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Warning: Spoilers ahead! You may want to stop reading now if you haven't seen this week's episode.
The latest episode of “This Is Us” found the entire Pearson family gathered at the hospital as doctors tried to save Kate and Toby’s baby. And of course, heart-wrenching drama ensued.
Kate, only 28 weeks along into her pregnancy, ended up in the hospital after her water broke in last week's episode. Doctors fought to stave off labor to give the baby more time to develop, but they could hold back the inevitable only for so long.
Kate ended up having an emergency C-section and gave birth to a son.
“I want to name him Jack,” she later told Toby as they peered at their tiny baby, attached to tubes helping him breathe inside an incubator.
The episode hit home for many viewers familiar with spending countless days, even months, inside in the neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU. Social media lit up with similar personal experiences. Parents shared photos of their own premature babies — and of the same children years later as healthy teens and adults.
Other viewers shared that they were once in the same scenario as baby Jack.
“You both absolutely knocked it out of the park. I’m a preemie myself I was born at 25 weeks. That scene just brought me back to what my parents must’ve felt after I was born. I’m 23 now,” wrote one viewer.
The tweets prompted Chrissy Metz, the actor who plays Kate, to respond warmly to several of the posts.
The show’s executives have been trying to keep the medical parts of each storyline as realistic as possible, said “This Is Us” executive producer Isaac Aptaker.
“We will be spending a good portion of the rest of our season dealing with these story lines for Kate and Toby,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “Just like in real life, if this happened it would be all-consuming, so it is the same way for our characters on the show.”
Aptaker also said naming the baby after his late grandfather was a no-brainer.
“Yeah, in the writers’ room, we were like, ‘Oh, people are going to see this coming, everyone expects it.’ But then we were like, ‘But at the same time, what else is this woman going to name her son? Of course she’s going to name him Jack,’” he said.
“We even entertained Jackson and Jake and kind of similar, derivative names. And it came down to, just, nope — Kate would name her baby Jack. There’s no way around it.”