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Zola Grey Shepherd

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Zola Grey Shepherd
Biographical information


  • Zo
  • Zo Zo
  • My favorite little niece (by Lexie)
  • Zola Limbani
  • Little Miss Zola (by Richard)
Family information
Character information
First appearance

White Wedding


GA: 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11

Portrayed By
I was holding her yesterday, and she was crying and then she stopped. And I've held a lot of babies, I've fixed a lot of babies. But, I looked down at Zola, and I don't know what it was, but I just couldn't imagine her being with any other parent or with any other family. We've been trying so hard to start a family, and she needs one. Let's adopt her. I'm serious, let's adopt her.
Derek, is that our baby?" "Yes. Yes it is.

Zola Grey Shepherd, born Zola Limbani, is Meredith Grey and Derek Shepherd's daughter.


Health ProblemsEdit

Zola was born with spina bifida. She came to Seattle from Malawi when she was six months old to have brain surgery. ("White Wedding")

After she had recovered from her brain surgery, she had a second surgery to repair a hernia. Arizona Robbins said it was an uncomplicated hernia, so it was an easy fix. ("I Will Survive")


She first arrived at Seattle Grace Mercy West thanks to Alex Karev's Africa Project. Derek was the first one to take a shine to her, because when he was holding her to examine her, she stopped crying and Alex remarked that she liked him. Later that day, he suggested the adoption to Meredith and she agreed. They started to fill out the adoption paperwork and came to the question that asked if they were married. Derek then proposed they get married. They went to the courthouse and got married and then skipped Callie and Arizona's wedding reception to go back to the hospital to spend time with Zola. ("White Wedding")

Meredith and Derek were granted temporary custody of Zola not long after Derek found out that Meredith had tampered with his trial to ensure that Adele Webber got the active agent. However, Meredith brought her home alone, because Derek was mad at her. She told Zola that she had a plan for the day she came home, but nothing went according to the plan. She told Zola she was very glad she was there and they'd figure it out together. ("Unaccompanied Minor")

Two weeks later, Zola was taken away from them due to Meredith being fired and lying to the social worker about the status of their marriage. ("She's Gone")

While in foster care, Zola came into the hospital because her shunt was malfunctioning and that caused an intestinal blockage.

She underwent a major surgery performed by Alex Karev and Arizona Robbins. Meredith and Derek were disraught, but they could not see her because the adoption was still under examination.

When Alex finally told them the surgery had gone well, Meredith burst into tears and Derek finally forgave her for what happened with the clinical trial.

Later that night, they sang a lullaby to her over the phone while Cristina Yang was taking care of her at the hospital.

Later, Meredith and Derek got a hearing to try to regain custody. This was probably thanks to Alex tracking down the judge and telling him that Meredith and Derek were the best possible parents for Zola.

Despite this, not long after that phone call, the social worker told Meredith that since their hearing had been cancelled, they were probably not going to get custody.

However, the following morning, she brought Zola to Meredith and Derek's and told them that the baby was theirs and they had full custody.

Zola saves Meredith and EllisEdit

Zola, Bailey and Meredith moved to San Diego temporarily after Derek died. Meredith was pregnant with a new baby. Around the time she was due, Meredith's water broke on the kitchen floor. She tried to act like everything was all right, but she fell down and was going into labor. Zola saw the blood and asked if she should call 911. This reminded Meredith of the time her mother slit her wrists and bled out in front of her. Her mom then told Meredith not to dial 911 yet. Despite remembering that event, Meredith told Zola to call 911, and she was taken to a hospital. The social worker the hospital asked Zola if she was the "smart girl who knew how to call 911" and Zola nodded. ("She's Leaving Home")


Zola was a very happy baby and seemed to love everyone, especially Derek, who later adopted her along with Meredith. She is also smart like her mother, knowing how to call 911 when Meredith had a placental abruption.



Zola quickly bonded with Derek after he and Meredith decided to try to adopt her. Meredith bonded with her as well, but more slowly.


She and Sofia Robbin Sloan Torres are friends.

Notes and TriviaEdit

  • Zola seemed to be very close to her loving aunt, Lexie, and started to bond with her very quickly after Meredith and Derek adopted her.
  • She started to walk shortly after being returned to Meredith and Derek, to the great delight of her parents. "(This Magic Moment)"
  • She turned one not long after that. Her parents threw a big party in their house and many doctors of SGMW attended. Meredith made a cake for her and wrote on it: Yay Zola! However, during the party, Meredith and Derek decided to cancel the 'Zola' part and they offered the cake to Richard Webber in order to have him celebrate his 10,000th surgery. Among the other gifts, Zola received a dress from Mark Sloan and his girlfriend. "(Hope for the Hopeless)"
  • She really likes her toy giraffe. Meredith first mentions this when Janet had to take her, "(She's Gone)" Then, Meredith tries to have her walk by handing the giraffe to Derek so that she would try to reach it. "(This Magic Moment)"
  • While her parents are at work, she spends her time in the daycare at the hospital; her mother said to Dr. Ben Warren that she likes it very much.
  • Sometimes her parents bring her to the gallery to watch surgeries and she seems to enjoy it.
  • Her godmother is Cristina Yang.
  • She was born with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus. This caused her to undergo several surgeries. One of them was performed by her father.
  • She has a bumble bee costume, which she wore after vomiting on all her other clothes when she was sick.
  • According to Meredith, Zola is very good at getting people to submit to her will, seeing as how she got Derek to wear a princess crown at a tea party. ("Do You Believe in Magic")
  • She is left-handed. ("Map of You")
  • She dressed as a butterfly for Halloween.
  • Derek stated that Zola likes to stick things up her nose. ("Change of Heart")
  • When her father asked her what she wanted from Washington, DC, she responded "a car".



Grey's Anatomy, Season 7

White Wedding · I Will Survive · Unaccompanied Minor

Grey's Anatomy, Season 8

Free Falling · She's Gone · Love, Loss and Legacy · Suddenly · This Magic Moment · Hope for the Hopeless · If/Then · All You Need is Love · If Only You Were Lonely · The Lion Sleeps Tonight · Support System · The Girl with No Name · Moment of Truth

Grey's Anatomy, Season 9

Going, Going, Gone · Remember the Time · I Saw Her Standing There · Beautiful Doom · This is Why We Fight · Can't Fight This Feeling · Do You Believe in Magic · Perfect Storm

Grey's Anatomy, Season 10

Seal Our Fate · I Want You With Me · Everybody's Crying Mercy · Puttin' on the Ritz · I Bet It Stung · Map of You · Thriller · Do You Know? · I'm Winning · Change of Heart

Grey's Anatomy, Season 11

Puzzle With a Piece Missing · Where Do We Go From Here · The Bed's Too Big Without You · When I Grow Up · How to Save a Life · She's Leaving Home · Time Stops

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