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Sunday, 13 August, 2000, 10:53 GMT 11:53 UK
Emergency op for Madonna birth
Guy Ritchie and Madonna
Guy Ritiche was reportedly present during the operation
Pop icon Madonna had emergency surgery to help save her unborn baby after suffering a life-threatening condition, it has emerged.

The singer, whose son Rocco was born three weeks early, was rushed to a US hospital suffering from abdominal pains and losing blood.

Doctors acted swiftly with an emergency caesarian section because she had a detached placenta, cutting off the baby's oxygen supply.

Her lover, film director Guy Ritchie, 32, was reportedly at her side throughout, for what a hospital source described as a traumatic experience.

The star had said she did not want to give birth in the UK
"Madonna lost a lot of blood," he said. "For any mother, just seeing that amount of blood is terrifying."

Rocco Ritchie was born at 1252 GMT on Friday weighing 5lbs 9oz, at Los Angeles' Cedars Sinai hospital.

Only hours earlier, Madonna, 41, had attacked British hospitals as "old and Victorian" on a US radio station.

Qualifying her criticism, she said she did not like the thought of the complications caused by giving birth in a foreign country, adding: "I like efficiency."

She had intended to give birth at LA's Good Samaritan Hospital, where her first child Lourdes was delivered four years ago. Catherine Zeta Jones also gave birth to baby Dylan there last week.

Madonna and Lourdes
Madonna with her first child, daughter Lourdes
Madonna's spokeswoman, Liz Rosenberg, refused to confirm whether the singer was still in hospital but said: "Madonna is overjoyed.

"She is safe, as is little Rocco. Guy and Lourdes are by her side."

Despite apparently choosing to give birth in the US, Madonna is known as an Anglophile, having sung the praises of stout, a love of the English countryside and a desire to send her Lourdes to a UK private school.

She met her British boyfriend, who directed box office smash Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, at a showbiz lunch last year hosted by Sting's wife Trudie Styler.

She is well known for changing her image
Ritchie grew up at the 17th Century Lowton Park near Shrewsbury, a manor house belonging to his then stepfather Sir Michael Leighton, the 11th holder of a 300-year-old baronetcy.

Lourdes' father, Carlos Leon, 29, was Madonna's fitness instructor. The pair split up seven months after the birth of their daughter.

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