SHAWNEE, Kan. — It was the surprise of a lifetime for one Shawnee couple’s family.
They told them they were having a baby, but what they didn’t tell them is they were having two. Then they got some priceless reactions to their priceless gifts.
Ruth and Ben Shrauner knew they wanted to have a baby, but didn’t realize it would be such a challenge.
“Month after month, you feel like more of a failure as you go through it, and we kept hoping and praying,” Ruth said.
The couple tried for two years. They had four failed Intrauterine insemination (IUI) treatments and then through in vitro fertilization (IVF) they found out they were pregnant. The couple shared their entire journey on Facebook with all of their family and friends.
“It was surreal, unbelievable, because you take so many tests, month after month, and this was probably the 24th month of us taking a test waiting for it to be positive,” Ruth said.
However, what the couple didn’t expect was twins.
They say with the IVF treatments they used two eggs, but didn’t know if both or even one would take.
“We kept taking them again and again to make sure that’s what it said,” Ruth said.
The couple decided to keep the second baby a secret. They went to great lengths to hide it from their family.
They say they only asked for items for one child, and would stockpile items for the other around the house. They put a lock on the nursery door so her sisters wouldn’t be able to get inside and see. For their shower and announcements they used the color grey instead of a gender-specific color.
Ruth said through her postings online she would often lament about the size of her belly, and not understanding why it was growing so much. She said twins generally come earlier than a term for a single baby. She played the long game of talking about how she thought the baby would come earlier than expected.
“Near the end I was like, you need to not go out in public anymore, not see any of your friends, because they’re all going to get suspicious,” Ben said.
On June 14, Ruth gave birth to the couple’s twins, a boy and a girl — Jack and Izzy.
“It was that moment where everything that you had hoped and dreamed and asked God for came true in that second,” Ruth said.
But then the couple realized they had to let the whole family in on their not-so-little secret. They decided to record each one of their reactions whether it was in person or over FaceTime.
Ruth’s sister did a double take and couldn’t understand that there were two.
Grandpa’s eyes lit up and worried about his heart.
Friends were ecstatically angry they weren’t clued in on this wonderful gift they didn’t know they were getting.
“We never wanted to feel like we were deceiving family or tricking them by any means, but just saving a really special surprise for them. It ended up being just what we wanted,” Ben said.
“It was just so awesome, and it was so awesome to watch back over and over again,” Ruth said. “I think I’ve watched that video probably 20 times now.”
Ruth said through her journey with infertility she understands she isn’t alone.
She hopes her journey will inspire and give hope to other women and families going through what her and Ben prayed, and struggled over for two years.
“Keep trying and to keep fighting because they will hold their bundle of joy someday,” Ruth said. “All of the challenges and struggles and fears that they faced along the way — totally worth it in the end.”
She said if you think their arms are full — just imagine their family’s hearts.