– McGregors Road, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

22nd February I was due to go to the hospital and have a scan as I was 4 months pregnant with my second child. My 2 year old and I were at my Mums in Linwood and I was about to put him down for his 1pm nap when the earthquake hit. I remember thinking a million things all at once in the space of a few seconds, looking around thinking “the house looks like its made of paper, a building shouldn’t be moving like this, this is NOT just an aftershock, oh my gosh, the TV is being swung around”. The noise was deafening. I saw my Mother freeze in terror and the TV began to sway across the shelf, looking like it was going to land on my son. I tried to get off the couch but the earthquake kept throwing me back down. I called out to my mother “Grab him, grab him!” she put her arm around him but still frozen with terror they didn’t move, I managed to get up off the couch (bear in mind here im 4 months pregnant) I pick my mother up from under the arm, I pick my son up from under the arm and I drag them on the floor to the doorway where we all stand crying fearfully… as I pulled them away the stereo surround system toppled over where they had been sitting on the floor. Longest 20 seconds of my life.

We heard sirens and car alarms going off, the ground continued to sway, groan and move underneath and around us. People came out of their houses crying that their kids were at school and they weren’t able to get a hold of them. Liquefaction came pouring up the driveway and I ran through some to get to a lady who was standing in her driveway looking shocked and crying. I got to her and hugged her and told her to get in her car and go somewhere safe as the liquefaction was pouring into houses. She said “my house! my house! I need to lock the door!” then she looked at me and said “oh what for?! I don’t need to lock the door” she was just in shock.

We got in the car and started driving to my house in Redwood (which took 2 hours) we could see houses had partial damage to them, their were people walking on the road with no shoes on and their feet were covered with white stuff. People were telling us buildings had collapsed in the city and there were fatalities. We listened to the radio, More FM and they handled the whole thing brilliantly. I will always turn to that station in an emergency!

It took 2 weeks for my son to not need me to stay beside him for 2 hours at night to help him fall asleep, he was terrified of the shaking. Now he is used to them and just tells me there has been a shake. If they happen at night then he sleeps through them.

In the June quake I was 8 months pregnant and sitting in the exact same spot on the couch at my mothers house in Linwood. I saw my son playing in the driveway when the earth moved. I immediately leapt off the couch, ran and jumped over two small children who were screaming huddled in the doorway, landed and lost my balance for a moment. looked up to my son who I saw look fearfully at me. Then he took one step towards me and the ground pushed him up and I saw him fly through the air. I began running and the force of the ground movement pushed me into the garage where I pushed off with my left hand and straightened myself and got to my son. I grabbed him and held him so close as he was crying. Again liquefaction started pouring into the driveway and flooding the backyards.

Everyone I talk to agrees we are all a nervous wreck all of the time. If there’s been no activity for awhile then we start living on edge expecting a big one to hit us. If we get lots of medium activity then we get stressed out and sick of it. Life is never going to be the same again

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