We had another doctor's appointment today! The good news is that the baby has indeed dropped some, and my cervix is dilated to 2 cm! So we're making progress and that's great!
The bad news, however, is that I was up all night with pretty strong, frequent, painful contractions, so I should be a lot further along than 2 cm after all that. (For the most part, what is happening is that the lower part of my uterus is contracting, not the whole thing. So I have sharp pains down below, but it's not actually pushing the baby downward to make progress the way contractions should.) So the doctor felt like I may or may not continue to make progress, and it's probably going to be a really long and hard several days of painful contractions before I finally do have the baby, IF I do at all. So he strongly recommended that we go straight to the hospital and let them break my water to try to speed up labor and get things moving. However, the problem with that is twofold: Firstly, artificially breaking the water means much more painful and difficult contractions than before the water has broken, and I think it's unlikely I'd be able to go on with the drug-free birth I want if my water is broken prematurely. Secondly, there's no guarantee that breaking the water would actually jump-start labor. If it doesn't, we'd be looking at a c-section. So we declined his advice to go have the water broken, and we decided to just come home and wait for labor to progress on its own.
This is all well and good, but the contractions I'm having are really quite painful, and I'm kind of dreading the thought of 2, 3, or more days of this. So I ask for your prayers that labor progresses quickly and this baby comes OUT! Pray that my uterus will contract fully and do the work it's supposed to do! Pray also that I can get some rest - I barely slept last night, and I really don't need to be exhausted right now. I'm going to try to take a nap right now!