updated 5/31/2007 9:33:08 AM ET 2007-05-31T13:33:08

The first member of Congress in more than a decade to give birth while in office says her baby has been diagnosed with Down syndrome.

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Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers says the news, concerning her month-old son, has been difficult for her and her husband to get their "arms around."

In a letter to constituents and supporters, she says they were "initially stunned."

However, the second-term Republican says they're now embracing their son and "preparing for what may lie ahead."

Down syndrome occurs when a person has an extra copy of a particular chromosome. Characteristics can include a small stature, low muscle tone and cognitive delays.

The baby was born prematurely in late April and was hospitalized for nearly three weeks.

However, McMorris Rodgers says her son is now home.

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