Serena Williams Opens Up About Near-Death Experience
23-time grand slam champion Serena Williams has revealed that she ‘almost died’ shortly after giving birth to her first child in September.
In an article written for CNN, the former world No.1 reflects upon the aftermath of welcoming the arrival of her daughter Olympia. Williams had previously spoken about the complications, but she has shared more details about the events that left her bed bound for six weeks.
“I almost died after giving birth to my daughter, Olympia. Yet I consider myself fortunate.” Williams wrote.
After experiencing a relatively straightforward pregnancy, the problems began shortly after Williams had a C-section. A surgical procedure used to deliver babies. Shortly afterwards, it was discovered that she was suffering from a pulmonary embolism (a blocked vessel in her lung). Following on from that, her stitching from the c-section opened back up. Whilst doctors went to repair the stitching, it was later discovered that she also had a hematoma (swelling of clotted blood) in her abdomen.
“First my C-section wound popped open due to the intense coughing I endured as a result of the embolism. I returned to surgery, where the doctors found a large hematoma, a swelling of clotted blood, in my abdomen. And then I returned to the operating room for a procedure that prevents clots from traveling to my lungs.”
Reflecting upon her experience, the 36-year-old has praised the medical care she received. Candidly saying that she would have died if it wasn’t for them.
“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.” She said in a tribute.
“If it weren’t for their professional care, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Williams has written about her ordeal in a bid to generate more support to mothers and their children in the developing world. The 36-year-old also highlighted that black women are three-times more likely to die from childbirth in the USA, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Around the world, thousands of women struggle to give birth in the poorest countries. When they have complications like mine, there are often no drugs, health facilities or doctors to save them.” She writes.
“If they don’t want to give birth at home, they have to travel great distances at the height of pregnancy. Before they even bring a new life into this world, the cards are already stacked against them.”
At the end of her article, Williams urged others to donate to charities such as UNICEF to help mothers and babies around the world.
Williams started her return to the tour earlier this month at the Fed Cup. Partnering sister Venus in the doubles, the duo lost in straight sets. She is set to make her return to the WTA Tour in March at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.