Serena Williams Reveals the Story Behind Her Dramatic Baby Delivery

"It was an amazing feeling...then everything went bad.”

Tennis legend Serena Williams and Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian welcomed their first child into the world last September, and for the first time Williams is opening up about the scary medical experience she had while giving birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.

Despite a seemingly easy nine months of pregnancy (Williams was so careful she would ask 34-year-old Ohanian if she could eat a marshmallow), Williams reveals her daughter was born by emergency C-section after the baby's heart rate dropped dangerously low. The delivery went great, but it was afterwards with Williams herself when everything took a turn for the worse. “It was an amazing feeling...then everything went bad.”

According to her interview with Vogue, Williams suffers from a history of blood clots. The day after her daughter was born she felt a shortness of breath and feared she was having a pulmonary embolism (that's medical speak for when arteries in the lungs become blocked by a blood clot). She told the nurse her medical history, and suggested a CT scan ASAP. Instead, the nurse gave her an ultrasound.

“I was like, a Doppler? I told you, I need a CT scan and a heparin drip,” Williams said to the team of nurses. They finally did the CT, and sure enough, there were several blood clots in her lungs. “I was like, listen to Dr. Williams!”

As if it hadn't already been a traumatic experience for Williams, her C-section wound then broke open due to the intense coughing she was experiencing from the clots. When they did the surgery, they found a large hematoma had flooded her abdomen, and they would have to perform ANOTHER surgery.

Thankfully, all went well and she was able to come home a week later.

Rachel Epstein

Rachel Epstein is a writer, editor, and content strategist based in New York City. Most recently, she was the Managing Editor at Coveteur, where she oversaw the site’s day-to-day editorial operations. Previously, she was an editor at Marie Claire, where she wrote and edited culture, politics, and lifestyle stories ranging from op-eds to profiles to ambitious packages. She also launched and managed the site’s virtual book club, #ReadWithMC. Offline, she’s likely watching a Heat game or finding a new coffee shop.