Here’s When Each of Meredith’s Kids Were Born on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

Meredith juggles being a single mom and working her award-winning career as a doctor at the center of Grey’s Anatomy each week.

She doesn’t have to do it alone though. Currently she has the help of her half-sister Maggie Pierce and sister-in-law Amelia Shepherd, along with a slew of friends, most notably Alex Karev.

But many fans, especially those that haven’t been with the show since the beginning, may wonder where her three kids came from.

Since she’s not currently married and the show doesn’t make mention of Derek as often as it used to, it’s no surprise some fans don’t know much about the backstory of each of Meredith’s kids.

Here’s the low down on each of her kids and when they first appeared on Grey’s Anatomy.

Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey
Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey | Tony Rivetti/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

Derek and Meredith’s kids

Each of Meredith’s three kids come from her relationship with Derek Shepherd, whom she was with since the show premiered, at least on some level, and whom she eventually married (albeit on a post-it-note).

In Season 6’s finale, episode 24, Meredith had a miscarriage from all the stress of the events of the episode, losing her first child with Derek. This would lead to struggles in their relationship as they dealt with infertility.

Season 8: Zola Shepherd

Zola first appeared toward the end of season 7 as a six-month-old orphan who was part of a group of patients traveling from Africa. She was being treated for Spina Bifida.

Derek was her doctor and ended up falling in love with her, then suggesting to Meredith that they adopt her. There were a lot of things that stood in the way of it becoming official, like Meredith putting Derek’s Alzheimer’s trial in jeopardy when she swapped Adele Weber’s placebo for the trial drug.

Eventually, though, the social worker and court granted the adoption, and Zola officially became a Shepherd in Season 8.

Season 9: Bailey Shepherd

At the end of season 9, Meredith gave birth to their first son. She first kept the pregnancy a secret, fearing she’d miscarry again, and only told Derek. She didn’t even tell Christina Yang, her best friend.

She shared the news with Derek early in the season by buying a shirt for Zola that said ‘World’s Best Big Sister.’ The timing was special because it was just a few months after Mark Sloan, Derek’s best friend, died (in the season premiere).

Of course, she didn’t miscarry, but that doesn’t mean things went smoothly. She gave birth during a superstorm without any power. Bailey ended up in the NICU, and Meredith ended up suffering from a massive hemorrhage.

In stepped Miranda Bailey, who eventually saved Meredith’s live. Bailey’s name is officially Derek Bailey Shepherd, and he gets his name from the doctor who helped save his mom.

The one that Derek never knew: Ellis Shepherd 

This pregnancy might have been unplanned, and the audience sure didn’t see it coming. That’s because it came on the heels of Derek’s death.

He died during one of the final episodes of Season 11, and in the following episode, Meredith took the kids and left home.

It turns out that she was pregnant with Derek’s child, a girl that would later be named Ellis, after her mom. She left because she didn’t think she could do it all again and didn’t want people to tell her how to mourn Derek’s death.

In the end, though, Alex was by her side, and she eventually came home with Ellis and the other kids in tow.

Ellis was still born out of love, although sadly, Derek never got to meet her. Meredith still saw Derek in Ellis, though, and Meredith makes sure the kids know who their dad was.