Sarah Drew On Giving Birth Early; What’s Next For April On ‘Grey’s’

Sarah Drew delivered her daughter prematurely in December, just hours after filming her character’s (Dr. April Kepner) birth scene on “Grey’s Anatomy.”

“It was a big, long 10-hour work day of doing the labor and delivery scene on the show. And, I went home, it was 8 PM and at 6 AM, I woke up with a really intense contraction three-and-a-half weeks early, so didn’t think I was in labor,” the actress told Access Hollywood Live‘s Billy Bush and Kit Hoover on Wednesday. “I just sort of thought maybe it was Braxton Hicks or whatever, so I like did taxes at my desk and once in a while I would lean over the table and then went in at 4:30. And at 6 AM the next morning, Hannah came.”

Sarah told Billy and Kit that it took a while for her to be convinced she was really in labor so far ahead of her due date.

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“I was sure that I was crying wolf,” she said. “I mean, up until the point that I was fully admitted, had the IV in my arm, I’m still saying to my husband, ‘My doctor’s gonna come in and say, ‘Go home and come [back] when you’re really in labor.” But he’s like, ‘Sarah, you are the textbook case of a person in labor. You are in labor. You’re having this baby today.'”

While little Hannah is now doing “great,” according to her mom, Sarah told Billy and Kit that her baby girl had a rough start.

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“She had a lung infection and so she had to be put on antibiotics. She was in the NICU for 11 days, which was really hard. It was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through,” Sarah recalled. “Being discharged without your baby is sort of the worst thing in the world and you don’t really — with a NICU baby — you don’t have time to recover. You don’t have the like nap when the baby naps and put your feet up because you’re running to and from the hospital to try to breastfeed and then try to see your son [Micah] at home as much as you can and then run back. My feet were swollen for like, you know, 10 straight days.”

Just three days after finally bringing her baby home (two weeks after giving birth), Sarah told Billy and Kit that she had to report back to the set of “Grey’s Anatomy” to film scenes.

“Well, I wasn’t supposed to have my like maternity break until January, but she came early, so I had two scenes I had to shoot two weeks after she was born,” Sarah explained. “So, I went in on her two week birthday.”

Sarah’s TV baby was also born with complications – an illness called Osteogenis Imperfecta. She and TV husband Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams), are awaiting a more detailed diagnosis on their newborn’s medical condition in upcoming episodes.

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“Where we left off, we know that the baby has Osteogenesis Imperfecta, but we don’t know what type it is. OI is a condition where the baby’s bones are really brittle. It’s also called brittle bone disease and so there are different types,” Sarah explained to Billy and Kit. “There’s some types that are totally manageable, they’re manageable disabilities and there are some types that require surgery after surgery after surgery after surgery, and then, there’s one type that’s absolutely fatal. Babies [with] type 2, [their] bones break in utero and they’re in a lot of pain, and so… as parents, if you’re diagnosed with a type 2 OI baby, you have to make the really heartbreaking awful decision of do I deliver early, do I terminate? If the baby’s in pain, how do I parent this child the best way that I can in the time that I’m given? So, it’s pretty heartbreaking.”

Sarah told Billy and Kit that the “trauma” Dr. Kepner faced made her better equipped to handle her own real life challenges after giving birth to daughter Hannah.

“Having just been through something so emotionally difficult on the show almost prepared me, prepared my body in a weird way to go through what I had to go through with Hannah in the NICU,” Sarah told Billy and Kit. “It was so strange and I never would have thought that that would be the case, but my body kind of had gone through this trauma and then I was faced with something hard and I was equipped for it.”

“Grey’s Anatomy” airs Thursdays at 8/7c on ABC.

Paige Feigenbaum

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