History of Harbor House
Testimony of God's Faithfulness
Karla Eberle, Founder and Director
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I WAS SEVENTEEN
and in the early fall of my junior year in high
school. I was playing volleyball at the time and
working out with the team daily. Two days in a row,
while running the stairs, I got really sick. On
the third day I was so sick that I passed out. The
coach, Mrs. Eichar, phoned my parents and had them
take me to the hospital. Everyone was afraid that
there was something seriously wrong with me.
My mother took
me to the hospital about an hour from our home.
The way there I rested. When we arrived we went
into the emergency room and a young doctor (or intern;
I'm not sure he was a doctor) came in and checked
"Could you be
pregnant?" he asked.
"No," came my
quick, sharp reply. He told us that he needed to
run some other tests anyway. He showed me to a small
restroom and asked for a urine specimen.
When I got back
to the curtained room from the restroom my mother
asked me again if I was pregnant.
"If you are,
or if you even think that you are, you had better
tell me now," she reminded me for the second time.
Again I denied it, trying to put the thought of
pregnancy out of my mind.
The doctor soon
returned. He told us that he had found the problem,
and it was what he had suspected-I was pregnant.
My mother just
broke down and cried. We both cried all the way
out of the hospital and most of the ride home. As
we got close to home, she told me that I needed
to tell my father. I told her that I would not.
the priest when we get home," she said.
When we got
home, I went immediately to my room. Mom must have
told Dad, because the next thing I heard was my
father yelling and screaming. My mother was soon
on the phone with our priest and had made an appointment
for the next morning.
I remember getting
up the next day and not going to school. My father
didn't speak to me the entire day. I don't remember
a great deal about what happened in the priest's
office-what he said or even his name, but there
are a few things that I do remember.
He said that
God does not make mistakes, and that God had a plan,
even if we didn't yet. He also said that just because
I had made a mistake, that I didn't have to live
with the consequences, and that there were options.
He put us in
touch with a couple of maternity homes. One was
in Buffalo, New York; my mother chose that one.
parents drove me to the maternity home and left
me for what seemed would be eternity.
Within a matter
of three days my whole life had changed more radically
than I ever imagined could be possible. I was away
by myself, alone, in Buffalo, New York. Here I was,
a girl who had never been away from home except
for Girl Scout camp, for one week a summer, and
even then, I was terribly homesick by the second
evening I would call and speak to my mother. At
Halloween, I was allowed to return home for one
day. I saw some of my friends, and I did what I
could to try to stop some of the rumors that were
going around about me. the rumors that I was pregnant.
I reassured everyone, including the baby's father,
that I was not pregnant.
I spent Thanksgiving
with a family that allowed me to join them. I had
a real longing to come home and see my three younger
sisters and my brother for Christmas. I begged and
pleaded with my mother, and after a while, my parents
gave in. My father drove up and picked me up in
New York for Christmas. We didn't speak a word the
entire 9-hour trip home.
We pulled in
at home around 11:30 p.m. My mother met us at the
car and told me that I couldn't stay there. I was
looking pregnant and everyone would be able to tell.
coach.the only person besides my mother and father,
the doctor and the priest who knew or would ever
know that I was pregnant.she was called and asked
if I could stay there for the holiday, three days.
She opened her home to me and accepted me into her
family with open arms.
I went to church
with her and her two children. I was accepted at
their family Christmas. My parents came and visited
me in shifts, but I didn't get to see my brother
or sisters. For the first time for Christmas, our
family was apart. Christmas was really different
that year, but Debi and her family helped me feel
right at home.
I returned to
New York where I went back to school and received
good and capable medical care as well.
I learned how
to use the public bus, and taxis, too, since I missed
the bus occasionally while learning the process.
I was scared of riding the bus, but I was even more
scared of riding in a taxi. Fear became my companion
and my motivation in learning Buffalo's public transit
I can remember
that on a couple of nice days in February and March
(if there is such a thing in Buffalo) I did get
the opportunity to walk to school and back again,
thereby avoiding the bus.
I also had the
opportunity to spend some weekend time with our
arts and crafts teacher Salina and her family. But
for the most part I was there alone until the time
that the baby would finally come.
My parents faithfully
phoned on Sundays, but that was the only contact
I had with home. I wrote to two of my friends while
I was there, but never revealed the truth that my
parents had felt was best to keep hidden.
Debi and her
two kids came to visit me in April, on the same
weekend as my due date. We walked and walked, and
I think we drove over every bumpy road in Buffalo.
We rode the elevator and we tried everything that
we could think of to bring the baby into this world.
We went to Niagara Falls just to hang out. The weekend
turned out to be one of the highlights of my stay
in Buffalo, even though I never did go into labor
that weekend. Instead, I learned a lesson that God
shows his love for us through people like Debi.
I had started
developing a relationship with one of the girls
in house with me at the time. She was a Christian.
She shared the Gospel with me and took me to store-front
coffee houses. It was a very clear time of learning.
the pregnancy for two more weeks past my due date.
I remember being miserable and ready to deliver
at any time as my body was ready, too. I also remember
sharing with the nursing staff at the house-I wanted
two particular nurses who worked two different shifts
to go with me in labor.
On a Sunday
morning in late April I went to church, came home,
and lay down on the couch to watch TV. I didn't
feel good, but I didn't feel bad either. I remember
going to the nursing staff at about 10:45 p.m. and
letting them know that I didn't feel very good,
and I thought that maybe they should check me.
When they checked
me I was "crowned" (the baby's head was tightly
up against the cervix) and I was ready to deliver.
They phoned for an ambulance and one of the nurses
went with me.
delivered a baby before," the ambulance attendant
thoughtfully informed us.
We arrived at
the hospital and found out that the elevator was
out of service, so they carried me up two flights
of stairs to the OB department. When we arrived,
the next shift nurse was there to greet us. Karrie
and Flora, the two nurses I had requested, were
there as well. Now I was ready to have my baby.
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1998 Karla Eberle/Harbor House Maternity Home, Inc.
All rights reserved.