Delivering a new baby can be a scary and stressful experience even for the easiest of deliveries.
For women who delivered under Dr. Carey Andrew-Jaja’s watch over the last 40 years, though, the entire experience was just a little bit less daunting thanks to his stellar reputation—and for the babies he delivered, their first moments were always especially sweet.
Andrew-Jaja, an OB/GYN who spent four decades delivering newborns at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, finally decided to call it quits this spring. The reputation he’ll leave behind, though, was one that few doctors will ever be able to top.
Known as “The Singing Doctor,” he sang either “What a Wonderful World” or “Happy Birthday” to each of the 8,000-plus bundles of joy he helped enter the world over the course of his career.
Beloved ‘Singing Doctor’ Who Sang to 8,000 Newborns Receives Sweet Honor for ‘Beautiful Voice’ https://t.co/43Fh2lidaL
— People (@people) July 1, 2019
The idea, he explained, came from a doctor whom he met while he was doing his residency who did the same thing. When that doctor retired, he encouraged Andrew-Jaja to take his place.
“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,’” Dr. Andrew-Jaja recalled.
“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.”
He didn’t give it a second thought, becoming one of Pittsburgh’s most trusted and beloved OB/GYNs and delivery doctors thanks to that extra care he provides.
“Childbirth is very stressful for the patient and their family,” Andrew-Jaja told Good Morning America following his retirement. “Therefore, we as caregivers must strive to provide excellent care in an excellent setting with a smile on our face and a song in our heart.”
Although he officially stopped delivering babies two years ago, Andrew-Jaja continued to see patients as an obstetrician up until June of this year. He would visit the mothers in the recovery wing after the deliveries and kept up his customary songs until he visited his very last patient, mom Lindsay Grimes and her newborn daughter Luella, on June 16th.
It’s been thousands of babies and thousands of touching connections made over the decades, but Andrew-Jaja has insisted that every baby is just as important as the very first one he sang to when he started. In a video he recorded for the hospital, he explained that every baby has the same incredible potential—and they all deserve the same joy that he brings to the songs.
Our favorite singing doctor is retiring at the end of June. Do you have a favorite memory with Dr. Jaja? Share it in the comments!
“Each of them is an individual. You know, I’ve delivered thousands and thousands of babies,” he said in the UPMC video. “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.”
The city of Pittsburgh is so enamored with the impact he’s had that he’s even getting his own day. Thanks to Councilman Corey O’Connor, May 16 is now declared “Dr. Carey Andrew-Jaja Day”—making sure that the legacy of the city’s incredible doctor will carry on even now that he’s stepped away from his practice for good.