BY DORCAS ISEOLUWA OLAWALE
Serena Williams is a professional tennis player, businesswoman and UNICEF goodwill ambassador. The Tennis magnate Serena Williams gave birth to her daughter Olympia almost 6 months ago and now, the multiple Grand Slam winner has opened up about the complications she faced after giving birth and this experience has made her raise her voice to advocate for women across the globe.
In an essay for CNN Opinions published on Tuesday, Williams wrote
“I almost died after giving birth to my daughter, Olympia. Yet I consider myself fortunate.
While I had a pretty easy pregnancy, 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.
I am so grateful I had access to such an incredible medical team of doctors and nurses at a hospital with state-of-the-art equipment. They knew exactly how to handle this complicated turn of events. If it weren’t for their professional care, I wouldn’t be here today.”
She explained that women around the world struggle to give birth in poor countries where they often have no drugs or doctors to save them when complications arise.
UNICEF says 80 percent of the nearly 2.6 million newborn deaths around the world each year are due to preventable causes, She notes. But she points out there is a solution.
“You can demand governments, businesses and health care providers do more to save these precious lives. You can donate to UNICEF and other organizations around the world working to make a difference for mothers and babies in need,” she said. “In doing so, you become part of this narrative ― making sure that one day, who you are or where you are from does not decide whether your baby gets to live or to die.”
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