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

Jelena Ostapenko last year became the youngest women's grand slam champion since Maria Sharapova

Jelena Ostapenko last year became the youngest women's grand slam champion since Maria Sharapova

The drama began when Serena was rushed to have an emergency c-section after daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.'s heart rate plummeted during contractions.

According to Vogue, Alexis Ohanian, the happy father and co-founder of Reddit, cut the cord, and Olympia was laid on her mother's chest."And then everything went bad", Williams, 36, told Vogue in an interview confirmed by her publicist.

Serena Williams, who is undoubtedly extremely familiar with her body's needs, was doubted by the people who should put her well-being above all.

But then, Serena says, everything went terribly wrong.

The next day, off the "anticoagulant regimen" medication, the 23-time Grand Slam victor began to gasp as she recovered in her hospital room. When doctors finally gave her a CT scan, it revealed that she did indeed have blood clots in her lungs, causing the shortness of breath. Not wanting to worry her visiting mother, Williams stepped into the hall and flagged a nearby nurse, insisting that she needed an IV with heparin, a blood thinner, and a CT scan to check for clots.The nurse believed that medications might have befuddled Williams, Vogue says, but a doctor arrived - only to perform an ultrasound, and not the CT scan that Williams believed she needed. "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.

She was given a drip, but her cough caused complications to her C-section. "I've started to play more consistently", she said. And the night nurse she had planned to hire had fallen through.

The new voices around the 29-year-old German should inject some fresh life and confidence into a player who wants to archive 2017 and never revisit. In the United States, her number is classified in our maternal death statistics, but in many other countries, it would not have been. But why does giving birth increase a woman's risk of blood clots? Her story is a reminder that women, all women, are their own strongest advocates.

Recently in Washington DC two maternity wards closed, which public health officials fear will endanger the lives of low-income women in the city. In fact, a woman's risk of blood clots is about four to five times higher when she is pregnant, compared with when she's not pregnant, said Dr. Saima Aftab, medical director of the Fetal Care Center at Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami, who is not involved with Williams' care. Even bad-ass women like Serena. As a follow-up several months later, ProPublica and NPR published a host of similar tales of near-misses from educated women who nearly died due to pregnancy complications. I'm well aware of the record books, unfortunately. The pregnancy went very well for the 23-time Grand Slam champion, but she developed complications both during and following the birth. 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.

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