Serena Williams said she “almost died” after giving birth to her daughter Olympia last September, according to a column the tennis star wrote for CNN and published on Tuesday.
Williams, who hasn’t played since announcing her pregnancy with now husband Alexis Ohanian, wrote that her pregnancy was “pretty easy” but complications started when her daughter had to be delivered by an emergency C-section after the child’s heart rate dropped dramatically during contractions.
“Before I knew it, Olympia was in my arms,” Williams wrote. “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.”
Williams said she suffered with a pulmonary embolism, a condition she suffered with in the past, and then her C-section wound came open due to the intense coughing caused by the embolism.
“I returned to surgery, where the doctors found a large hematoma, a swelling of clotted blood, in my abdomen,” Williams wrote. “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.”
Williams told Vogue magazine last month now that the crisis is behind her, she is looking forward to returning to the tennis court in an attempt to surpass Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam titles. She currently has 23. She believes her daughter can help.
“When I’m too anxious I lose matches, and I feel like a lot of that anxiety disappeared when Olympia was born,” Williams told Vogue. “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.”
Williams’ last Grand Slam title came during the 2017 Australian Open, coincidentally when she learned she was pregnant with her daughter, Forbes reported.
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