– Hagley Avenue, Christchurch Central, Canterbury, New Zealand

February 22 is a day I will never forget. It was supposed to be the day I became a father, instead it will forever be the day the earth roared. My wife and I were headed to Christchurch Women’s Hospital for an induction as by this stage she was 41.5 weeks pregnant.

As we drove down Hagley Ave towards the hospital the car suddenly started to shake violently. My initial thought was that I had a flat tyre or some kind of mechanical failure. I quickly pulled over the the left (I even indicated) but the shaking continued. I looked up and saw a Hagley Community College student running for his life and the bus ahead of us shaking like a tree in a storm.

We both concluded there had been an earthquake but didn’t understand the magnitude of it all. We continued on to the hospital and found that power was out. We even got a good carpark and walked into the reception area of Women’s Hospital where patients, nurses, doctors and support staff were all milling around. With no power to run the computers, we were unable to check in for our induction.

We waited around 20 minutes, enduring another big shake, before casualties began arriving at the hospital. At that stage we figured there was no need for us to be in the hospital so headed home.

I regularly run around Hagley Park so I know it takes me about 9 minutes to get from home to the hospital but on February 22 it took us around 45 minutes to drive home.

Our baby decided that staying inside Mum for a few more days was a good idea although he was eventually born via emergency caesar on February 25.

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