Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Serena Williams: 'Everything went bad' in medical ordeal after giving birth

Serena Williams: 'Everything went bad' in medical ordeal after giving birth

"Maybe this goes without saying, but it needs to be said in a powerful way: I absolutely want more grand slams".

After a third surgery to insert a device into her vein to help prevent clotting, Williams returned home one week later, though she was immobile for six weeks.

Williams told Vogue earlier this week that back in September when the baby was born via emergency cesarean section, she underwent multiple operations after sustaining a pulmonary embolism. But Serena wasn't. She started to struggle with breathing, and developed pulmonary embolism again. Not wanting to frighten her mom, who was in the room with her, she walked into the hallway and, gasping for breath, told the nurse she needed a CT scan and heparin IV right away (heparin is a blood thinner).

After going through all of that, Williams told Vogue she couldn't get out of bed for six weeks.

She recalled: "I was like, a Doppler?"

Williams told Vogue that she instructed doctors to give her a CT scan and a heparin (an anticoagulant medication) drip.

"Sometimes I get really down and feel like, man, I can't do this", she said.

At four months old their baby girl (Serena calls her Olympia while Alexis prefers Junior) is doing great, and Serena is getting stronger by the day. The ultrasound revealed nothing, but she was sent for a CT scan. Indeed, they found several small blood clots in her lungs and treated her with blood thinners.

In his new post on Thursday, Ohanian, who tied the knot with Williams in November, wrote next to a picture of his wife and child, "I can't imagine life without these two".

Her health complications didn't end there. The medical team then found a hematoma had filled her abdomen, caused by the very same blood-thinning drugs that were saving her life.

Similarly, the tennis champion has always encouraged the importance of body positivity and self-acceptance, insisting "That you can be whatever size you are and you can be handsome inside and out". And while her story is indeed scary, it's not uncommon.

Simona Halep enters the first major of the year as the world's top-ranked player which, after years of Serena dominance, chopped and changed on a regular basis last season.

NPR also reported in December that maternal mortality rates have vastly improved for white women in recent years, but have gotten worse for Black mothers in some states. But Serena insisted, and soon enough a doctor was performing an ultrasound of her legs. Now, Black women in NY are 12 times more likely to die than white women, according to NPR. Williams was able to discuss the trauma of her birth experience from the safety of her living room, but many other American women, especially those also of color, nearly certainly would not have had the same experience. It's so important to hear that this happens to everyone.

Even for white and wealthy women, pregnancy can be a unsafe condition.

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