Motherhood

Serena Williams says complications after giving birth to 1st child nearly killed her

(Serena Williams / Instagram)

Serena Williams, 36, has opened up about life-threatening complications that she suffered in September after the birth of her daughter, Alexis Olympia. The tennis great told Vogue’s Rob Haskell that she was forced to go off her anticoagulants in the wake of her emergency C-section, which doctors were forced to perform after her heart rate became dangerously low during contractions. Williams graces the cover of the magazine’s February issue. While recovering from the surgery, she realized she was struggling to breath and told a nurse that she needed a CT scan and a blood thinner right away. The nurse thought she was confused, and brought in a doctor who began performing an ultrasound of her legs.

“I was like, a Doppler? I told you, I need a CT scan and a heparin drip,” Williams recalled.

After the ultrasound proved fruitless, they agreed to perform the CT scan and discovered that blood clots had formed in her lungs — just as Williams had suspected. “I was like, listen to Dr. Williams!” she told Haskell.

Over the next six days, Williams suffered complication after complication, as severe coughing caused by the pulmonary embolism opened up the incision from her C-section, and the blood thinner used to treat the embolism caused a large hematoma to flood her abdomen. Once she was finally able to return home, Williams found herself unable to leave her bed for six weeks. Just a week ago, Williams walked the length of a neighborhood block for the first time since leaving the hospital. Even so, Williams had hoped to play in the upcoming Australian Open, which she won last year while pregnant. She recently announced that while she felt she could “compete,” that she would pull out of the tournament since “I want to do far better than that.”

“To be honest, there’s something really attractive about the idea of moving to San Francisco and just being a mom,” admitted Williams, who recently married Alexis Ohanian, the father of her child and co-founder of social media site Reddit. “But not yet. Maybe this goes without saying, but it needs to be said in a powerful way: I absolutely want more Grand Slams.”

If anything, she added, “I think having a baby might help.”

 

Read the full story at Vogue and The Washington Post.

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