You should have known something was up the moment you saw Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) at the top of Thursday night’s Grey’s Anatomy episode, “It's Raining Men.” The Grey Sloan Memorial boss was sweating and gasping for air in a way that on a show like Grey’s Anatomy means some curveball of a diagnosis is ahead. By the midpoint of “Raining Men,” the ABC medical show appears to show its cards, as Bailey constantly yells about being too warm. Your brain is meant to instantly jump towards the most obvious conclusion: hot flashes. Menopause.
But this is Grey’s Anatomy. The biggest twists aren't truly solved until the very last second — and the latest Bailey revelation isn’t any different. Because Bailey isn’t merely facing menopause. Bailey is pregnant.
We get our first clue Bailey would be facing a surprise medical reveal when she demands a full blood panel from Maggie Pierce (Kelly McCreary). On a show like Grey’s, a blood panel is a perfect narrative tool to reveal a breadth of diagnoses that aren’t obvious to the eye. If “Raining Men” only had to announce Bailey is in the beginning stages of menopause, both she and Maggie wouldn’t need to emphasize the results of a full blood panel will be divulged by the close of the episode. The would just talk about checking a few very specific hormone levels.
At the time, it seems most likely Maggie will learn that Bailey is harboring some new, terrible illness. But that’s just because Grey’s can be a punishing show for its inhabitants.
The close of “Raining Men” assures us we need to have no such concerns about Bailey’s heath. In the final scene of the installment, Maggie shows up to Bailey’s office to inform her of blood panel findings. Yes, Bailey is perimenopausal. However, she is also pregnant. “Your beta-HCG isn’t lying,” Maggie says, name-checking a hormone released early in pregnancy. “You can be perimenopausal and still shed eggs.” Bailey, still wiping away sweat from her hot flashes, is aghast.
If you’re starting to feel like Grey’s Anatomy is more obsessed with pregnancy than ever before, you’re not wrong. Last year’s season 15 used the initially secret pregnancy of Teddy Altman (Kim Raver) to up the stakes on the Teddy-Owen Hunt (Kevin McKidd)-Amelia Shepherd (Caterina Scorsone) love triangle. At that time, Owen and Amelia were also adjusting to being co-parents to baby Leo, the biological son of Betty Nelson/Britney Dickinson (Peyton Kennedy), a young teen battling addiction issues. The first few episodes of season 16 confirm Amelia is also now pregnant and expecting a baby with Atticus “Link” Lincoln (Chris Carmack). That means Grey’s would be dealing with three baby-related storylines at minimum during the 2019-2020 season (Teddy’s difficulty adjusting to motherhood is already a great consistent B-plot).
Bailey’s unexpected pregnancy now brings that baby narrative count up to four.
However, it’s currently unclear whether the on-again, off-again chief will continue on with her pregnancy. She looks exhausted and upset over the pregnancy news at the close of “Raining Men” rather than excited. After all, Bailey already has a teen son named Tuck (BJ Tanner). Tuck is already at the age when his stepdad Ben (Jason George) had to have a serious talk with him about consent last season. Plus, Bailey is dealing with ever increasing work pressures and heart issues. The entire reason Bailey even found out about her pregnancy is because she asked Maggie, an expert cardiologist, to ensure a bombshell story from Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) hadn’t given her a repeat heart attack. Bailey may not want to go through pregnancy all over again while also perimenopausal.
We’ll find out next week, with season 16's fifth episode “Breathe Again,” what Bailey will decide. That is if, as trailers tease, she can keep Ben awake long enough to tell him she’s pregnant.