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INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis family is starting a book drive to give back to local area neonatal intensive care units (NICUs).

They want families who find themselves in similar situations to know they aren’t alone and hope this representation can give them comfort in what can be a difficult time. 

When Shecara and Thomas Reives had their twins Carmine and Rook 14 weeks early, they were both rushed to NICU. 

“It was a very challenging and difficult time. Not necessarily anything like we had thought our parenting experience would go when we first announced that we were pregnant with identical boys,” said Thomas. 

Rook passed away after nine days and Carmine had to have a tracheotomy and spent 165 days in four different NICUs before coming home. 

“It’s crazy for me to see him here because we, you know… after all the medical jargon they threw at you and the statistics and you just hope and pray that they are wrong about so much of it,” said Shecara Squires Reives. 

While they were in the NICU, and even when he went home, Carmine’s parents read to him every day. 

Shecara says she tried to find books involving his condition but there weren’t any out there. She decided to write one herself. 

They created Rook’s Books, named after Carmine’s twin brother. Just this summer published I Made It! A Trach Baby Story.

“I really wanted him and other kids like him to see themselves in the stories, like as a successful character in a story,” Shecara said. 

“I’m hopeful that, even though it’s just a children’s book and it’s meant to be playful, that parents can just understand that they’re not alone in this situation.” 

She then wrote another kid’s book, I Made It! Welcome to the NICU. She wants this one to explain to families what they can expect. 

“You’re not really a parent in the NICU, you’re more of like a bystander while everyone else tells you what to do and when to hold him, and what you can’t do,” Thomas. 

Now the family is holding a book drive to get copies of their books and others to families in central Indiana NICUs. 

“We wanted to just try to bring awareness and also bring joy to people at that time who may be dealing with those circumstances,” said Thomas. 

The book drive will run for the next two weeks. If you want to purchase a book, click here. 

The books ship to their house and at the end of the drive, they’ll count them all and deliver them to local hospitals.