Serena PRESENT medical condition AFTER HER Retirement….CRIES OUT FOR HELP

Serena PRESENT medical condition AFTER HER Retirement....CRIES OUT FOR HELP

How Serena Williams Saved Her Own Life

My body has belonged to tennis for so long. I gripped my first racket at age 3 and played my first pro game at 14. The sport has torn me up: I’ve rolled my ankles, busted my knees, played with a taped-up Achilles heel, and quit midgame from back spasms. I’ve suffered every injury imaginable, and I know my body.

When I found out I was pregnant two days before the 2017 Australian Open, my body had already switched allegiances. Its purpose, as far as it was concerned, was to grow and nurture this baby that had seemingly materialized, unplanned. Being pregnant wasn’t something I could tell Alexis over the phone; I told him to fly out to Melbourne right away. When he got here, I handed him a paper bag filled with six positive pregnancy tests I had taken all in one afternoon.

Of course, being pregnant didn’t mean I couldn’t play tennis. I was scheduled to compete at eight weeks along. I wasn’t sure how the Open would go; during training, I was getting more fatigued between points. Each morning—and I’m not a morning person to begin with—I was still determined to play fast and hard before the Melbourne heat socked me. I won seven matches, all in straight sets.

Since I’ve had my baby, the stakes of the game have shifted for me. I have 23 Grand Slams to my name, more than any other active player. But winning is now a desire and no longer a need. I have a beautiful daughter at home; I still want the titles, the success, and the esteem, but it’s not my reason for waking up in the morning. There is more to teach her about this game than winning. I’ve learned to dust myself off after defeat, to stand up for what matters at any cost, to call out for what’s fair—even when it makes me unpopular. Giving birth to my baby, it turned out, was a test for how loud and how often I would have to call out before I was finally heard.

“Giving birth to my baby, it turned out, was a test for how loud and how often I would have to call out before I was finally heard.”

Let’s go back to the beginning. My first trimester brought headaches and a weird metallic taste in my mouth, but all in all, I had a wonderful pregnancy. I guess I’m one of those women who likes being pregnant; I enjoyed the positive attention. I’m used to getting negative attention from the press and critics, but this was different. I settled into a whole new way of being. I was relaxed not playing: my life was just sitting at home, and it was wonderful. I still had plenty of work to do, but my focus narrowed to keeping myself healthy for the baby.

Don’t ask me why, but I was obsessed with having the baby in September, so I put off the doctors when they wanted to induce me in late August. I finally went in on August 31, and they inserted a little pill inside of me to get things going. Contractions started shortly after that, and it was great! I know that’s not what people are supposed to say, but I was enjoying it, the work of labor. I was completely in the moment. I loved the cramps. I loved feeling my body trying to push the baby out. I wasn’t on an epidural; to get through it, I was using my breath and all the techniques I’d learned from birth training (I had taken every birthing class that the hospital had to offer).

By the next morning, the contractions were coming harder and faster. With each one, my baby’s heart rate plummeted. I was scared. I thought I should probably get an epidural, but I was still okay with the work so I didn’t. Every time the baby’s heart rate dropped, the nurses would come in and tell me to turn onto my side. The baby’s heart rate would go back up and everything seemed fine. I’d have another contraction, and baby’s heart rate would drop again, but I’d turn over and the rate would go back up, and so on and so forth.

“Being an athlete is so often about controlling your body, wielding its power, but it’s also about knowing when to surrender.”

Outside my birthing room, there were meetings going on without me—my husband was conferencing with the doctors. By this point, I was more than ready for the epidural, but after 20 minutes, the doctor walked in, looked at me, and said, “We’re giving you a C-section.” She made it clear that there wasn’t time for an epidural or more pushing. I loved her confidence; had she given me the choice between more pushing or surgery, I would have been ruined. I’m not good at making decisions. In that moment, what I needed most was that calm, affirmative direction. Since it was my first child, I really wanted to have the baby vaginally, but I thought to myself, “I’ve had so many surgeries, what’s another one?” Being an athlete is so often about controlling your body, wielding its power, but it’s also about knowing when to surrender. I was happy and relieved to let go; the energy in the room totally changed. We went from this intense, seemingly endless process to a clear plan for bringing this baby into the world.


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