Right, so I left off with my moment of clarity. I went to Ray's work regularly, because that was basically the only access I had to a phone (his cell phone) without having to use a pay phone. He'd been increasingly uneasy about me using his phone without his supervision, because I was "acting sneaky". On this particular night, I was talking to my mom and my son, who had left for a little bit, until I could get things under control. I talked for 45 minutes, and the whole time while he was on the clock, he sat there..... and listened to the entire conversation. After I got off the phone, he was very angry with me and I asked him what was wrong. "You were on the phone for forty five minutes! I have work to do!" Uhhh.... so why weren't you working? "Because you were being sneaky on the phone. I don't trust you on the phone with your mom." Okay, wow. Now, I can't talk to my friends, my sisters OR my mom. This was rich. So I left a few minutes later (so he could work, God forbid).
After I got home, I reactivated my Facebook and asked Billy to send money for Casey to get diapers, etc. He ended up putting in $75. I had a conversation with him, back and forth. I ached to see him. Even though he said he wanted nothing to do with a relationship with me, I needed OUT! I never mentioned this to Billy, but the $75 was my ticket out.
When Ray got off work, he demanded to see my Facebook, which he'd been doing the entire month I'd been back there. I figured I deserved to have my privacy violated, since I'd left and betrayed his trust. But tonight, since I knew there was stuff he wouldn't like, I told him no. An argument follows and he threatens to throw me out, for the 4th time. He expected me to beg him to forgive me, like the last times. It was his leverage on me. This time, I said "FINE! Go ahead." And threw all my stuff together in 5 minutes.
We argued off and on for 6 hours, the whole time, he's insulting me, calling me crazy and a whore and the only thing special about me is that I'm psychotic. All of the insults made me cry, and as I'm crying, he's asking me why I'M crying because I was the one leaving him. *eyeroll* You may ask why I stayed for that long after I'd gotten all my stuff together. Billy had sent the money through Western Union. It was closed before I would have gotten there that day. I couldn't leave until the next morning at 9AM. I was stuck.
By 4AM, I was drained of all energy and emotion. He almost sucked me back in, when he convinced me to come to bed with him. I didn't let him touch me. I wept until 5AM and finally fell asleep. I woke up at 8:30 at which point, I was met by him sitting on the bed. I grab some of mine and Casey's things and try to go out the door. He stops me and asks me if I'm leaving for good this time. When I confirm that I won't be coming back, he gives me this look I'll never forget. I could swear it was evil. He got 2 inches from my face. His eyebrows were furrowed deeply, his nose was wrinkled in a snarl and he growled at me through clenched teeth, "You will NEVER come back. You are a piece of trash, good for nothing whore. You're a garbage parent. I hope you DIE giving birth to my son. You will regret leaving, I promise you." Then he spit at my feet.
This did nothing but confirm I would, indeed, never return. It scared me. I don't remember feeling that afraid, ever. I wouldn't have been surprised if he'd grabbed me by my throat as well. A few of his exes had confirmed that he was physically abusive to them.
I had no problem getting the money from Western Union, after I waited for them to open at 9AM. I got gas and left town as quickly as I could. It was hard work not to fall asleep on the way. It was only a 3 hour drive, thank goodness. When I got into town, I headed right for Billy's work. I stopped at a convenient store first, to call and have him meet me outside. He sounded put out and I didn't blame him. I was so relieved to see him, I wanted a hug, but knew he didn't want the same. I tried to give him the rest of the money. I cried and asked him if I could crash on the couch until I could figure out a way to get to my mom's house. He reluctantly agreed and gave me the key to the apartment.
We had a long talk about how things were going to be. We wouldn't be a couple, I would only stay as long as I needed. He didn't want me to sleep on the couch, because I was pregnant and the couch was uncomfortable, so I slept in bed with him, but stayed far from each other. It hurt to be so formal with him in person. After a couple days, I couldn't stand it anymore and started trying to get him to warm up to me. I made him breakfast when he'd leave in the mornings, fed him well for dinner, and cleaned up the pig sty he had made(guys living alone equals YUCK!).
