I was scheduled to be induced at 3:00 p.m.  And I was huge. So huge that people had been making comments for months. I was quite tired of startled strangers commenting on my shape. I wanted to blend.

So I decided to go to Kohl’s. I had three hours before we needed to leave for the hospital, and I reaaaallly wanted some non-maternity clothing to wear home from the hospital. Something stretchy, but cute. Something that didn’t invite comments which included the word ‘pop’. I’m not sure why I thought Kohl’s would be the place to go for this, but off to Kohl’s I waddled.

I circled the racks in search of ‘blending in’ digs. Every once in a while I would spot something stretchy-looking, then tug the material to test it out. If it had enough ‘give’, I threw it in the cart.

My logic went like this: If a clothing item could stretch over my belly now, well in a few hours it would be downright baggy. (I should add that this is not a good strategy.)

Inside the Kohl’s dressing room, I plowed through my pile, and found nothing. Nothing. I couldn’t believe it! Not one single item would stretch over my mammoth belly. But let’s remember that I was nine months pregnant in a non-maternity store, so perhaps Kohl’s should not be held accountable. I sighed, and glanced at my phone. It was 2:15.

2:15!! What was I still doing here? I needed to be at the hospital in 45 minutes! I hastily grabbed my purse and reached for the dressing room door. It didn’t move.

I jiggled the latch.  No budge.

I tugged it harder.  This door was stuck.

I started to feel very hot, very panicky, and very pregnant.  I looked at the little passage beneath the door and eyeballed its height in contrast with my protruding stomach.  Not happening.  I checked my watch.  2:17. Ten minutes to get home.  Twenty to get to the hospital…

I suddenly felt frantic. I began banging on the door.  “HELP!!” I yelled. “Is anybody out there?”  Of course, there were twenty women out there.  This was Kohl’s.  Two women came to my rescue, and talked calmly to me through the dressing room door.  I felt like a kitty stuck up a tree (a very large kitty).  I knew I wasn’t where I should be right now, but I just couldn’t get myself free!

My new friends on the other side of the door suggested that I keep jiggling the latch.   Could I tap it with something hard?  A lipstick tube or something?  One went to get an employee.  The other made little sympathetic noises as I burst into tears.

When the employee got there, I began sobbing hysterically and told her, “I’m pregnant and I was supposed to be induced at 3:00.  But I’m stuuuuuuck!!!”

I think she didn’t know what to say, so she just went to work on getting the door open. I don’t even remember what she did—probably because of my pregnancy brain fog/hysteria. Maybe she tapped under the latch?

All I remember is that door swinging open so that I could launch my large, pregnant self out into the fresh air of Kohl’s! The air conditioning blew my sweaty hair back from my forehead as I waddled my swollen feet forward.  I was free!!!

It mattered not that all twenty women were staring at me—probably making mental notes of the funny story they would tell their husbands and friends about the woman who was about to pop, stuck in a dressing room. It didn’t matter that I didn’t blend. Who cares that I didn’t have any cute ‘coming home clothes’? The only thing that mattered was this: I was free from my cage, and I was having a baby. Today.

My Kohl’s dressing room fiasco happened 12 years ago, today. It’s funny to think that this was the prelude to meeting my little boy, Cade–especially since Cade loves to stand out in a crowd. He wears neon colors, has an eye-catching personality, and spreads laughter wherever he goes. No, he doesn’t blend. And I’m glad Jesus made him just the way he is—and gave Ken and me the privilege of being his parents.

Happy 12th birthday, buddy! In honor of you, I’ve never entered another Kohl’s dressing room, and I never will. J

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