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The History of Harbor House


 A Testimony of God's Faithfulness

    by Karla Eberle, Founder and Director

Preface || Chapter 1 ||  2  ||  3 

Chapter 1

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 me over. 

"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.

"I'm calling 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.

Together, my 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 day.

Every Sunday 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.

So-the volleyball 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 system

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.

I continued 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.

"I've never 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.

Preface || Chapter 1 ||  2  ||  3  || Home

© 1998 Karla Eberle/Harbor House Maternity Home, Inc. All rights reserved.

Related Links

Ordinary Miracles: True Stories of an Extraordinary God Who Works in Our Everyday Lives
by Rebecca Montgomery, details the story as given to the author. Available through Amazon.com

Gibbons Hospital

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