All the stars were aligned when Prairie Rose Neiss entered the world New Year’s Day.
Prairie Rose was ready. She wasn’t waiting for her mother, Jamie Sam of Onamia, to get to a hospital. Instead, she was delivered at 8:09 a.m. Friday, Jan. 1, in the passenger’s seat of her family’s vehicle parked at Cub Foods in northeast Brainerd — becoming the first baby born in Crow Wing County for the new year.
The baby is doing well at 7 pounds, 13 ounces and is 19 ½ inches long as she is being cared for at Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd.
Prairie Rose was not supposed to be a New Year’s Day baby. Sam had an appointment scheduled to be induced Monday, Jan. 4, at CHI St. Gabriel’s Hospital in Little Falls. However, Sam woke up a couple of times around 3-4 a.m. Friday with cramps. She woke up around 7 a.m. in massive pain and knew she would not make it to Little Falls.
Her husband, George Neiss, helped her to the vehicle and they began the 45-50 minute drive to Brainerd.
“I was timing them and they were about 10 minutes apart,” Sam said of the contractions during a telephone interview. “But as we started leaving the reservation, they started changing and they were getting closer together ... and as we get past Garrison, about halfway to Brainerd, I started noticing they started getting to the point where I could almost barely breathe ... the pain was so bad to where I was not able to take the pain. So, as we get closer to Brainerd, I feel my water break. That's really when I started feeling pressure. I'm like screaming and yelling, telling him I need to push.”
Sam said she was freaking out more than her husband was.
“I was scared and wondering how am I gonna do this,” Sam said. “I’m like we’re not going to make it to the hospital so we pulled into the nearest parking lot.”
Neiss had called 911, but Sam had delivered the baby herself before responders were on scene.
“I had the baby as he was driving into the parking lot,” Sam said. “I pushed her out into a blanket underneath me and I grabbed her. They helped coach me through and told me what to do, so I made sure that her mouth and everything was cleared and she started crying.”
Sam and the baby then were transported to the Brainerd hospital, where they are currently resting. Sam said she is tired and in pain, but is doing well and the baby is healthy.
“I’m still kind of in shock,” Sam said Friday afternoon after telling her story. “I was worried about her being breeched because she was kind of breeched at one point toward the end of my pregnancy, but she came out head down.”
Sam said she never thought she would have a baby born on New Year’s Day, let alone be the first baby born in the county.
Prairie Rose will meet her brothers Ray, 24; Dennis, 12; Anthony, 4; and sister Georgia, 3. Sam also had a son, Charles, who died when he was 3-month-old.
Sam said it was different this time around being pregnant in a pandemic. She said she found out she was pregnant when she was three to four months along, and she was able to go to all her doctor appointments in person.