Alberta mom dying of rare dementia gives birth to healthy baby

Her doctors didn’t think she would live long enough to give birth to a healthy infant but Sabrina Lauman’s baby girl was born earlier this month.

Last summer, shortly after the Edmonton woman found out she was pregnant with her second child, she was diagnosed with a rare terminal illness: CJD. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is a rapidly progressing dementia.

By September 2018, Lauman had lost the ability to walk and talk.

Her family was told the 35-year-old had about a month left to live, which meant her fetus would not survive.

Four months later, on Jan. 11, 2019, Stella Sabrina Lauman was born by c-section at the Royal Alexandra Hospital.

“It was beautiful,” said Marie Alba, Lauman’s sister. “The doctor came out and showed us a picture of Stella and (husband) Brent and said Sabrina’s doing well.”

The baby was delivered at 36 weeks. She weighed five pounds eight ounces, and is healthy.


Stella Sabrina Lauman

Brent, Scarlett and Sabrina Lauman.

Scarlett and Sabrina Lauman.

Scarlett and Sabrina Lauman.

Scarlett and Sabrina Lauman.

Brent, Stella and Sabrina Lauman, January 2019.

“Every time we put Stella near (her mother), (we) just say, ‘Stella’s here and you can hold her and she’s doing great and your baby’s beautiful and you did a good job.’”

“We just treat (Lauman) like she can understand everything,” Alba said.

One of Lauman’s best friends believes it’s her strong will that saved her child.

“Even though she can’t communicate with us… to watch her go through this… We know how tough she fought to make sure Stella arrived,” Kira Ogar said.

“(Stella’s) a miracle and Sabrina’s a hero,” added Alba.

Lauman’s first daughter Scarlett, who’s nearly three, already loves to cuddle with her little sister.

“(Scarlett) still doesn’t know the ‘gentle’ aspect of it,” laughed Alba. “‘Just gently, gently touch Stella. Don’t poke her in the eye!’”

Mom and baby are now staying together on the hospital’s palliative care unit. The family takes turns staying to care for Stella.

Lauman’s father composed this thank-you message for all Albertans who reached out or raised funds:

“We are deeply touched by the outpouring of prayers, love and support from so many people. You have impacted our lives during this bittersweet journey. Your prayers and compassion have helped to get us through this time. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

“We would also like to thank the nurses and doctors of the Royal Alexandra Hospital who have shown such amazing care, compassion and love towards Sabrina, Stella and our family. A heartfelt Thank you!

Love, the Soluri family and Lauman family.

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