The Birth Story of Mr. Lucas Francis

Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Long story short: Lucas was delivered by c-section on Sunday, November 3rd at 6:35am. His labor and delivery were mostly easy and we immediately fell in love with our little guy.

Now for the long story.

With both girls I ended up with c-sections and so I was really hoping to have a natural birth this time around. Both of our girls were also born with a condition called craniosynostosis, which causes the premature fusion of one or more of the skull sutures.  Basically it means the bones in the skull fuse together too soon making it difficult or nearly impossible for the head to mold through the birth canal. The geneticists gave us a 5-50% chance that a third baby would be born with cranio. In all honesty, it's probably more like a 50/50 chance with each child. 

I was convinced that the odds must be in our favor this time around and that there just would be no way that we'd have three cranio kids in a row. The OB even performed an ultrasound at 32 weeks to specifically check the skull sutures and at that point, all looked well. As it turns out, the OB did not check the lamboid suture, which is in the back of the head, and of course, that was the type of cranio Lucas ended up having.


Around my due date the midwives and doctors started talking about scheduling a c-section. Since I was attempting a VBA2C (vaginal birth after 2 c-sections)  they couldn't really induce me for fear of uterine rupture. All we could really do was hope that my body would go into labor on its own.  

The evening of All Saints Day I went to Mass and pleaded with Lucas’s patron saints to “please, please get this party started.” St. Luke, St. Francis, Ven. Fulton Sheen and my grandfather really came through because later that night the contractions started. Those prayers worked fast.

Early the next morning I awoke to discover that my water had partially broken. I was having some contractions, but nothing too serious, so I got up and did some laundry, and started packing for the girls and for myself. Matthew woke up a couple hours later around 4am. I told  him not to worry, but my water had broken and he should try to go back to sleep for a little while. He was like “yeah right, like I can sleep after you tell me your water has broken.” After that we were both up and getting ready. My contractions were increasing in frequency, but still not too painful.

Matthew’s mom came over later that morning to pick up the girls. After the girls left my contractions started to become more uncomfortable so Matthew encouraged me to call the midwife to see what she wanted  me to do. I was really delaying going to the hospital because I knew the pressure would be on, so to speak, once I got there. But since my water had broken, the midwife encouraged me to come in. 

It was Saturday afternoon and much of the city of Boston was shut down due to the Red Sox parade. (They had won the World Series a few days earlier).  I was worried that there would be tons of traffic and it would take forever to get to Cambridge, but we made it to the hospital in no time. It's kinda fun that there was a parade going on at the same time we were getting ready to welcome our baby. Maybe Lucas will be a Red Sox player some day. Ha!

Once we arrived at the hospital, the midwife on call checked me and discovered I was only 1cm dilated.  That was really disheartening. My contractions were not that strong or that close together and I knew these things did not bode well for a natural delivery. I think I probably started preparing myself then for another c-section, but I was still determined to do my best. 

Once we were checked in I walked around a bunch, sat on the birthing ball, took a shower and tried to get my labor to pick up. The contractions were getting stronger, but still only around 6-8 minutes apart, so not close enough together to really be doing anything. 

After a few hours of not a whole lot happening, we ordered some dinner and ate a little something. The midwives suggested I try to rest a little, so we watched some TV. After a little rest we tried walking some more. Then we rested again, then walked some more. It seemed I couldn't do anything to get my labor going. The midwife checked me again around 11pm and I was at 3cm. I was beginning to lose my enthusiasm and had a sinking feeling we were going to end up with another c-section. 

Around 2am, I said enough and asked for an epidural. I reasoned that it was starting to look highly likely that I was going to end up with another c-section and in my mind there was no point in enduring the pain of the contractions if I was only going to end up with another c-section. I wanted to be rested for the surgery. Looking back, I am so glad I made that decision. It gave my body time to rest and my mind time to prepare for another surgery. 

After the epidural, they put me on Pitocin. Being on Pitocin made me a little nervous because you hear all these horror stories about uterine ruptures and what-not, but apparently it’s okay for women with previous c-sections to receive pitcoin to augment labor, just not to induce labor. The hope was that the pitocin would cause me to contract more and help my cervix to dilate.

Around 5am, the midwives checked me for the last time and I was still only 3cm dilated. We made the decision then to schedule the surgery. I’m always amazed that once the decision to go ahead with a c-section is made, everything happens so quickly. They prepped me for surgery and I was wheeled into the OR. Even though I had been through it before, being wheeled into the OR is always a scary thing for me. I don’t like it. But I remember offering it up and again asking for the intercession of my baby's saints.

Just before she started the surgery, the OB warned me that the c-section might take a little longer than usual because there might be some scar tissue that she would have to cut through. As it turns out there was absolutely no scar tissue, and she said everything looked really, really good internally. This was a huge relief and bodes well for future pregnancies and future c-sections. 

The surgery itself went smoothly. A hop, skip and a cut later, Mr. Lucas Francis Richer was delivered.

I heard him cry and then I started crying. I think I asked Matthew if the baby was still a boy.

The pediatricians immediately started looking him over and one doctor said “it looks like he doesn’t have cranio!” Then another said, “oh there is a ridge here.” They spent what felt like forever examining his head. I was like, "I really don’t care right now, can you just bring him to me?"

Matthew was able to cut the cord and they brought him over to me and actually laid him on my chest while I was still being operated on.

 And just like that, there he was, my son. He was so beautiful and looked just like Hannah.

The OB did a really fantastic job with the section. The surgery went so smoothly and was really easy and the recovery has been the best yet. I think being in good physical shape going into the surgery helped a ton and has made all the difference.

Despite ending up with a third c-section, this labor and delivery really couldn’t have gone better. I am so happy with how everything went, especially considering Lucas did end up having cranio and
therefore unlikely that he could have been delivered naturally. The Saints really did come through for us.

We love having Lucas in our family and the girls are absolutely smitten with him. It amazes me that with more children there is only more love. Definitely less sanity, but more love. 
What's in a name?

Lucas Francis
We named Lucas after my grandfather, Francis (Frank), who meant a great deal to Matthew and me. He passed away in July and we felt it was only fitting to give our baby boy his name.  We just couldn't agree on a first name. We floated around a few possibilities, but ultimately decided on Luke or Lucas.  My grandfather was a doctor and St. Luke is the patron saint of physicians, Luke and Francis just seemed to be the right fit for this baby. Matthew preferred Lucas to Luke, and so there it was. We can only hope our little guy lives a life worthy of his name. And who knows, maybe he’ll have a career in medicine. We could certainly use a doctor in this family, that’s for sure.  


  1. Thank you so much for sharing yours story! Your family is beautiful! What a handsome little guy!

    1. Thanks, Cam! Our families are so similar, with two girls then a boy:)

  2. Wonderful story and love the pics too. What a blessing. :)


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