U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth says she is six months pregnant and expecting a daughter.
The Hoffman Estates Democrat, Iraq veteran and double amputee broke the news this morning on NBC's "Today" in a segment describing how four amputees who came home from the Iraq War are now pregnant or have recently had babies.
Shortly after the news broke online, Duckworth posted a photo of a pink baby shirt with blue lettering saying "heli baby" and a plastic cup reading "Helicopter Pilot in Training."
"I am so thrilled I'm going to be a mother here in just four months," she told "Today."
Duckworth said the time she and other veterans have taken to start families speaks to the tough road faced by many soldiers who've come home from recent conflicts.
"We're the best-case scenario, and it's taken us 10 years to put our lives back together, to get into a good place where we could think about having children," she told the Daily Herald last week.
"These women were there for me as the band of sisters when I went through the greatest pain, the greatest trauma in my life," she said. "And now we get to be together for the time of greatest joy."
Duckworth, 46, has been married since 1993 to Bryan Bowlsbey, also an Iraq veteran.
"It's a high-risk pregnancy," Duckworth said. "We've been trying for five years. The docs think that there's real high potential for me to be on bed rest for November and for me to deliver early."
Duckworth is up for re-election in November, running against Republican and fellow veteran Larry Kaifesh of Carpentersville.
She said she'll likely have to stay in the Chicago area as the pregnancy advances.
Duckworth said she remains nervous about the pregnancy because of her age and possible effects of her 2004 Iraq injuries. She lost both legs after a rocket-propelled grenade hit her Blackhawk helicopter.
"I am deathly terrified I'm going to lose the baby," she said.
She is due in December but expects her daughter to come earlier, she said.
Duckworth is 25 weeks along and said 27 weeks is a safer term for premature babies.
The other veterans in the segment included Melissa Stockwell, a Paralympian injured by a roadside bomb. In addition, two other women, Danielle Green-Byrd and Dawn Halfaker, have recently given birth to sons.