Meet the 'Singing Doctor' Who Serenades Every Newborn He Delivers (VIDEO)

dr. andrew-jaja with patient and babyCarey D. Andrew-Jaja, M.D. may be an OB/GYN, but he can also add "viral sensation" to his resume now. The cheerful physician has become internationally known since word got out that at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Magee-Women's Hospital in Pennsylvania, he's known as the "singing doctor." For almost 30 years and while delivering more than 8,000 babies, Andrew-Jaja has been welcoming little ones into the world with song. His first choice is usually "Happy Birthday," but he'll also sing other songs by parents' request or pull out one of his "greatest hits" -- like "It's a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong or "Not While I'm Around" from the Stephen Sondheim musical Sweeney Todd -- for newborns and their families after deliveries.

It's a tradition that has touched so many moms and their babies over the years.

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"I will never forget Dr. Andrew-Jaja singing 'Happy Birthday' to my firstborn!" shared one patient named Joann Bolish-Anderson on the hospital's Facebook page. "It's been 19 years, but that heartwarming smile and exuberant personality are still as infectious as the day she was born!"

Another patient named Jennifurr Brazell recalls, "He was to deliver my second daughter, but she came 15 minutes before he got there. Still, he came in to sing to her."

The tradition is one that goes way back -- to Andrew-Jaja's childhood. As he explains to The Stir, "I have always loved to sing, and it was a part of my upbringing. I was in the choir from the time I was about 7-8 years old up through high school. Then, so I wouldn't embarrass myself or shock my friends when I sing, I found a voice teacher in the late '80s to polish me up! I love to sing."

Of course, his love for music wasn't something Andrew-Jaja thought he would be able to incorporate into his medical career -- that is, until his residency, when his attending physician, Frank Arch, M.D., OB/GYN, who he calls a "lovable man," sang to babies occasionally and encouraged Andrew-Jaja to sing in the operating room with him. "So, that made me feel comfortable with the notion," explains Andrew-Jaja. "And when I finished my residency, Dr. Arch was about to retire, and he asked me to take on the tradition." Clearly, Andrew-Jaja ran with his mentor's request! He says he sings for "every single delivery" if he can.

The doctor has also gone to great lengths to brighten his patients' day. He recalls how one Irish patient, who was naming her son Danny, asked him to sing the Irish traditional tune, "Danny Boy." "I had never sung it before, so I went online, looked up the lyrics, memorized it very quickly," Andrew-Jaja explains. "The parents loved it. They had tears in their eyes."

Though that's just one example of many in which parents have shown their gratitude to Andrew-Jaja for his singing, he says he knows it's not just about the singing or the songs themselves. "It's a easy way to connect with people for me," he says. "When you sing to a family, they just feel immediately that you're related, and that they can speak to you about things. It's a good icebreaker. And I see that baby and that mom, who has gone through so much to get through that point, and recognizing that with a song is a beautiful thing. If I picked up a microphone and sang the same songs at a concert, it would have no impact. It is about the baby and the mother. That is what is doing the magic."

Perhaps that's true, but Andrew-Jaja shouldn't sell himself short! It's also his devotion to celebrating the miracle of life through song that is bringing even more beauty and joy into one of the biggest moments in his patients' lives.

Here's a video of Andrew-Jaja in action ...

 

What do you think about Dr. Andrew-Jaja's tradition?


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