The plan was to deliver my baby in New York city at New York Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan, but everything was upended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

I grew up on the Vineyard but now live in the South Bronx and teach eighth grade ELA at MSx562 in the Bronx. In late February, my student Jorge Rivera insisted the virus was about to spread all over the city. I smiled and said he shouldn’t worry, that there had been no cases reported in New York. Clearly, I was not alone in my easy arrogance and dismissal of Jorge’s worries.

New York city schools shut down March 15. Teaching was to be done remotely and so it seemed a good idea to return home to the Vineyard for the last few months of my pregnancy, where family and many close friends live.

My friend Treather Gassmann picked me up on March 18. As I looked at the sun falling on the tall brick housing projects flanking east 138th street, I worried my neighborhood was ill-equipped. Neighbors on both sides of me, who had looked after me since the moment I moved into the building, had health issues — a man with diabetes, another in a wheelchair.

When I told people I was moving to the South Bronx four years ago they raised their eyes, worried that it was still like the 1970’s, rife with violence. Yet when Barnes Trucking delivered a load of furniture, random people on the street stopped to help when they saw us struggling with chairs and a cumbersome sofa.

The Barnes guys remarked: “You know, we go to Manhattan all the time and no one would ever stop to help. You got yourself a real neighborhood.”

Covid cases surged in New York city as I approached my 35th week of pregnancy on the Vineyard, sheltering with my mother, Dolly, in a house my parents built in the 1970s, abutting the West Chop woods. It seemed surreal to watch the news on TV while growing a little one inside, feeling her kick and move about. Teaching remotely began with its myriad issues and Google classroom chaos.

We lost two teacher aids from Covid at my school. Lenny Portillo, a young man only 35 years old who worked adjacent to me on the third floor, went into a Bronx hospital on a Friday afternoon with breathing issues and died on Tuesday hooked to a ventilator. Hippolita Gonzalez, a teacher’s aid, succumbed to the virus at 64. She sang opera in the cafeteria, wore bright fuchsia lipstick and walked the stairs without breaking a sweat.

I bean to wonder what Covid would do to an unborn baby. Because I was high risk Martha’s Vineyard Hospital could not take me. I had hoped my daughter, like me, would be an Island-born baby, yet that was not to be.

Women and Infants Hospital in Providence took me without hesitation. My blood pressure, which had been perfect throughout my pregnancy, shot up at 36 weeks. My legs began to swell and I knew something was not quite right. They induced me at 37 weeks due to hypertension. Treather was my birthing partner and stayed close by my side for the four days of a grueling process. We were on hospital lockdown and could not leave the room. Masks were mandatory and the ominous news streamed continuously from a corner TV set.

Colette BeeBee Campbell was born on April 25. She was placed on my chest after I cut the umbilical chord. She had big, curious, soulful eyes, and was calm after a small cry. I was the nervous one, wondering whether we would bond and what story I would tell her about how she came to be. She simply looked up at me as if it to say everything will be just fine.

I did not expect to give birth during a pandemic nor in a time of great social reckoning and upheaval. I also did not expect to have a baby on my own in my 40s. Stories change, thankfully, and the narratives we expect to carry forth are malleable and fluid. We can tell different stories, make them deeper and more honest.

The pandemic laid bare the glaring inequities of America, a narrative we have let go on for too long about who we are, our brutal past with its racial injustices and cruelty, and the oblivion we white people live in without having to face the ugliness of our actions and inaction.

My South Bronx neighborhood was hit hard by the virus exposing an unfair health and housing system. I wonder if the two teacher aids in my school, if they had been white and lived in Manhattan, if they would have survived Covid.

The Me Too and Black Lives Matter movements will not tolerate the old stories we have told for too long and I am grateful Colette burst into the world at this moment. She will have her own story to tell. It will be a different one. I hope it is a story of rebirth for this country as well.

Victoria Campbell is a teacher and filmmaker. She lives in the South Bronx and Vineyard Haven.