I haven't had that experience. During meditation I'm conscious of my breathing. I also focus on keeping it comfortable within the body, and keeping it natural.
Of course, there isn't absolute control over it... but there is still some control with what goes on. (This doesn't necessarily imply that there is a controller... it is just a process.) So, whenever I notice something that is unbeneficial, like holding the breath, I try to veer away from it, or if it stays, try to figure out a resolution of some kind.
In another thread I mentioned that it's easier for me to slow down the breath when lying down. I just realized that some people could've misinterpreted that to mean the breathing was close to stopping. That would be the case if a physical object was moving at a slow speed, but it wasn't what I meant.
When my breathing slows down to 3 or 4 times per minutes (I measure it with my heartbeat), I just meant that the stream of air was slowed down to the point where the in-breath lasts for 10 seconds, and the out-breath lasts for another 10 seconds, and so on.
The amount of air that is passed through on each in-breath, or out-breath remains more or less the same, when compared to the normal breathing. (So, the lungs aren't over-expanding, or the diaphragm isn't pressed in hard to get it all out.) The effort is more or less the same.
Though overall, less volume of air is being utilized... because of fewer breath every minute. I think this explains why it's easier for me to breath at slower rate when lying compared to sitting, because the latter takes more energy.
It wasn't like I was breathing in and out at a normal speed, and then allowing that to pause for a while, before I breathe again, and so on. It's still a continuous cycle of taking in the air and letting it out.