Have you ever been at St. Luke's Hospital in New Bedford or Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River and heard a lullaby chime? Here's the story behind it.

Hospitals, with their tough procedures and bad news, can be unnerving at times. They can be filled with joy, too. While they're sometimes where people draw their last breaths, they're also where babies draw their first breaths. I think that's one reason why SouthCoast Health's baby chime brings such a warm, fuzzy feeling to so many.

I heard the baby jingle for the first time at St. Luke's last week, but apparently, this tradition has been happening for years. It's something that the staff and patients in all departments and floors cherish.

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It's a simple little chime that sounds when the baby is moved from labor and delivery over to the mother and baby unit (which is usually a couple of hours after the baby is born).

Who Gets to Push the Button?

The chime button is usually pushed by the baby's parents or a member of the hospital staff, and it is heard all throughout the facility.

The chime is usually followed by a collective "Aw."

What Does the Chime Sound Like?

It's five seconds of Johannes Brahms' famous "Wiegenlied" or "Lullaby," published n 1868. It's still known all over the world. Here is what folks at the hospitals hear, heralding a new arrival:

Kim Pina is the executive director for the Families Center Unit at St. Luke's, which includes labor and delivery, the mother and baby unit, and the Level 2 nursery and pediatrics. Initially, the music was played immediately after birth, but because the parents were usually very busy at that time, they rarely got to hear. Now, Pina says she loves how the parents get to hear the soothing sound as they are transported to their rooms.

Pina told us that the baby chime tradition was put in place about five or six years ago by the previous director, Lisa Beaudry, who adopted the idea from a previous employer.

It was honestly one of the nicest, purest gestures I've witnessed in a long time. It brightened my mood for hours, and it cost virtually nothing.  Our world could use more of these simple gestures of happiness.

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