Cheryl - I agree tearing naturally is actually more beneficial than being cut. But to each their own. I wanted to say something, though, about something you said. We must remember that a birth plan isn't actually a "plan". To plan your birth would entail details such as, "I will only be in labor for 3 hours and 2 minutes" or "My contractions will feel no stronger than menstrual cramps".
In actuality a birth plan is actually a list of your birth preferences and wishes. If a woman doesn't have a birth plan going into the hospital she is going to get the "default". It's like going into a coffeehouse and they hand you a triple-shot espresso when you really want an iced vanilla latte. When you say, "I don't want the espresso" they say, "You didn't offer us any preferences. This is the default coffee and this is what you're going to get." The same is true for the hospital.
So anyway all that is to say it is definitely okay to express your wishes and I think any woman who has a birth plan understands that things happen. BUT the less interventions you have and the more you're free to move around and labor without being messed with the BETTER chances you have of having your birth go exactly or as close to your vision as you desired.
Just an encouragement for those contemplating their birth plan. I'm also starting a Birth Wishes Series in the 'We Want a Natural Birth' group starting TODAY! I'm about to go write the first post of the series. There will be a total of 9 posts with the last being piecing together our birth plans and sharing them.
If anyone wants to join in here's the link: