I had just finished lunch and left my three year old daughter at the kitchen table. I heard my youngest, then one month, wake up in her room and proceeded to get her a bottle ready when house started to shake, I thought” oh no what do I do.” Isobelle was screaming and standing on her chair, I ran to her, kicked the chair out from under her and crouched down to get under the table the table jumped in mid air side to side. I froze, Isobelle was still screaming. Holding her I honestly did not know what to do. I was so scared myself. Then the shaking stopped and I realised Katelyn!
I put Isobelle down and opened the hallway door. The floor was covered in broken glass from family photos. I looked at Isobelle’s bare feet, picked her up, held her in a rugby hold and ran down the hallway trying my best to miss the glass. We reached Katelyn’s door and I placed Belle down on a clear part of carpet and told her very sternly to stay still and do not move. I tried to open Katelyn’s door, it wouldn’t open. I pushed and pushed, it opened a small way, the bassinet had moved against the door. I was able to reach in and lift up a very wide eyed shocked but quiet little baby.
My mum was probably one of the last people to get through on a cellphone asking if we were ok and that she was on her way. We were standing outside, both with sturdy footwear on when the first or second aftershock hit, I can’t remember. The aftershocks kind of merged together, the civil defence sirens rang and rang and rang and I knew our lives had just changed forever and I was scared but I couldn’t cry I had to be strong for my babies. Then I heard the movement of gravel in our driveway someone was coming, someone was coming to help us. It was my daughter’s uncle, Tony. Never in my life have I been more happier and relieved to see another adult.
But the worse feeling was to come was my partner ok at work, how long would it take for him to get home, would we see him again. We decided to pack the car and head to my mums. We cellotaped a sign to our front door for Mike and we headed on to the road. We were sitting in gridlock when my dad text from the North Island ‘6.3 lyttelton Mike ok?’ My heart sank my partner fixes machinery at the Lyttelton port. He was right in the epicentre but again I couldn’t cry I had to be strong. I heard via text that he was walking home and was safe but it wasn’t until evening that Mike arrived on his bike with his backpack full of food, torches and things we needed that he came through the gate at my mums. I was so happy to have our family all in one place.
It was three days till my mum and her partner sourced a generator from a friend in Dunedin that we were able to turn on the TV and see the devastation that had happened to our beautiful city. I wasn’t ready mentally or practically to experience a disaster of this scale.
We now have an emergency and getaway kit which I hope to not have to use again but makes me feel a lot more secure with my young ones. We are still living in our home, it is broken and irreparable it may just be a building but it is our home and it is where we want to be together.