The birth of a child is an amazing experience, one no one who has experienced it first hand will ever forget. But it can also be a scary one, both mentally and physically. For Serena Williams, that experience was life threatening.
In a story on CNN.com, Williams described how she almost died while giving birth to daughter Olympia Ohanian.
While I had a pretty easy pregnancy,” said Williams, “my daughter was born by emergency C-section after her heart rate dropped dramatically during contractions.
The surgery went smoothly. Before I knew it, Olympia was in my arms. 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.
It began with a pulmonary embolism, which is a condition in which one or more arteries in the lungs becomes blocked by a blood clot. Because of my medical history with this problem, I live in fear of this situation. So, when I fell short of breath, I didn’t wait a second to alert the nurses.
This sparked a slew of health complications that I am lucky to have survived. 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. When I finally made it home to my family, I had to spend the first six weeks of motherhood in bed.
The tennis star went on to describe how Black women in the U.S. are three times more likely to die from pregnancy and childbirth-related causes, and how it’s a serious issue throughout the world. But she wants women to not only be informed about these statistics, but to also be prepared and help resolve this issue.
“Every mother, everywhere, regardless of race or background deserves to have a healthy pregnancy and birth. And you can help make this a reality.” said Serena, who encouraged people to work with organizations like UNICEF and with their health care providers and governments for better education, care and treatment.
“Together, we can make this change. Together, we can be the change.”
Spoken like a true Champion.