Grey's Anatomy: Sarah Drew's season 8 premiere preview

Sep 22, 2011 at 10:56 a.m. ET

When Grey's Anatomy kicks off season 8 tonight, Meredith and Derek are on the outs, Cristina and Owen are locked in baby drama and everyone's mad at Alex. In the midst of all this, part of Seattle is swallowed by a sinkhole. Can April hold it together on her first day as chief resident? Sarah Drew (April) gives SheKnows the scoop, and talks pregnancy.

The last season of Grey's Anatomy was all about the chief resident job. With Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) in trouble and Alex (Justin Chambers) the one who turned her in, bubbly April ended up landing the gig. Tonight, Grey's Anatomy returns to ABC with a two-hour premiere, and April has one doozy of a first day.

Grey's Anatomy Premiere Preview

"Poor April," Sarah Drew sighed. "She comes to her first day as chief resident with color coded charts and agendas. She's ready to take over… But a huge part of being a chief resident is wrangling all the residents, and nobody's willing to be wrangled by April, which leads to a big disaster."

See more Grey's Anatomy premiere photos >>>

April has her hands full trying to keep the hospital on track after a sinkhole swallows up part of Seattle and her residents need to be on their game, but as always, there's quite a bit of personal drama to distract from the job at hand.

Meredith is facing the consequences of tampering with Derek's (Patrick Dempsey) clinical trial, making things tense both at home and at work; while everyone gives Alex (Justin Chambers) the cold shoulder for turning her in. Cristina (Sandra Oh) and Owen (Kevin McKidd) are still at odds over Cristina's sad decision to have an abortion, and Avery (Jesse Williams) is still coming up short as a doctor.

This all spells trouble -- and we haven't even gotten to some of the senior doctors or the new interns! With careers and relationships hanging in the balance, the questions becomes: Who will sink and who will shine?

April Kepner: Pregnant Virgin?

Drew recently announced her pregnancy, setting off a flury of speculation: As Grey's fans know, her character April is a virgin. It was a close call, but it turns out Seattle Grace won't be the site of an immaculate conception.

Sarah Drew will hide her baby bump

Instead, the show will be hiding her baby bump with baggy scrubs, beefy files and medical trays. That's the easy part.The hard part? Trying to keep up with April's go-getter energy!

"I don't have the stamina I'm used to having," Drew admitted. "My first day back, I exhausted myself in the hair and makeup trailer saying hello to everyone, so I'm pacing myself. I'm like, 'Guys, I'm sorry. I'm just not who you're used to right now.' That has to be enough, because I'm growing a tiny human inside of me."

Truth be told, the Grey's Anatomy crew doesn't need Drew to explain. There's clearly something in the water at Seattle Grace, which is why executive producer Shonda Rhimes wasn't surprised by Drew's news.

"The first thing Shonda said was, 'I knew it! I knew one of you was going to come back [from hiatus] pregnant,' because I'm the fourth in a row," Drew explained. "She then stood up and said, 'Whatever I can do. We're here for you and we're so excited.' She was so amazing I started crying."

Since dropping her baby news, Drew has been fielding tips from Ellen Pomeo, Jessica Capshaw (Arizona) , Chyler Leigh (Lexie) and just about every other mommy she comes across. Of course, the tips often conflict, but she enjoys hearing them.

"It's one of the most exciting things you do in your life, so I understand why people are passionate about it," she said. "If you've been through it and come out the other side with this great way of doing things, you want to share it. They're excited because they have the answer, and what's great is, no one has been super judgemental."

Drew can't use the diaper and breastfeeding tips yet, but Pompeo gave her a morning sickness trick.

"She said to make a big thermos of fresh, homemade ginger tea -- just cut up ginger and boil it for awhile – and then bring it to work and sip on it all day," Drew shared. "I did that and it made all the difference. It helped so much."

The Grey's Anatomy premiere, Free Falling / She's Gone, airs Thursday, Sept. 22, starting at 9.

Sneak Peek

Images: ABC /