As a parenting resource in the Toledo area, the mission of Toledo Moms has always been to enrich the lives of the moms we serve. Our goal is to provide moms with support, community, and resources that help make the lives of the moms in Northwest Ohio better and easier!
Today we are thrilled to announce the FINALISTS for Toledo’s Toughest Frontline Mama.
We know that the recent pandemic has put extra responsibilities on all mom’s plates, but our moms who serve on the frontlines day in and day out have carried an even heavier burden.
We see them step out of their homes and onto the frontline, serving their community without hesitation or fear. To us they are TOUGH. We would like to take a moment to acknowledge their sacrifice, their dedication to serving others before taking care of themselves, and their tenacity.
Below are the Toledo’s Toughest Frontline Mama’s Finalists!
Megan Schlachter | NICU RN, Lactation Consultant, and Parent Educator
|Megan attended Sylvania Schools and Notre Dame Academy, then went on to pursue her BSN from the University of Toledo. She loves her hometown of Toledo, and after receiving several job offers out of town when she graduated, she decided to stay in her hometown and stay connected to her community. Megan’s first job was with ProMedica Children’s Hospital as a NICU nurse. Megan fell in love with her work and quickly realized the importance of compassion and competence while caring for babies and their parents. While working as a NICU nurse, Megan became pregnant. She had just started her masters in the nursing program at the University of Toledo, was working full-time nights in the NICU, and now found herself exhausted as she dealt with morning sickness. With the support of her coworkers and family, Megan made it through the rough times and delivered her beautiful baby boy in July of 2018. As a NICU nurse, Megan knew the importance of breastfeeding. Like many moms, she struggled with soreness, uncertainty, concern, and exhaustion. She sought help from the lactation specialist at Toledo Children’s and quickly realized her son was tongue-tied. This contributed to the difficulty she experienced while breastfeeding. Her son underwent surgery to correct the tongue tie, and she continued to consult with the lactation specialists. Soon her breastfeeding experience changed from painful and discouraging, to the wonderful experience she was told it should be. Megan became so convicted about the benefits for mom and baby with breastfeeding, she decided to earn her certification to be a lactation consultant. She did all this while completing her master’s classes in nursing. In December of 2019, Megan graduated from UT with her MSN, was asked to speak at commencement, and began her journey not only as a NICU nurse, lactation specialist but also as a nurse educator for other nursing students.
Why did you nominate Megan?
|Megan has worked during this COVID crisis in the NICU, as a parent educator and as a nurse educator. Her convictions about her profession are strong, and she wants to share her love of nursing with others. For those babies in the NICU, Megan knows the best thing for them and their mom is to be able to breastfeed. The physical and emotional benefits of breastfeeding are something Megan feels passionate about, and she has worked tirelessly through this pandemic to help others. For a baby, the best defense against this virus is breast milk. It provides health benefits and immunity. Megan has made a difference to the many families she has served.
Abigail Lawson | Critical Care/ICU nurse
|I met Abby in nursing school. She was a recent single mom with three kids. She was also one of the hardest working students. I was so happy to call her my friend and classmate. Today she is working as a travel nurse and currently on the front lines of the COVID pandemic.
Why did you nominate Abigail:
|Aside from being a kick-butt mom and nurse Abby is also a cancer survivor, fighting thyroid cancer in the middle of nursing school. She never once took a break and finished everything on time. She now takes awesome care of those fighting COVID. She is also doing crisis schooling with her 3 kiddos on top of her nursing shifts.
Lauren Mutter-Birner | Nurse
|She is a loving wife, mother of a 3 and a 5-year-old at age 43, started a third career as an RN by getting an MSN in 21 months just before the kids, is amazingly intelligent and driven and passionate about everything she does, and works third shift at Bay Park directly with COVID-19 patients. She also has degrees in Communication and Journalism. Grew up in Toledo, traveled for a while for education and jobs, and ended up returning to Toledo to make some more fulfilling life choices.
