Serena Williams Shares C-Section Complications From Baby Alexis Olympia's Birth in HBO Docuseries

In the weeks leading up to their first child's birth, Serena Williams and husband Alexis Ohanian had everything mapped out. She would deliver the baby naturally. She'd done the breathing techniques and labor-practicing with her doula. She was 36, in tip-top shape and her baby was developing just fine. Despite the general new-mom jitters, she was prepared to give birth.

But some 14 hours after going into labor, things took a turn for the worse. Her daughter's heart rate plunged when Williams started having contractions, causing her and Ohanian to make an impromptu decision to get a C-section. Although the procedure went well—with Williams and Ohanian welcoming their baby girl, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., into the world on September 1, 2017—the tennis star was plagued with life-threatening complications in the days that followed.

Her journey, the nerve-rattling delivery, the surgeries that followed and the grueling road to recovery, serve as the focal point of Williams' upcoming docuseries, Being Serena. The five-episode series premieres on HBO on Tuesday night at 10 p.m. ET.

Since she gave birth, Williams has been open about the health complications she faced following the arrival of her daughter. In a January interview with Vogue, the 23-time Grand Slam winner revealed she developed blood clots in her lungs following the C-section that resulted in a six-day medical crisis. Fans will be able to see Williams' battle for themselves as the docuseries depicts a bed-ridden Williams struggling to breathe just one day after giving birth.

Then her C-section wound re-opened, brought on by the coughing spells from the blood clots. She needed an immediate surgery to close the wound and correct the lung clot, called a pulmonary embolism. That was followed by another surgery, where doctors inserted a filter into one of Williams' veins to prevent more clots from developing and traveling to her lungs.

I'm going to be doing a Twitter Q&A tomorrow in honor of the premiere of my HBO series, Being Serena. Send me your questions with #BeingSerena!

— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) May 1, 2018

Aside from the scary moments Williams faced—all caught on camera—the docuseries also captures intimate moments between Williams and her baby, like the first time Williams and her daughter laid eyes on each other and the first time Williams held Alexis Olympia in her arms, minutes after she was pulled from her womb. There are also the sweet moments between Williams and her husband, as well as the days leading up to their New Orleans wedding in November 2017.

The show will also follow the four-time Olympic Gold Medalist's journey back onto the tennis court post-pregnancy, showing how she became the woman with the most female singles match victories in Grand Slam history.

Williams is slated to make her grand return to the tennis circuit to compete in her first Grand Slam of the year at the 2018 French Open in May.