled Jenkins.

Doctors soon found that Jenkins had an aneurysm rupture and needed surgery immediately.

She was just 19 years old.

“They told my mom, you know, ‘we have to do this surgery. She might make it, she might not…’,” said Jenkins.

Thankfully, Jenkins did make it. 

Doctors tell us that about one in 50 people are affected by brain aneurysms.

“Overall death from aneurysm rupture- it used to be at 50 percent, now it’s down to 20 percent, which is much better,” said Dr. Dan-Victor Giurgiutiu, an interventional neurologist at the Medical College of Georgia and Wellstar MCG Health. “And a lot of credit goes to neurocritical care.”

Jenkins spent months in the ICU, in rehabilitation and in transition.

At times, she says she struggled to understand why this happened to her.

When doctors first brought her daughter to her, she knew she had to keep going.

“As soon as they did that a tear dropped out of my eye,” said Jenkins.

Dr. Giurgiutiu tells us that not all aneurysms rupture- smaller aneurysms can be managed and bleeding can be prevented by maintaining a good blood pressure or quitting smoking.

For the one in a thousand aneurysms that bleed, he says the road to recovery is long, but possible.

“You can still get there,” said Dr. Giurgiutiu. “You just have to keep working with exercise or therapy and with the support of a neurologist or neurosurgeon to keep getting better.”

Jenkins tells us her rehab team equipped her with heavy sacks to carry… so she could get back to carrying her baby as soon as possible.

“Every time I look at her,” said Jenkins. “I call her my miracle baby because she’s my miracle baby…she reminds me of that.”

Dr. Giurgiutiu tells us that warning signs for aneurysms could be unexplained migraines or vision problems.

Walking in gratitude, Jenkins says she encourages everyone not to ignore the signs.

“My purpose, I feel, for me being here is to kind of show people that I don’t want them to feel how I felt when it happened,” said Jenkins. “I want them to understand that you can overcome it.”