Grey's Anatomy's Saddest Episode Yet: What's Next for April and Jackson After That Heartbreaking Choice

After crying forever, we got the scoop from Sarah Drew on what's coming on the ABC medical drama

By Sydney Bucksbaum Feb 13, 2015 2:00 AMTags
Grey's Anatomy, Sarah Drew, Jesse WilliamsABC/Adam Taylor

Stop what you're doing right now and give a round of applause to Sarah Drew and Jesse Williams. (Warning, spoilers ahead!)

Their absolutely devastatingly beautiful and tragic work on tonight's episode of Grey's Anatomy has reduced us to a puddle of mascara-tinged tears, and we couldn't be more impressed at the levels of pain, sadness and hope the two portrayed as married couple April and Jackson found out their baby had type 2 osteogenesis imperfecta—aka a fatal bone disease—and made the decision to induce labor early, and hold their son for the few moments he lived, and then said goodbye...all in a matter of minutes.

No, we're not crying, you're crying!

As if that storyline wasn't already so gutwrenchingly devastating, it turns out executive producer Shonda Rhimes got the idea from Drew herself.

"The way they resolved it was actually my pitch," Drew tells E! Online. "This story happened to friends of my parents. They were pro-life and they discovered their baby was type 2 and its bones were breaking and it was in pain. They made the heartbreaking decision to deliver the baby early; they induced, they held their baby, they named their baby, they baptized their baby and they buried their baby, giving it the dignity of life it deserves."

Drew was proud of how Grey's Anatomy handled the delicate and painful subject matter, as April and Jackson worked together to make their choice.

ABC/Adam Taylor

"It's all a question of how do you want to parent your baby," Drew says. "Do you want to give it love for as long as you can? Do you let it stay in pain? Or let the baby's pain end? It's so hard and there are different ways to handle this, and the way we did it on the show was so beautiful."

As for how Avery's mother Catherine (Debbie Allen) ended up being the one to put the solution in words that worked for April and her faith, Drew was proud of that even more.

"I loved how Catherine gave April the answer," Drew says. "She knows it's an impossible scenario. There's no way April could do what she needs to, believing what she believes is right. And Catherine offers the best possible way to deal with such a tragedy."

It made sense that one of Grey's Anatomy's saddest scenarios yet would make April, an extremely religious woman, doubt her faith in her darkest hour.

"It's a story I also pitched, actually," Drew says. "I love it because I think that as a person of faith, if you don't have moments of doubt and questioning, I don't think you have a very mature faith or you're just in denial. I don't know how you can look at the world and see the pain in it and not question all of those things. It's an awesome story that feels very real and very authentic."

The inspiration for that crisis of faith storyline came from Drew's own experiences.

"I had moments like that in my life, and I'm a person of faith, where I'm like, ‘Why don't you intervene, God? What is going on? If you're so good and all powerful, why are you allowing this to happen?'" Drew says. "I like exploring that because I think it's honest and vulnerable."

ABC/Adam Taylor

So where does this leave the newlyweds as they grieve their newborn son?

"It's actually going to solidify them as a couple," Drew says. "What I love about the episode that just aired is you really see them coming together and being a team, clinging to each other for dear life as a unit weathering something that is the hardest thing any couple will ever have to go through. I love that the whole episode was about finding hope and finding peace in tragedy. That is a great and wonderful gift."

And we had to ask...will Jackson and April try again to start their family with another baby?

"I don't know!" Drew says with a laugh. "We'll see. I have no idea."

Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.