35-year-old 'superwoman' gives birth hours after graduating

PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

NILAI, Malaysia - Dr Saritha Sivarajan's story may have never made it to the once popular Stan Lee's superhumans television series but the accomplishment of the 35-year-old dental specialist is nevertheless awe inspiring.

The Ipoh-born and youngest of five siblings has now earned the "superwoman" moniker among her circle of friends for giving birth to her third child less than four hours after graduating as an orthodontist at Universiti Malaya last Sunday.

Dr Saritha, who was already experiencing contractions at home in the early hours on the day of her convocation, not only decided to attend the ceremony but was back at the university 18 hours later to collect her certificates for Best Overall Performance and Graduating With Distinction.

"The past five years have been really difficult and there were occasions I wanted to give up.

Dr Saritha, who is married to aircraft engineer G. Kandasamy, 35, said her daughter was only due this Tuesday and she was not expecting her sooner.

The former student of Ipoh's Tarcision Convent and SM Anderson had also given birth to her second child K. Puvilissha in 2013 when she was in her first year pursuing her master's in orthodontics.

"I was pursuing the course full time and had to leave my house at 6am on weekdays to avoid the traffic in Kuala Lumpur.

"And I would leave immediately after 5pm to pick the girls up from the babysitter and then get home to prepare dinner for the family and do the cleaning up," she said.

Immediately after receiving her scroll from pro-chancellor Toh Puan Dr Aishah Ong at Dewan Tunku Canselor around 4.50pm, the contractions became more frequent.

"I called my husband who was outside the hall and said we should leave for Seremban immediately," she said, adding her yet-to-be-named youngest daughter was born at a private hospital at 8.18pm.

Shortly after giving birth, Dr Saritha received a text message from one of her professors asking if she could attend another awards ceremony at UM's Dental Faculty the following afternoon.

"I was in pain and plenty of discomfort but decided to attend as a mark of gratitude to all my professors," she said.

On Sept 4 and weeks before her graduation, a heavily pregnant Dr Saritha had to report to the Mentakab health clinic after having completed her final exams as well as the Membership in Orthodontics (MOrth) offered by England's Royal College of Surgeons.

"I rented a room at a homestay and stayed there from Monday to Friday.

"I only drove back on Friday evenings to be with my family and would be back in Mentakab on Monday morning," said Dr Saritha, who scored full marks for MOrth.

On another matter, Dr Saritha urged the authorities to punish bogus dentists.

"Orthodontics is really tough. And to offer treatment to patients when you are not qualified is just not right," she said.

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