During end of life there are noticeable changes in breathing patterns and sounds. All of these sounds are expected, but they definitely challenge emotions and memories.
One name of a challenging breath sound is the “death rattle.” I rarely use this term! This is an upper airway congestion that commonly comes hours and even days before death.
Another is an irregular breathing called “apnea.” This one causes anticipation…care givers frequently count the seconds between breaths and wonder if it is their last.
AND THEN THE OPPOSITE BREATH SOUND…this one I heard today. I was listening to a one month old baby, nestled in to her mommy’s breast for her feeding. This little child was breathing in so deeply we all could hear her sound from 10 feet away! It was rhythmic, restful, purposeful and BEAUTIFUL!