'Special little symbols of hope'

16:00, Feb 21 2014
Earthquake babies
QUAKE BABIES: Birthday girl Alyssa Blackman, 3, left, was born on February 22, 2011. Her best friend, Lola Romero, 3, was born on September 4, 2010.

It was pure luck that brought them into the world during the region's two big earthquakes. But their mothers believe it was a stroke of fate that brought them together.

Lola Romero and Alyssa Blackman, both 3, are quake babies. Lola's mum Maria Romero was in a birthing pool at Christchurch Hospital during the September 4 quake. Alyssa's mum Jo Blackman was at home in Fendalton when the February quake struck, and went into labour two hours later amid ongoing aftershocks.

Three years later, Lola and Alyssa are best friends.

"Once they get old enough they might understand that they're both pretty special little symbols of hope for the future," Blackman said.

Blackman and Romero's 5-year-old sons became friends at the same preschool their sisters would then meet. When one mother mentioned they had a quake baby in conversation, they realised they had stumbled onto something special.

"It's just really ironic that the boys should meet, and then the mums and now the girls, and now we find out we've got something special in common," Blackman said.

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"They just formed a friendship and got on together."

In turn, Blackman and Romero often meet up socially. Romero was amused the girls "play together heaps, but don't have a clue". She said the earthquakes were "a thing of the past" for her family.

Blackman said she was likely to take Alyssa to the Commemorative Service at the Botanic Gardens today, as part of her third birthday festivities.

"For the rest of her life that date's going to be quite hard to deal with for a lot of people, but for her it's going to be a date of celebration," she said.

The Press