Serena Williams' Childbirth Health Scare
It seemed like Serena Williams had a fairytale end to 2017.
Giving birth to a beautiful baby girl, Olympia, then marrying the love of her life Alexis Ohanian in an intimate ceremony.
But behind the scenes Serena had been struggling with a number of health complications after childbirth.
The 36-year-old opened up about the horrific ordeal in an extended interview with Vogue, whereby she also posed with her newborn daughter on the cover.
Olympia was delivered via emergency c-section after the baby's heart rate dipped dangerously low during active labour.
Thankfully the c-section went exactly to plan and Alexis was in the room ready to cut the umbilical cord.
Olympia's cries reportedly stopped as soon as she had skin to skin contact with her mum and everything seemed right.
“That was an amazing feeling,” Serena said.
“And then everything went bad.”
Williams has a history of blood clots, so when she was met with a shortness of breath she immediately recognised the symptoms.
Off her normal medicine and not wanting to worry her mother, she immediately notified the nurse on duty that she was likely having a pulmonary embolism, demanding a CT scan with contrast and an IV heparin.
While it took a few moments for the nurse to take her seriously - they initially thought the pain medication could have been causing confusion - she was soon whipped away for a leg ultrasound.
“I was like, a Doppler? I told you, I need a CT scan and a heparin drip,” Williams recalls telling the medical team.
“I was like, listen to Dr. Williams!”
And sure enough, after a CT several small blood clots were discovered on her lungs and she was put on a drip.
The nightmare hardly ended there.
The pulmonary embolism caused severe coughing, which made her fresh c-section scar to open.
Then in surgery to repair the wound, doctors found a large hematoma and flooded her abdomen.
Turns out the blood thinner that ultimately saved her life had caused hemorrhaging in her abdomen.
The doctors were quick into action but it led to Williams sending another week in hospital.
But wait, there's more.
Serena and Alexis' night nurse was no longer available, meaning the responsibility of caring for his recovering wife and a fresh newborn fell onto Alexis and Alexis alone.
“I was happy to change diapers,” Alexis says, “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.”
Six weeks of bed rest was ordered for Williams, which no doubt took its toll, emotionally.
“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.”
Serena's mother moved to Florida to help out where she could - and it seems everything has fallen into place since.
This hurdle hasn't slowed the tennis champion down by any means...
After the wedding, Serena was gearing up to return to tennis in the Australian Open, and while her medical bungle has pushed her tennis return back to March, that's not the only thing on her plate.
She is also debuting a new clothing line in March, and is investing in the entrepreneurial tech ventures of women from African American backgrounds.
Add to that her philanthropic work and you'd be forgiven for forgetting that she also has a newborn at home.
As for her future in tennis? Expect to see a more ambitious and more focused Serena on the court.
I mean, she's just two Grand Slams off winning more than any other woman in history.
"Maybe this goes without saying, but it needs to be said in a powerful way: I absolutely want more Grand Slams," she said.
"I’m well aware of the record books, unfortunately. It’s not a secret that I have my sights on 25.
“And actually, I think having a baby might help. When I’m too anxious I lose matches, and I feel like a lot of that anxiety disappeared when Olympia was born.
"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.
"I want them, but I don’t need them. That’s a different feeling for me.”
Dear Mom, You are one of the strongest women I know. I was looking at my daughter (OMG, yes, I have a daughter 😳) and she has my arms and legs! My exact same strong, muscular, powerful, sensational arms and body. I don't know how I would react if she has to go through what I've gone through since I was a 15 year old and even to this day....