My midwife told me that the clock shouldn't even start until someone does an exam on you, because the hand going in is what introduces bacteria. Also, if it was up to her she would not do an exam if labor was not underway, for just that reason, and would instead just watch for maternal fever which would be the indication of infection.
Docs are very conservative about risk, but I agree that no one can make you take pitocin if you don't agree. Monitor temperature, stay up and active if that's making the contractions come! It's great that her labor is already going! If it was me I would stick it out and push the needles away unless I got a fever.
I don't know if they are going to give her a choice about baby going to the NICU since it's 36 weeks, but if she does get the choice, she should be aware that going to the NICU at all will likely involve a week-long stay, because (in my experience) they put baby on antibiotics automatically before any test results can be run, "just in case" of infection. This means that baby can't leave until the course of antibiotics is done. Also, make sure she knows to ask about donor milk to supplement pumped milk, because for me it was so frustrating being told to "rest" and also "your baby is hungry, you need to pump more."