Irene went into labour suddenly on July 3 – three months ahead of her due date – and it was touch and go for bag-of-sugar babies Leo and Manuel as they clung to their tiny lives in incubators at Madrid’s Gregorio Marañón hospital.
Pablo returned to Parliament early in September after his month’s paternity leave and month-long annual leave, and his emotional message on Facebook did not leave a dry eye in Spain after it went viral.
Humbled and touched by the overwhelming support from the couple’s immediate social, family and professional circle, Iglesias famously said: “We’re Republicans, but we’ll never forget that a King and Queen telephoned us to find out if we were okay.”
Also, Iglesias admitted that ‘some of the sincerest hugs and most comforting advice’ had come from his and Irene’s ‘biggest political rivals’.
Leo and Manuel were mostly out of danger by the time Pablo returned to work, but were still too weak to go home and needed ongoing monitoring and treatment.
The couple has had nothing but praise for the staff at the hospital, particularly for their warm and compassionate bedside manner as they kept an exhausting vigil in neonatal intensive care.
But now, the tiny twins are finally home with mum and dad, and Pablo and Irene can get on with being a family – a journey which Irene said more than six months ago would ‘turn their emotions upside down, transform her body and fill their lives with beautiful moments and sleepless nights’.
The best news the couple, Podemos and the whole of Parliament could have wished for all year is entirely thanks to Spain’s State healthcare system, Pablo insists.
“We really don’t know how lucky we are with our public healthcare. It’s the best thing Spain has, and we are so lucky that in Spain the State medical system is fully prepared for attending to any eventuality.”