Help the Sheps with their miracle

$11,895 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 111 people in 10 months

My husband and I have spent days writing, deleting, re-writing, trying to get our story out to the world without having you reach for tissues...we tend to use humor to ease our frustration, pain and sadness and this story is no different. We are a private couple but feel this is something we want to share because it may help others realize they aren’t alone. May help someone pay it forward.

Everyone has something they struggle with…and this is our struggle.
so here goes my friends.... it’s a long story but it wouldn't be our story if it was short...lol


Steve used to deliver pizza to my home when we were 16...or that was one of the reasons I said I couldn't date him... I was playing hard to get but he was actually much better at it than I was. And it was on a warm October day in 2008, outside my best friend’s house I finally said: “Fine, I'll go out to dinner with him. One date just so he can stop bugging me”!! Who knew our first date would consist of getting lost in long island looking for a haunted house that never existed (on purpose maybe), going to the city only to have the Museum of sex already closed, and a rooftop drink with a view...
10 years later and we’re surprised to be just as loving, just as fun, just as annoying just as supportive as the first day... we knew from early on that we wanted to grow old together and start a family with each other, so in 2010 we decided to do just that... our ultimate goal: to start a family...  And so we started trying... and we had fun trying... that is, until it wasn't fun anymore...

We were married in 2012 and again in 2015 (we just love each other soooo much that city hall just wasn't enough)... after our first wedding we decided to go see a specialist (being that we were trying unsuccessfully on own for a little over 3 years with the help of thermometers and ovulation kits). The specialist ran the usual tests and everything came back normal. No issues, so they said: "it's just a matter of timing, but we can start IUI treatments. Its $2500 a month and insurance doesn’t cover it". We couldn’t afford that, and then I switched to a better job with better benefits (including insurance) ... 
let’s get started with IUI shall we, and along came fertility clinic #1...
Steve and I went full force and started IUI immediately, and with it came the, the daily shots, the blood work, the sonograms, the BQE expressway became my new friend and worst nightmare. BUT, then came the first pregnancy test after the first IUI: “Omg your pregnant”? The doctor asked. “On the first try”? She said surprised. I didn’t understand why she was so surprised until the 8th week where she said those words no one wants to hear: "Sorry Mrs. Foustanellas, but the fetus has no heartbeat and we have to terminate the pregnancy". I saw her lips moving but just couldn't believe the words coming out of her mouth... This was a routine sonogram, so I didn’t bring anyone with me.

I was in the waiting room... alone... waiting for a D&C appointment while all the surrounding rooms were echoing heartbeats of healthy babies growing inside the bellies of the lucky women God decided were worthy of this miracle ....and 6 weeks later when I get the ok to start a new round of IUI, the Dr still had no answer as to why this happened to us, other than: "there was nothing wrong with you, SHE was just that 1 in 4 chance of being a spontaneous abortion that we had to remove". 
At 8 weeks, not only was the testing able to tell you the fetus was healthy, but you would feel the need to tell me IT was a SHE...
I left numb but also left knowing that if there is nothing wrong with me, the odds are maybe the next time will be different. Maybe next time will be the 1 in 4 it will survive, it will eventually happen right?? It has too. That is until it was time for the next cycle... and somehow this advanced clinic got its lines crossed and missed my window for fertilization. and that when I went to specialist #2.

My 2nd doctor was great... almost too great... every month he let me see my husband "soldiers" swimming. They are soo strong and soo fast, that “you will get pregnant in no time” ... but that time never came. Instead, month after month those pesky tests came back negative... 7 rounds later we decided to take a small break as our church wedding was coming up... and just when we said we would take a break, we found out we were expecting... lucky number 2 but 2 weeks later, rushed to the ER with bleeding and lost our 2nd child.

God: 2 - Shep and Fani: 0

We took a break from regular doctors and went the naturopathic route.

Boiled leaves, drank dirt, took herbs, stuck needles all over my body, lost weight, but the results were no different.
We kind of put it all on the back burner and concentrated on our wedding and new jobs...
We sat down and over 1st Anniversary dinner (Feb 2016) we realized: 
1 D&C
2 specialists
3 natural miscarriages...

