Serena Williams heads into the US Open women’s singles final today just over a year after experiencing serious complications following the birth of her daughter, Alexis Olympia.
The youngster was born via an emergency C-section on September 1, 2017, but shortly afterwards Williams had to undergo surgery for a second time after suffering both a pulmonary embolism, a clot which blocks the flow of blood in the lungs, and a hematoma, a swelling of clotted or clotting blood under the skin
Earlier this year Williams, 36, told People magazine that realising she was going to have to have a c-section had made her feel “devastated”. She said: “I think every woman, a part of them, wants to have birth naturally and feel that…when you ‘get a c-section it’s different’.”
Williams said she was overcome with relief once Alexis was born, but as it turns out Serena also had another reason to be nervous.
Williams has a history of blood clots, and after finding herself suffering from shortness of breath, she alerted medics.
During a fit of intense coughing caused by a pulmonary embolism, her c-section wound then opened up again.
The 23-time Grand Slam winner had to undergo another operation shortly afterwards for a large hematoma in her abdomen.
After returning home, Williams was forced to be bedridden for six weeks so her body could recover, something she has said was very hard due to her having a little baby who wanted her mother.
Williams, who married Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian in December 2016, has previously told how she found out she was pregnant just before she won the 2017 Australian Open.
She also told how she feared the birth complications may have put an end to her top-flight tennis career.
Speaking about her daughter in HBO documentary series Being Serena: “For so many years, I defined myself in just one way: by success, by championships, by making history. And then, all of the sudden, my life changed forever.
“It wasn’t part of any plan to have this happen, not while I was still on top. But two years ago, I met this man, almost out of nowhere.
“We fell in love, and then, this unthinkable surprise. I can’t believe how much went wrong on my way to meeting her. I almost died.”