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Grey’s Anatomy has doled out some pretty harrowing storylines over the years. Plane crashes, deaths, hospital shooters and freak storms are just the beginning of the tragedies that have gone down in the halls of the hospital formerly known as Seattle Grace.

But in terms of recent tragedies, it was Season 11’s story line involving April Kepner (Sarah Drew), Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams) and their unborn baby that stuck with us. When the baby was diagnosed with Osteogenesis Imperfecta type 2 — a brittle bone disease that basically ensured the baby wouldn’t live past a year and would suffer from constant pain — April and Jackson had to induce early labour and say an excruciatingly painful goodbye.

Cue the tissues, right?

As it turns out, the person who may have been most affected by that entire story line was Sarah Drew herself. That’s because while she was playing a pregnant woman, the actress was pregnant herself.

“It took 10 hours to shoot the labour, delivery death scene. And then I went into premature labour 10 hours after that,” she tells us. “I got home and then the next morning went into labour and my baby was born four weeks early.”

According to the actress her daughter Hannah had to spend two weeks in the NICU, a memory that stuck with her and came back at random intervals while she was playing the character’s second (way healthier) pregnancy during this most recent 12th season.

“I kind of carried and held it for a while and then it reemerged again as I was playing this other story line,” she explains. “It would hit me at other times in surprising ways. I would remember the trauma and how hard that was. But it’s all part of telling good beautiful, truthful stories and that’s pat of why I love doing what I do.”

Of course in real life, Drew didn’t need to have a harrowing emergency c-section on her friend’s kitchen table, either. But now that Kepner has managed to get through that particular story line, the actress is hopeful that things between her character and her ex-husband/baby daddy Jackson may finally get back on track.

Sarah Drew, Grey's Anatomy

“As long as they’re alive there’s always hope. And now they have every reason to get back together — they have a baby together. Plus they just went through another crazy trauma and we saw the way they cared for each other through that,” Drew says. “At this point April is recovering from a really traumatic event with a newborn and regardless of whether they wind up getting back together romantically I have to think we’re going to see Jackson just really be all about taking care of her. Coming alongside of her and lifting her up in this time. So yeah, I always have hope for those two.”

We do too. Well, that is if Jackson’s mom Catherine (Debbie Allen) can stay out of the way long enough. In the meantime, we’re hoping another one of Kepner’s onscreen relationships — her friendship with Arizona (Jessica Capshaw), will also get back on track when the show returns for Season 13 this fall.

“I love that friendship but they definitely have hurt each other in pretty big ways this season, so that’ll be an interesting friendship to explore,” Drew says. “We’ll see how they navigate those waters and how they emerge from that. But I think the audience loves that friendship, so I hope and I’m guessing we’re going to see more of it.”

As for Arizona’s ex, Callie (Sara Ramirez), even Drew admits she was shocked by the actress’s sudden departure at the end of Season 12 and says that she knew about the exit when fans did.

“We got an email about it right as right before they announced it on Twitter, so it was definitely a huge surprise to everybody,” she says. “It’s so sad! I’m going to miss her so much. But as she said in her tweets, I don’t think this is the end for Callie, I think she’ll come back. I hope she’ll come back.”

So do we Sarah, so do we.

 

Grey’s Anatomy returns this fall to CTV.