Now God: ?? US: 0 and came to the realization: maybe we aren't meant to have kids ... maybe we are meant to be cool godparents, a cool aunt/uncle... after all we were past 40 and constantly told our age plays a big part...
And then in October 2016 we were shocked to find out we were pregnant (natural)... and our numbers kept rising, and my ob/gyn was optimistic.. and at about 8 weeks my belly was growing lol. and I said "oh geez, why is my belly growing? Maybe its multiples (to which my husband jumped up and down with excitement) ... a few days later I am rushed to the hospital with excruciating pain... I was having an ectopic pregnancy. 
But not just any ectopic, my tube ruptured... 
But not any type of rupture, I had major internal bleeding... I was rushed to surgery where the doctor said I was lucky to be alive. Apparently, there was sooo much internal bleeding that if I had waited a few hours, maybe a day more, the blood would have seeped into my lungs, and I, for sure would have been dead (my guardian angel pulled a miracle for me that day) ...
So here we were 6 months after the last loss, and we decide to look at our options. Adoption, going to Greece for IVF, but decided we are ok and content if a child isn't in the cards for us... and then my beloved father in law fell ill... surgery after surgery we decided we cannot give up and have to try everything we can if we want a child in all our lives... 
Since the surgery we have visited 2 more specialists... everyone with the same response.. 
And just like that, our only option isn't an option, not one that is within our reach....
That is... not without the help of our loved ones... our friends... our friends’ friends... our co-workers... total strangers that stumble upon this story compelled to help any way they can.
This go-fund me page is to help us put together the necessary funds needed to go forward with our try at IVF...
We hope our story has moved you, every little bit helps us, your support, your prayers, your donations are all welcomed, loved, and appreciated.


Fani and Steve Foustanellas
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the start of 2018 brought a lot bad news to our family.... but it also brought us a lot of good... it brought us this 5 lb. beast named zelda that everyone fell in love with!!!
but we also saw something we never imagined!!!!
an outpouring of love and support from family, friends and even random strangers that found it in their hearts to donate, to share their stories, offer their eggs and uterus ..you blew our minds....may 2019 bring you all peace love and happiness as I know it will to us...because whatever is meant to be, God will put into motion...

and to those that minimized our struggle, our story, our sadness, may 2019 skip your door as well when heartache comes...

happy and healthy 2019 ... may there be enough peace, live and happiness to to go around ...to fill your homes with all your hearts desire...
love Steve, fani. and zelda
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With all the scams in the news lately, all those that say she is healthy, theres nothing wrong her... dont donate it.. they don't need it , there are others that really need it more...
I want to take this Thanksgiving weekend to thank ALL our family, friends, friends of friends, all our co-workers near and far.....even those that we haven't meant that have donated and written words of encouragement.....WE could not have done what we done without you..
All those that were moved by our story... the offerings of love, support, encouragement, prayers, and donations..
even your offers of donating eggs and becoming a surrogate went above and beyond our wildest dreams...
Even though our first time was unsuccessful, your continuous love and support has moved us in was noone can imagine...
Never stop believing there is good out there... people like us can attest to the goodness In the world...
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5 weeks in Greece was alot.. but alot was done...
Dr. pantos and the Genesys center was amazing....
we sat back and made alot of plans..
how many should we put in?
We're definitely baptizing in greece?
I wonder who will come?
oh we need a bigger place?
what color are we going to paint?
how many cribs will we need?
The only thing we didn't plan for was the IVF NOT being successful.
we we're so optimistic that it didn't even cross our minds....
but as my HCG levels continued to drop and my cramps kept coming it was confirmed that I did miscarry them...
Alot of emotions and feelings going through our minds..heartbreak, sadness, anger, fear....but we won't give up!!!
we will regroup and try again....

thank you to everyone who reached out to us...
who supported us, and who genuinely cares for us....
we could not have started on this journey, or be able to continue this journey without you!!!
God bless.....
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Infertility doesn't discriminate...

Rich or poor...
Young or old...
married or single..
Black, white, yellow, or brown..
hetero or same sex couples...

we all have the same common goal: to start a family...

think about that the next time you question someone's decisions and choices about why they chose the path to parenthood that they chose...
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Raised by 111 people in 10 months
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