Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian Jr.

From a Scary Delivery to a Happy Ending


LOS ANGELES (People) — Alexis Ohanian is reflecting on the moment he almost lost his wife, Serena Williams, and their daughter.

The Reddit co-founder shared a photo from Williams’ Vogue photo shoot on Instagram Thursday with their 4-month-old daughter Alexis Olympia, and began his caption with a sweet note, writing, “This one is going on the desk at work.”

Ohanian, 34, continued, “I can’t imagine life without these two,” referring to Vogue’s February cover story in which Williams, 36, described her difficult experience giving birth to her first child and the subsequent major health complications which followed

Alexis Ohanian and his wife Serena Williams

Ohanian continued, “This ordeal, as well as the weeks and months after, has made me an even bigger advocate for paid parental leave (not just for my employees — men & women alike — but for all). We’re blessed in a lot of ways and I couldn’t imagine a new parent going through all of that without all the support, financial security, and flexibility we had.”

Williams revealed to Vogue that her plummeting heart rate reached dangerously low levels during contractions, leading to an emergency cesarean section.

Though the surgery went well, what followed was a six-day battle with a pulmonary embolism that led to multiple surgeries and a handful of additional medical troubles for Williams.

Get the Mirror in your inbox:

“That was an amazing feeling,” Williams recalled of having a crying newborn fall silent when laid on her mother’s chest seconds after birth. “And then everything went bad.”

Symptoms of Williams’ problems began the day after her daughter’s birth, as Williams experienced sudden shortness of breath while recovering in the hospital.

Having had blood clots in the past and because she wasn’t taking blood thinners due to her c-section, she knew that the breathing problems she was experiencing were due to another pulmonary embolism and immediately told the nearest nurse (between gasps for breath) that she needed a CT scan with contrast and IV heparin.

The nurse, however, thought Williams was just feeling confused from her pain medication. Instead, doctors performed an ultrasound of her legs, which ultimately revealed nothing.

“I was like, ‘A Doppler? I told you, I need a CT scan and a heparin drip,’” Williams remembers.

When they finally listened, the CT turned up several small blood clots, which had settled into her lungs. “I was like, ‘Listen to Dr. Williams!’ ” she jokes as she was put on the blood thinner drip.



Get the Mirror-Spectator Weekly in your inbox: