When news first surfaced that Serena Williams and her new husband/Reddit founder, Alexis Olympia Ohanian, had their baby on September 1, 2017, many wondered why they were being so secretive about it. For a couple who’d documented their pregnancy on social media, it seemed kinda strange to many fans that they suddenly shelled up with the details of their daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian, Jr..
Little did any of us know at that time, Serena was fighting for her life following the birth of their precious baby girl. It wasn’t until September 13, twelve days after giving birth, that Serena and baby surfaced with online pics. And although the tennis champ eventually revealed that she had “complications” during pregnancy, she’s just now revealing how traumatic those “complications” really were.
Serena’s Reveal About How She Almost Died After Birth
In a new commentary on CNN, Serena has now revealed that she almost died 24 hours after birthing her baby. For six days after giving birth, she endured the scariest moments and emergency surgeries of her life:
Serena Williams: “I almost died after giving birth to my daughter, Olympia. Yet I consider myself fortunate. While I had a pretty easy pregnancy, my daughter was born by emergency C-section after her heart rate dropped dramatically during contractions. The surgery went smoothly. Before I knew it, Olympia was in my arms. It was the most amazing feeling I’ve ever experienced in my life. But what followed just 24 hours after giving birth were six days of uncertainty.”
Serena then explained how a pulmonary embolism almost claimed her life:
“It began with a pulmonary embolism, which is a condition in which one or more arteries in the lungs becomes blocked by a blood clot. Because of my medical history with this problem, I live in fear of this situation. So, when I fell short of breath, I didn’t wait a second to alert the nurses.”
Then, matters only got worse over the course of the next few days:
“This sparked a slew of health complications that I am lucky to have survived. First my C-section wound popped open due to the intense coughing I endured as a result of the embolism. I returned to surgery, where the doctors found a large hematoma, a swelling of clotted blood, in my abdomen. And then I returned to the operating room for a procedure that prevents clots from traveling to my lungs. When I finally made it home to my family, I had to spend the first six weeks of motherhood in bed.”
I am so grateful I had access to such an incredible medical team of doctors and nurses at a hospital with state-of-the-art equipment. They knew exactly how to handle this complicated turn of events. If it weren’t for their professional care, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Serena Asks For Your Help
Even though Serena understands that she was “fortunate” to have the medical services provided to her, she’s not turning a blind eye to the fact that millions of women -in particular Black women- are at a greater risk of losing their babies:
“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, black women in the United States are over three times more likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes … Around the world, thousands of women struggle to give birth in the poorest countries. When they have complications like mine, there are often no drugs, health facilities or doctors to save them.”
Williams is asking everyone to donate to UNICEF and other organizations dedicated to saving the lives of the 2.6 million newborns who die each year from mostly preventable illnesses:
“You can donate to UNICEF and other organizations around the world working to make a difference for mothers and babies in need. In doing so, you become part of this narrative — making sure that one day, who you are or where you are from does not decide whether your baby gets to live or to die.” -Serena Williams
Much love to Serena for sharing her story and using her popularity to raise awareness about this horrific problem. We sincerely hope that she is successful in her mission to save millions of lives.