Serena Williams Gave Birth, Then 'Everything Went Bad'

She spent week in hospital due to blood clots
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2018 5:03 AM CST
Serena Williams Gave Birth, Then Things Got Scary
Serena Williams is seen during an exhibition match at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi on Dec. 30, 2017.   (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

Serena Williams won't be defending her Australian Open title next week, for good reason. She's still bouncing back from complications from childbirth, which left her bedridden for six weeks, she tells Vogue. Williams, who appears on the February cover of the mag, says "everything went bad" a day after daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. was born via emergency C-section on Sept. 1. Williams began to feel short of breath and, with a pulmonary embolism in her history, asked for a CT scan. Doctors didn’t listen at first, but a scan eventually revealed several small blood clots in Williams' lungs, and she was given a blood thinner. That in turn caused hemorrhaging at the site of her wound, which opened in a coughing fit. Williams would undergo an additional surgery to insert a filter into a major vein before the week was up. Says now-husband Alexis Ohanian, "Consider for a moment that your body is one of the greatest things on this planet, and you’re trapped in it."

Now eying a March return to tennis, Williams seems in a better place, at least mentally. There are "low moments," but "when I'm too anxious I lose matches, and I feel like a lot of that anxiety disappeared when Olympia was born," she says, per People. "I'm so glad I had a daughter," Williams adds. Women are "sometimes taught to not dream as big as men" but "I want to teach her that there are no limits." She'll start on the court. While she imagines eventually becoming a full-time mom in San Francisco, she says "not yet." Currently at 23 Grand Slam victories, the 36-year-old is aiming for a record-breaking 25. Just don't expect her daughter to follow suit. "I would hate her to have to deal with comparisons or expectations. It's so much work, and I've given up so much," she says. "I don't regret it, but … I'd like her to have a normal life." (More Serena Williams stories.)

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