During this time, we talked more and more about the things that were happening and why they happened and how we had felt when they happened. These times were emotional. A week after I got back, we were talking and he started crying. I was already crying, but I went to him and consoled him, hugging him and stroking his face. We looked at each other for a long time. I wanted to kiss him, that's all I wanted and all I could have expected. "Kiss me," I whispered. We kissed deeply and the rest of that night was history, if you know what I mean (nudge nudge)
We spent the next couple months, mending what had been wrecked during the years of addiction and illness and especially the 6 months of hell we'd put each other through. No doubt, though, I had put him through more in that time. We were so happy, despite me carrying Ray's baby. We never talked about the baby together, except the possibility that Ray would never truly FATHER him. The months rolled by, we did better than we'd ever done. November was my due month, and I started preparing for the birth.
During that time, I cleaned like a mad woman and cooked everything under the sun I could think of so I wouldn't have to when the baby arrived. One night, about a week before I had the baby, and I was cooking, he came up behind me and held me tight and whispered "I love the new you. You're amazing."
A small divide was driven between us, as we had differing views on where he should be born. He feared for my safety, no doubt, but he was also uneducated. I wanted to stay home, even without the help of a midwife, and he wished I'd go to the hospital. My mom BEGGED him to convince me to go to the hospital. I knew he felt pressure from her too. I stood my ground.
On the 19th of November I woke in labor at 4:30AM.
(taken at 11pm, November 18th at 39 weeks 4 days)
Billy had to leave for work at 6:30AM. I had told him a friend was coming over to help me labor and if all went well, he'd be home when I was ready to deliver. Well, my friend was out of town. I didn't tell him this, because I didn't want to worry him more. And I ended up delivering on my own, at 10:50AM that day. He was stunned when I called him and told him the news. And relieved. He'd told his co-workers and even they had been on pins and needles, hoping everything would be okay.
I named him, Levi Jaxson Wheeler. He took my last name, because Ray was no longer involved, nor did I want him to be. Levi did fine, when he was first born. Pinked up nice, let out a nice wale, nursed. But when the afternoon rolled around, he started getting sleepy and his color started getting dusky. It would improve for a bit, then his condition would deteriorate again. By 6PM, when Billy got home, I was very worried and took him in.
The medical team was great with him and stabilized him quickly. A couple of the staff were condescending about where I had him, no doubt, blaming his condition on me birthing at home, but I didn't care. I wanted him to be okay. They stabilized him, gave him antibiotics(because he was born at home and could have been infected) I was glad that my kids' pediatrician was on call that night, because I knew him. He didn't seem upset that I had him at home, just concerned. After 2 days in the NICU, and next to no sleep for me, they did an ultrasound on his brain and it was confirmed that he'd had a small brain bleed from birth and had nothing to do with being born at home. I was so relieved. I blamed myself for those 2 days. It would have happened, no matter where I'd given birth.
Things went great after being released. And Billy was so proud of me. So proud. While I stayed with Levi in the NICU, he was talking to my mom the whole time and she was criticizing me for staying home and he said exactly this "I don't care what you think, Wanda. I am so damn proud of her! She stayed home, gave birth alone, cleaned everything up, and was up and around hours after delivering. She's actually a housewife now. A better mom. I'm proud of her." When my mom told me that, I started crying. I hadn't heard him say anything speaking so highly of me before. It made me love him even more.
Billy fell in love with Levi.
And I fell deeper in love with Billy. How amazing that they weren't biologically attached, but he loved him anyway.
We learned to appreciate each other and listen to each other's needs and to not only love each other, but to CARE FOR each other. Anyone can love, but it takes a strong and mature couple to know to care for one another. We write each other notes like these:
(This note reads: Baby the house looked great tonight. I can tell you worked hard on it. Thank you sweetheart. :) FYI: You are wonder mom. Levi cried for 5 seconds and you jumped up(I was sleeping on the couch) heh I thought it was the tv, but not you. lol You are wonder mom and a good one. I am so proud of you.) Seeing, hearing each other's love has impacted us and showed us that love can truly do anything.
We are still happily together, and loving each other more. There are still issues from the past we need to work out, but they no longer go ignored. I love Billy and I love our life together. I couldn't ask for a better man. We started out so dysfunctional and such an odd couple. We beat the odds. Nobody thought we belonged together, much less stay together. But we're proof that love knows no bounds and that love is a choice and we chose to keep loving each other, even after all we'd been through. I love you, sweetie, with all my heart.