Tennis Star Serena Williams Confesses She Nearly Died after Giving Birth to Daughter


Before Serena Williams was a tennis star, she was a little girl who played with dolls. She grew up into an adult who has the talent, determination, fame, and success that many only can dream of achieving.

But there was still one dream that had not yet been fulfilled until recently. Williams wanted to be a mother.

The public found out in April 2017 that Williams and her now-husband Alexis Ohanian were expecting a baby. Williams had accidentally uploaded a photo of herself showing off her 20-week bump on her public Snapchat story.

She had an easy pregnancy. During labor, the baby’s heart rate dropped, which led to an emergency cesarean section.

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Ohanian cut the cord. Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. was born, and she was beautiful.

The newborn baby was placed on Williams’ chest. Those first moments with her daughter were unforgettable as baby Olympia’s cries stopped once she felt her mother’s presence.

Williams told Vogue, “That was an amazing feeling. And then everything went bad.”

Because of her history of blood clots, the new mother was alarmed when she experienced shortness of breath a day later. The surgery altered her daily anticoagulant regimen, leading her to think the worst.

Williams knew it was another pulmonary embolism, but her concerns were initially brushed off. Finally, a CT scan revealed blood clots in her lungs.

The pulmonary embolism led to coughing, which led to even more serious medical issues. Williams’ C-section wound opened because of her cough.

Her abdomen also flooded from a large hematoma. To prevent more clots from traveling to her lungs, a filter was inserted into her vein during yet another operation.

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Williams was able to go home after those scary trips to the OR during her hospital stay. Not only did Williams have to heal physically and emotionally from life-threatening events following the C-section, but she also needed to bond and care for her daughter.

“No one talks about the low moments — the pressure you feel, the incredible letdown every time you hear the baby cry. I’ve broken down I don’t know how many times,” Williams shared with Vogue.

Fortunately, Williams has received plenty of support from friends and family, including her husband and mother. Despite the trauma of Williams’ postpartum recovery, she has found a reduction in the anxiety she used to feel about tennis matches now that her daughter is here.

Williams said, “Knowing I’ve got this beautiful baby to go home to makes me feel like I don’t have to play another match. I don’t need the money or the titles or the prestige.”

She clarified that she still wants them, but doesn’t need them. Thankfully, baby Olympia has the mother she needs after a few scares that could have taken Williams’ life.

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Carolyn Fultz is a former contributor for Liftable Media. She holds a B.A. in Communication from Hope College.
Carolyn Fultz is a former contributor for Liftable Media. She holds a B.A. in Communication from Hope College. Carolyn's writing has been featured in both online and print media, including Just Between Us magazine. She resides in Phoenix with her husband and children.
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