When American military surgeon Dr. Chris Coppola shipped off to Iraq in September, his wife Meredith knitted two baby blankets, one pink and one blue, just in case he might need them. Last week, the blue blanket was put to use, an event chronicled in moving detail on Dr. Coppola’s compelling medical blog, “Made a Difference For That One.”

Dr. Coppola’s blog is essentially a regular letter home to his family, but it offers a glimpse into the deadly human toll going on a world away in Iraq. One of his most recent posts, called Blue Blanket, is a dramatic account of an Iraqi woman who was injured after gunmen apparently fired on a bus filled with women and young girls. She was eight months pregnant — her husband had been killed seven months earlier — and bullets and metal fragments pierced her hip and uterus. Dr. Coppola recounts how he and his colleagues scrambled for information on how to treat the war wounds, consulting with trauma experts in Baghdad and the United States for advice.

He describes in graphic detail the ensuing operation and delivery of a baby boy, who was purple and not breathing until a few puffs of oxygen brought forth a cry. The war-zone hospital wasn’t equipped with an incubator, but the team found a crib and wrapped it in cellophane from the food service department. They added a hose that blew warm air into the makeshift incubator. The boy’s mother was still in intensive care, but the staff was excited by the new arrival.

It seemed like nearly everyone drifted by to sneak a peek-a-loo. The lucky bedside nurses got to feed him his first meal, which he took well. We fussed over his numbers and vital signs. We scowled over complications that might occur and brainstormed for stratagems to ward them off. He seemed to pay our worries no mind. I rushed back to my hooch to bring him a blue receiving blanket that M. had knit and sent with me to Iraq in case a baby might need to be warmed. His freshly cleaned tiny features are a calming precious beauty in our utilitarian combat support hospital. If he can emerge safe from such a horrible event, perhaps there is hope for even better days to come.

This is Dr. Coppola’s second stint in Iraq — he was there for five months in 2005 and just returned last month. During his first stay, he didn’t blog but instead sent regular e-mails home to his family, which his wife has since compiled into a book called “Made a Difference For That One: A Surgeon’s Letters Home From Iraq.” A portion of the book’s proceeds are donated to Fisher House Foundation, a group that provides housing for the family of military members who are hospitalized for treatment. The military newspaper Stars and Stripes recently wrote a feature about the hospital where Dr. Coppola works.