I’ve watched Grey’s Anatomy since season one. I was utterly addicted for the first few seasons – speaking during my Thursday night drama viewing was completely unacceptable.
I remained loyal even through the Dead Denny Duquet story line. (Which was absolutely ridiculous, and bumped the show from Must See TV to Must Watch At Some Point After DVRing. What can I say? Grey’s has McDreamy and McSteamy, I have my McStreamy.)
This season’s major plotline is Callie’s pregnancy. (It involves a whole nightime soap arc of a lesbian lover who slept with a friend while the significant other was in Africa, but now the three of them each have a vote in how the kid will be raised plus Callie’s “very special vagina vote,” but for the purposes of this post, let’s just stick with the fact that Callie’s pregnant.)
Last night was the Big Musical Episode. I’ll admit, it sounded cheesy – but I was dying to watch it. I should have known – beneath the sing-songy gimmick, was the viability of a 23-week gestation baby.
Babies reach preliminary viability at 24 weeks. (I know I said I was going to stop talking about preemies in my New Year’s post, but I lied. This is a cause close to my heart.) Doctors made it clear within the first 10 minutes of the episode that the baby had not received any steroids to help strengthen the lungs. And, as labor was a result of a car accident, it was a traumatic birth (as though the birth of a micro-preemie is anything other than traumatic in any circumstance).
The show portrayed doctors working on the premature infant – a doll that merely looked like a grayish baby doll with closed eyes. It appeared to be the length of the crash cart. In reality, the child should have been beet red due to blood coursing beneath her translucent, paper-thin skin. The doctors working on the tiny baby would have been able to hold her stick-thin body in the palm of their hand. There would not have been the suggestion of intubation, glossed over by the fact the little one had a heart beat and would survive.
The newly arrived baby girl is 1 pound 1 ounce (482 grams). By comparison, our 27-week muppets were 964 grams. According to the NICHD (National Institutes of Health – Child Development) Neonatal Research Network, a baby born at that age and size has a 14 percent chance of survival.
- Survival: 14%
- Survival Without Profound Neurodevelopmental Impairment: 9%
- Death: 86%
- Death or Moderate to Severe Neurodevelopmental Impairment: 95%
I watched the entire episode – numb with remote in hand. I couldn’t tell you what songs they sang in the Big Musical Episode, the volume was nothing more than white noise rushing through my ears. The tears in my eyes blurred the actors, replacing my vision with images of someone placing Search in front of me for mere seconds before whisking him away. I remembered the strain in my neck as I craned to watch Destroy’s isolette wheeled from the OR.
The promo for next week shows Callie recovering from the accident; spoilers claim her wedding will be May 5. Will Grey’s Anatomy depict the heartache and heartbreak of giving yourself wholly over to the new normal of prematurity? Or will the writers take the easy way out and gloss over the triumphs and tragedies via offhand comments in the wings, while returning to more mundane interaction between the doctors. Next Thursday just became Must See TV.