PALM BEACH GARDENS — Local celeb and tennis sensation Serena Williams has revealed to Vogue that she suffered complications in connection with the September 1st birth of her daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., resulting in an emergency c-section and other medical measures.
Williams, 36, chose to undergo the c-section when her daughter’s heart rate began dropping during the delivery.
The procedure was successful and Williams gave birth to a healthy daughter, but things went downhill from there. The following day, the Palm Beach Gardens tennis pro had shortness of breath and worried that she could have developed blood clots.
As it happens, she was right: Doctors—who had initially pulled Williams off of her anticoagulant meds before the birth—found that she had indeed developed a number of clots in her lungs.
Williams was put on a drip in response, though the mending cut from her c-section subsequently opened from repeated coughing and the blood thinners that were helping her began working against her as blood filled her abdomen.
Doctors dealt with each crisis as it occurred, and Williams ultimately had a filter inserted in a vein as a countermeasure against clots entering her lungs. Beyond that, the prescription was to rest and take things easy, which was possibly the toughest part for the hard-working pro.
The newly-minted Dad struggled with the adjustment as well.
“I was happy to change diapers, but on top of everything she was going through, the feeling of not being able to help made it even harder,” Serena’s husband Alexis Ohanian told Vogue.
The revelations of the various health crises explain Serena’s absence from social media after the birth, a time when most new parents post picture after picture. The famed athlete began making the public rounds again in the middle of October as she and Ohanian began planning their wedding in earnest.
Williams expressed that she’s since bounced back, though, and was working through the new challenge of being a mom.
“Sometimes I get really down and feel like, ‘Man, I can’t do this,’” she said. “It’s that same negative attitude I have on the court sometimes. I guess that’s just who I am.”
Williams suspects her mood swings are exacerbated by feelings natural to moms shortly after giving birth.
“No one talks about the low moments—the pressure you feel, the incredible letdown every time you hear the baby cry,” she expanded. “I’ve broken down I don’t know how many times. Or I’ll get angry about the crying, then sad about being angry, and then guilty, like, Why do I feel so sad when I have a beautiful baby? The emotions are insane.”
In addition to the normal pressures first-time parents endure, the celebrity Mom and Dad are sensitive to the special challenges of raising a child as a high-profile couple.
“She’s obviously going to have a very special life, but there are enough cautionary tales about kids who grow up in the spotlight,” Ohanian said. “How do you make your kid live in reality when your own reality is so … unreal? This kid is going to have more Instagram followers than me in about three weeks.”
He may not be wrong; not even a year old yet, the couple’s little girl already has 203,000 Instagram followers!
It may have been a somewhat rocky entry into the world, but the youngest Ohanian seems to be doing very well now.