Serena Williams Talks Near-Death Experience After Giving Birth

She identified her own symptoms and told doctors what to do.

Photos from Serena Williams and baby Alexis Olympia’s shoot for the February issue of Vogue swept the internet yesterday, but along with the stunning images came a very alarming story of a health scare that followed her daughter’s birth. Despite the tennis champ’s smooth pregnancy, Alexis was born via emergency C-section after her heart rate dove dangerously low during contractions.

However, all went well and both mommy and baby were healthy and happy. She says in her interview with Vogue that it was the next day while in recovery when her history of blood clots came a knockin’ and put her in a potentially life-threatening position.

Serena fell short of breath and, because she was off her anticoagulant regimen due to the pregnancy, and because she basically lives in fear of blood clots, her mind immediately jumped to pulmonary embolism.

Read what happened next below:

“She walked out of the hospital room so her mother wouldn’t worry and told the nearest nurse, between gasps, that she needed a CT scan with contrast and IV heparin (a blood thinner) right away. The nurse thought her pain medicine might be making her confused. But Serena insisted, and soon enough a doctor was performing an ultrasound of her legs. ‘I was like, a Doppler? I told you, I need a CT scan and a heparin drip,’ she remembers telling the team. The ultrasound revealed nothing, so they sent her for the CT, and sure enough, several small blood clots had settled in her lungs. Minutes later she was on the drip. ‘I was like, listen to Dr. Williams!’”

Dr. Williams is right! Serena basically saved her own life and we’re completely convinced that there’s nothing this woman can’t do. The trauma didn’t end there. While she was still hospitalized, her fresh C-section wound popped open from intense coughing spells due to the pulmonary embolism and when docs were stitching her back up, they found a large hematoma had flooded her abdomen. From there, the tennis champ officially began her road to recovery a week later at home.

All we can say is Serena is a fighter and we wouldn’t mind one bit if the tennis champ took a break from the court to pursue a doctorate. She obviously knows what she's talking about!

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