'Singing Doctor' Who's Delivered Over 8,000 Newborns Gives Each a Heartfelt Welcome

Dr. Carey Andrew-Jaja
YouTube/UPMC

Throughout his 40-year medical practice, Dr. Carey Andrew-Jaja has performed a special tradition to welcome the 8,000 newborns he's delivered into the world: He sings to them after they've arrived. That sweet tradition is why the beloved "singing doctor" is being honored by the city of Pittsburgh, which declared a special day in his honor as his career comes to a close.

  • Andrew-Jaja explained that his habit of singing to the babies he delivers was handed down to him by an older OB-GYN.

    Andrew-Jaja has been a practicing obstetrician-gynecologist for over 40 years at the UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital in Pittsburgh and had made a name for himself by a sweet gesture he's offered the over 8,000 babies he's delivered, according to CBS News. The doctor sings to them, sometimes "Happy Birthday" and other times "What A Wonderful World," but he always welcomes the little ones into the world with a song.

    "To me, it's a wonderful thing in my hand, the miracle of life," he said in YouTube video posted by the hospital. "And the rest of is that it's a beautiful world we live in. We forget about all the crisis going on everywhere for a moment when you see that miracle of life in front of you."

    Andrew-Jaja admitted he didn't originate the idea of singing to his babies. "I like to sing. But this particular part of singing to babies started when I was a resident. There was a gentleman, an older obstetrician-gynecologist on staff, and he loved to sing. And later on when he was about to retire, he asked me, 'Andy, do you sing to your babies?' And I said, 'Well, no. It's your stuff,'" he said.

    "And he said, 'Go ahead, do it.' So, I took it over. He passed on the baton to me," he continued. "And I took it over and I started to sing to my babies ever since then and I do it every time."

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  • The doctor finally retired from his practice at the end of June, but that hasn't stopped him from bringing cheer to patients at the hospital.

    Although Andrew-Jaja retired from medicine at the end of June, he'd technically stopped delivering babies a few years ago. But he would still see his OB patients and sing them a tune, CBS News reported.

    One recent patient, Lindsay Grimes, was one of the last new moms to be serenaded by the doctor, and it happened June 16, reported People.

    “He has the most beautiful voice and, of course, he includes their name and ends the song with ‘Welcome to our beautiful world, Luella,’ which brought me to tears, because it is such a beautiful world,” Grimes told Good Morning America.

    The doctor explained that singing to his newborns helps him form a connection to the baby and the family.

    "Each of them is an individual," he said. "You know, I've delivered thousands and thousands of babies. When I'm singing to those babies, I think I'm singing to a future important person. That's the credit I give to all of them."

  • Before he finished in June, Andrew-Jaja's reputation as the beloved "singing doctor" had gotten so big the city decided to name a holiday in his honor.

    On May 16, Pittsburgh honored the doctor by declaring it “Jaja Day” as an effort to celebrate his career and to thank him for his many years of service.

    “There’s a joy when people perform this way to honor the baby, the parents,” he said of the honor. “I’m happy that the city recognized that.”

    Most likely, Andrew-Jaja's legacy will continue. "There are still patients that refer to their child as a 'Jaja baby,' so that speaks for itself," Dr. Richard Beigi, president of UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital, told Good Morning America.

    Now that he's about to enter retired life, Andrew-Jaja said his plans will include lots of family, writing music, and traveling. "There is a grandchild waiting for me to play with me, to play my beard," he said.

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