Why did you nominate Lauren?
|Where do I begin… First of all, as mentioned before, she is a nurse at Bay Park, COVID Central for Toledo and the surrounding area. She works directly with COVID patients, sees first-hand what this sickness does, and adheres to PPE rules obsessively to ensure the safety of her young children and her husband (me). She does this while dealing with the following: She had invasive brain surgery in her early 20s, and while the surgery was a success, it left her with subtle nerve damage that means on the right side of her body she feels cold temperatures as pain. If you splash ice water on her, she will jerk back in pain as if burned. This surgery resulted in a shunt running from her brain to her abdomen, which builds up scar tissue and adheres to internal organs. The massive doses of the drug cocktail from this surgery resulted in bone death in one shoulder, leading to the implantation of an artificial shoulder, which would normally be due for a replacement soon. She has had foot surgery to alleviate plantar fasciitis and teflon wrapped around the tendons in one ankle. These and multiple other issues mean, on a practical level, that she suffers from chronic pain to one extent or another every moment of her life, sometimes to the point of breaking down into tears. While enduring these circumstances she met me, got married, carried two children to term and birthed them vaginally (one of them over 10 pounds), went to nursing school and got an MSN in less than two years, transferred to Bay Park all of two weeks before it was declared COVID Central, and has responded by digging in and doing her job every day to a relentlessly high standard. No one is tougher on her than she is. She stresses every day, to the point of anxiety and loss of sleep, about bringing COVID home to our family, about finances during the economic upheaval, and the long term effects of the quarantine on our kids and marriage. And yet she puts her back into it and makes herself lunch and snacks and goes to work every day, caring for the sick. Her original goal, when getting her nursing degree, was to be a Labor & Delivery Nurse. She wanted to spend her days bringing life into this world, and here she is spending her days escorting it out. Through it all, she is human, she has good days and bad, needs help and gives help, gives comfort and needs comfort, and always, always pushes herself to be the best Nurse and Mom she can possibly be. There is no one on this Earth I would rather have as a Nurse, as the Mother to my children, or as my Wife.
Kendra Contreras | Nurse Supervisor Bay Park Hospital
|Kendra is a part-time Nurse Supervisor. On her days off she takes care of her family and babysits her grandson. Bay Park was named one of the first COVID hospitals and as soon as that happened Kendra stepped up went to full-time in the ICU. She is smart, fearless, and is a huge advocate for her patients.
Why did you nominate Kendra?
|For the same reasons I stated above. She didn’t have to step up and go full-time she didn’t have to step down from a supervisory job and go to ICU but she did both. She’s a fierce advocate for her patients and coworkers alike.
Caitlin Keener | Social Worker
|Caitlin has devoted her entire life and career to helping others, especially children. She is a social worker who works at a school during the day and a private practice at night all while raising two kids and helping her mom while she fights stage 4 ovarian cancer. During the pandemic she has continued working passing out food for her students and their families, providing resources, delivering work when needed, and continued providing therapy services to all of her clients.
Why did you nominate Caitlin?
|While in grad school last year Caitlin’s mom was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer. Caitlin continued working full time, going to classes, and doing her internship at night but found a way to write her papers and complete work sitting in the dark next to her mother’s ICU bed. She is amazing and always puts others first, she deserves a reminder that she is amazing and some “me” time.
Alyssa Monette | Police Officer
|Let me tell you about this warrior mama, who serves on the front lines daily as a police officer, fearlessly protecting others while risking her own well-being, without batting an eye or uttering a word of complaint. She is proud to serve in law enforcement and considers her job an honor. After those long and difficult days on the road she comes home to her sweet toddler and parents her like the single mama soldier she is, with all the love and energy required of her. Missed sleep, long days, and endless demands don’t stop her from championing other women and mamas with small businesses. Alyssa uses her social media outlets to shout the praises of small businesses, host virtual parties, and sing the praises of brands and products she loves to use in her own home in order to support other women in their side business efforts. Somehow she manages to keep her fabulous sense of humor and keep herself healthy and strong. I’ll never know where her deep strength and discipline come from day after day but I do know I am proud to call her lifelong friend and I can think of no mama more deserving of celebration. Thank you for considering this powerhouse mama for the grand prize!
Why did you nominate Alyssa?
|She absolutely embodies mama bear strength, resilience, and determination. She gives every bit of herself to the protection and health of others and she does it all on her own. She would never consider herself in need of recognition or celebration, which I think kinda makes her precisely who you’re looking for.
Voting Now Open!
Toledo's Toughest Front Line Mama
The Toughest Frontline Mama will win:
– A Spa package from Ahava Spa and Wellness Center
– A full family portrait session with Caitlin Breann Photography
– Gift Card to Local Roots Juice Co.
– A True REST Float Spa Float Spa experience
– A special package from PflegMed: Center for Integrative Medicine -Dr. Jen Pfleghaar
– Floral arrangement from The Flower Mercantile
– Gift Card and product from The Golden Vanity