Tennis superstar Serena Williams says she suffered major complications during the birth of her daughter, Alexis Ohanian Jnr.
The tennis champion told Vogue that “everything went bad” during labour.
According to the athlete, her daughter was born by emergency C-section after her heart rate dove dangerously low during contractions.
The next day, while recovering in the hospital, Serena suddenly felt short of breath.
The star has a history of blood clots and was off her daily anticoagulant regimen – which she uses to thin out the blood.
Due to her inability to breath, Serena immediately assumed she was having another pulmonary embolism.
According to Vogue, she walked out of the hospital room and while gasping for breath, told a nurse that she needed a CT scan with contrast and IV heparin (a blood thinner) right away.
The nurse thought her pain medicine might be making her confused but Serena insisted.
The doctor didn’t find anything in the ultrasound and so they sent her to the CT, which revealed several small blood clots had settled in her lungs.
But it was just the beginning of a six-day ordeal. Her fresh C-section wound popped open from the intense coughing spells caused by the pulmonary embolism.
Returning her to surgery, the doctors found that a large hematoma had flooded her abdomen. The blood thinner had caused hemorrhaging at the site of her C-section.
She returned yet again to the operating room to have a filter inserted into a major vein, in order to prevent more clots from dislodging and traveling into her lungs.
Serena came home a week later and spent the first six weeks of motherhood bedridden.
Her husband, Alexis, said: “I was happy to change diapers but on top of everything she was going through, the feeling of not being able to help made it even harder. Consider for a moment that your body is one of the greatest things on this planet, and you’re trapped in it.”
Serena said the first couple of months of motherhood were a great test.
“Sometimes I get really down and feel like, Man, I can’t do this,” she says.
“It’s that same negative attitude I have on the court sometimes. I guess that’s just who I am. 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. Or I’ll get angry about the crying, then sad about being angry, and then guilty, like, Why do I feel so sad when I have a beautiful baby? The emotions are insane.”
Williams recently pulled out of the Australian Open which starts Monday.