Until one day, the (ridiculously-handsome) father of the baby visited his child in the NICU, and the nurses told him he could take the baby out of the incubator and hold it if he wanted to. After holding it for awhile, the medical staff noticed the baby's vitals were improving. One doctor suggested to the father that he take his shirt off, and hold the child skin-to-skin, as he had heard that often gave preemies a boost.
There was a picture of that dad, shirtless, holding his itty-bitty infant against his chest. It was an image that stuck with me.
The father spent hours every day doing exactly that, as his child became stronger and beat the odds. Several months after pre-maturely arriving into this world, the couple were allowed to take their healthy baby home. The doctors credited the baby's miraculous rally to the hours spent in its father's arms, snuggled against his chest. The skin-to-skin contact, and the father's heartbeat, were the reason they said the baby began to thrive on its own.
It was a story I've never forgotten, so you can imagine my delight when I got to see it played out last night on Grey's Anatomy.
In last night's episode, a pregnant woman was in a car accident, and her baby actually had a stroke in the womb. They performed an emergency C-section to deliver the pre-mature baby, but after working on the child endlessly, it was deemed that it would not survive.
You all know how much I absolutely adore the hot-but-troubled Dr. Alex Karev. In recent episodes, Alex has been more troubled than usual. He married Izzie last season at the height of her battle with cancer, and in earlier episodes this season, Izzie returned to work, only to be fired after Seattle Grace's merger with Mercy West Hospital. She left Alex, and nobody has seen or heard from her since.
Kinda makes for an even-more-hostile-than-usual Alex.
But that's the beauty of Alex. Despite his crusty, edgy, brutal exterior attitude, inside we've seen glimpses of a big softie. Especially when it comes to Izzie. And especially when it comes to him working in Pediatrics. He's had a knack with the little ones since the first season. He never fails to melt my heart when he's dealing with the kiddies.
But last night, it was extra-special. After fighting to save the baby's life, he'd given up. So he picked the baby up, knowing it didn't have a chance, and murmured, "You're not alone...I'm here...you're not alone..."
Bailey found him a while later, still holding the child, and they realized that the baby's vital signs were actually improving. She remarked that Alex was holding the baby Kangaroo-style, and she had heard of cases of preemies beginning to thrive when the parents held them like that. She encouraged Alex to take off his shirt, and see if the skin-to-skin, heart-to-heart contact would also help.
No complaints from me. The studly Justin Chambers, shirtless, holding a baby? Holy cow.
And, of course, it worked. Alex never left the baby. He stayed there, half-naked, while the rest of the doctors teased & made fun of him. But Alex knew the mother, recovering from her car accident injuries, was unable to be with her child, so he stuck with it. He had nowhere else to go - with Izzie gone, Alex is so lost and alone. And he bonded with that little baby, also lost and all alone.
It was a bittersweet moment when they wheeled the mother in to meet her baby for the first time, and Alex had to hand the infant over. Thanks to him, the baby survived, but it had a mother who loved it and was ready to take over. Alex, on the other hand, still has no idea where Izzie is, and he's still all alone and fighting to make it through each day without crumbling...
Definitely one of my favourite Grey's episodes, ever.
There was one other special moment - a heart-wrenchingly sad moment - during this episode that was centred in the Peds ward. When Arizona lost a long-time patient of hers, a little boy named Wallace, and had to bring his parents to the morgue to see him one last time - well, that scene just about ripped my heart out. It truly captured the horrorific grief a parent feels after losing a child.
It's a place one should never have to go.
OK, so I've rambled about Grey's long enough now...but at least it's a blog, right? On two consecutive days. A miracle all on its own!
Have a good weekend :)