Four-and-a-half-year-old Morgan Reall is naturally inquisitive.
"She loves to read. When she first learned to sit up, I swear I'd find her in her room surrounded by books," said Morgan's mother Kathy Reall.
But it took Morgan a while to learn to sit up. She was a preemie.
"I just assumed that after nine months I'd wake my husband and say, ‘OK, it's time.'" Kathy Reall said.
Instead, Kathy developed dangerous high blood pressure and after three weeks of hospitalization, she gave birth to her daughter 17 weeks early.
Morgan weighed only 18 ounces. She also had a very severe lung disease.
"The severity of her lung disease was really quite profound. It wasn't customary to use this nitric oxide drug in very low gestation infants. It helped us, it stabilized things," said Dr. James Padbury of Women and Infants Hospital.
Morgan spent six months at Women and Infants before she was transferred to Boston Children's Hospital and finally to Hasbro Children's Hospital where her parents had to learn how to care for their daughter who was on a ventilator.
After 11 months in hospitals, Morgan came home.
"She was on 11 medications when she came home and the ventilator and a (gastrostomy tube). She was being fed through her stomach," Kathy Reall said.
"The alarm would go off, if she rolled to the side. She couldn't roll over on her belly," David Reall said.
Two years after Morgan was born, Christopher was born. He was weeks early too, but healthier and only spent three months in the hospital.
Morgan, who had the roughest start, remained on a ventilator until last year.
"When we put her to bed at night, we'll hold her just to hear her breathe on her own," David Reall said.
Every milestone was a cause for celebration. Like when Morgan had her feeding tube removed a few months ago.
"I hope with her story, with our story, people learn a lesson here. One that you never give up. Ever," Kathy Reall said.
Kathy Reall has started a Facebook page called Morgan's time that chronicles her daughter's journey. She said she started it to help other parents.
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