U.S. Rep. Duckworth delivers healthy daughter

U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth has delivered a healthy daughter, her staff says.

"My husband Bryan and I are thrilled to announce that we are the proud parents of a baby girl. Abigail O'kalani Bowlsbey was born on November 18," she said in a statement. "Bryan and I were deeply honored that Senator Akaka acted as Hawaiian elder and selected her middle name."

Duckworth spent some time growing up in Hawaii, which is why her daughter has a Hawaiian name. Earlier this year, she and Bowlsbey went to Hawaii to meet with former U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, who picked the name. O'kalani is a shortened version of the name he chose.

"We were super honored," Duckworth told the Daily Herald in September.

"We are grateful for the love and support of our family and friends. We also appreciate the respect for our privacy during this important moment in our lives," the statement from Duckworth said.

The Hoffman Estates Democrat was re-elected to a second term in Congress two weeks ago. She announced she was expecting on Labor Day after keeping the news quiet for about six months.

In doing so, Duckworth, 46, expressed worry about the pregnancy.

"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."

The baby was due in early December.

Duckworth is a veteran of the Iraq War and lost her legs when a rocket-propelled grenade hit her Black Hawk helicopter in 2004. Several amputees from the conflict were pregnant at the same time and talked about it on "Today" in September.

"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," Duckworth told the Daily Herald.

"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's new daughter is a rarity in Congress. She's the 10th sitting federal lawmaker in history to give birth.

A 2008 report from the Congressional Research Service listed six members who have given birth in office, starting with Yvonne Braithwaite Burke of California in 1973. The rest have come since 1995, making births to members of Congress a relatively recent happening. All have been in the House.

Since the 2008 report, three more lawmakers have followed, most recently with Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington delivering her third child last year.

  U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth and her husband, Bryan Bowlsbey, at her last weekend on duty with the Illinois National Guard. She retired from service this fall. Mark Welsh/
  U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth and her husband Bryan Bowlsbey order lunch at a restaurant in Hoffman Estates after her re-election Nov. 4. Mark Welsh/
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