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Tennis Star Opens Up About Scary Child Birth Ordeal, Shares Thoughts About Challenges Black Moms Face When Giving Birth

Tennis star Serena Williams was ready to have a baby, and was delighted by her pregnancy. Most of the nine months went smoothly, but the athlete faced a terrifying ordeal when she faced complications in childbirth.

She's a survivor, though, and she and her baby girl have come through like champs. She recently opened up to Vogue about her ordeal, and about the challenges that black women face in childbirth.

Williams says she seemed to sail through her pregnancy, much to her relief. She had previously suffered from pulmonary embolisms that sidelined her for a year in her career, and when she was contemplating having a baby she worried about them coming back.

It looked like all was going well until just before her daughter, Olympia, was ready to be born.

Williams ended up having an emergency C-section because her heart rate dropped to dangerously low levels during contractions. After the surgery, she thought the worst was over, but the problems had only just begun.

Williams began feeling short of breath in the hospital the next day, and she recognized the feeling.

A nurse came in to check on Williams, and the new mom told her she 'needed a CT scan with contrast and IV heparin (a blood thinner) right away'. Because of the surgery, she wasn't taking her daily anticoagulant medication, and she feared that she was suffering from another blood clot.

The nurse thought Williams might be confused and called for the doctor. The doctor performed an ultrasound on her leg, but Williams demanded the CT scan again.

It turns out she was right. There were several small clots in her lungs.

“I was like, listen to Dr. Williams!” she joked to Vogue.

The post-natal problems weren't over, though. Coughing spells caused Williams' C-section incision to pop open. She had to be rushed back into surgery, where the doctors found a large hematoma in her abdomen.

Blood thinners used to treat blood clots unfortunately can also cause hemorrhaging.

Days later she had to go back into surgery to have a filter inserted into a vein to prevent more blood clots.

When she finally got home, she had to spend six weeks in bed. Making matters worse, the night nurse she hired fell through.

It's been a really tough road for the tennis star.

Now, two months later, she and Olympia are doing much better. Williams is even looking forward to getting back on the tennis court.

She wants to beat the current Grand Slam victory record of 24, held by Margaret Court. Williams is at 23, so she needs only two more.

But she's settling nicely into motherhood. “We’re not spending a day apart until she’s eighteen,” Williams says.

“Now that I’m 36 and I look at my baby, I remember that this was also one of my goals when I was little, before tennis took over, when I was still kind of a normal girl who played with dolls."

Williams feels lucky to have come through her trying ordeal after giving birth. She's a firm believer that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

She's also happy to share the experience if it'll help others.

“I didn’t expect that sharing our family’s story of Olympia’s birth and all of complications after giving birth would start such an outpouring of discussion from women – especially black women – who have faced similar complications and women whose problems go unaddressed," she said.

“EVERY mother, regardless of race, or background deserves to have a healthy pregnancy and childbirth," says Williams.

Source: Parenting Isn't Easy, Vogue
Photo: E! News, YouTube

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