Special delivery at Centenary

Proud poppa Sivakanthan Kandiah, left, holds Pranavi, the first baby born at the new Birthing and Newborn Centre at Centenary Hospital. Health Promotion Minister Margarett Best, right, helped celebrate the birthdays of both Pranavi and the Newborn Centre in December. (Courtesy Centenary Hospital)
Proud poppa Sivakanthan Kandiah, left, holds Pranavi, the first baby born at the new Birthing and Newborn Centre at Centenary Hospital. Health Promotion Minister Margarett Best, right, helped celebrate the birthdays of both Pranavi and the Newborn Centre in December. (Courtesy Centenary Hospital) (babynew_021009)

Where do babies come from?

In east Scarborough, they’ll be arriving from a new starting point from now on: the Birthing and Newborn Centre at Centenary Hospital.

The centre was unveiled on Dec. 10, replacing the old facility that had not been upgraded since the hospital’s opening in 1967.

“Many years of planning, fundraising and hard work have gone into this project,” said Janet Ecker, chair of the Rouge Valley Health System (RVHS), in a press release. “The impact that this Birthing and Newborn Centre will have on this community is significant.”

Among those attending the opening were health promotion minister Margarett Best, Scarborough-Guildwood MPP, Scarborough-Guildwood MP Tom McKay, and former Scarborough-East MPP Mary Anne Chambers.

But sleeping through most of the celebration was the guest of honour: Pranavi Sivakanthan.

Pranavi was born on Dec. 11, weighing six pounds 11 ounces.

She was not only the first baby to be born at the new centre but also the first of her family to be born in Canada.

First-time parents Rajeeni Sivakanthan and Sivakanthan Kandiah, recently from Sri Lanka and now residing in Scarborough, returned to the centre to be a part of this special occasion.

“We both feel very happy,” said Kandiah, with neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurse Kanthi Kamalachandran translating in a press release. “Our doctor and nurses were excellent, and we had great service.”

Last year Centenary Hospital delivered 2,106 babies. For those using the new centre they can take advantage of one of the 16 private delivery rooms designed to help families feel at home and the state-of the-art equipment, including a level-two NICU.

“We recognize the diversity of the Scarborough community and our staff are direct reflection of that,” said RVHS public affairs director David Brazeau.

“We have staff that speak various languages, including Mandarin and Tamil, so that families can feel comfortable when using our facility.”

The $20.7-million facility was funded by both public and private donations, but the Scarborough community has played a big role in the construction of the new centre.

“The RVHS Foundation, through a lot of hard work and many volunteers, raised an unprecedented $1 million through community donations alone, which went into buying much of the new equipment in the Birthing and Newborn Centre,” says Brazeau.

In honour of Pranavi being the first newborn at the centre, Centennial College has pledged to allow her to attend a program of her choice tuition-free when she is old enough.